Who Will Answer? It reminds me of the famous speech by Martin Niemöller about the disregard of German intellectuals during the Nazi rise to power followed by the extermination of their targets, group after group.
First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the socialists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.
Who Will Answer? Who will answer for YOU?
Who Will Answer?
by Ian MacLeod
In my long-ago youth, WWII wasn’t far gone, and being Southern country folk and Tennessee and Kentucky hill-folk, we remembered a lot farther back than that. I can remember staying with relatives somewhere up around Cumberland, in their two room wood, partly log, cabin, an old Franklin stove providing the only heat besides the people there. They brought out quilts (home-made, of course), comforters (the same) and all manner of bed-clothes for us, and we all slept on the floor. This was back when any relatives, no matter how distant, could and did camp out on any others. We’d had many stay with us; now Dad was on leave between duty stations, and we were going from California to see Mom’s and his relatives in Texas,Tennessee,Kentucky, and New York City(those were Dad’s). I met an uncle I had never heard of while walking back from the fancy double-seater outhouse (it had been the first in the county) who had a shotgun and a bloody bag I was informed was full of squirrels for our supper. This was also long before the Beverly Hillbillies. They gave me a Teddy bear that was taller than I was.
Every male member of that family, all branches, had always joined up, in wartime if not as a career. Still, they approved of Dad because he was making his career in the military. They thought a lot of Mom because she had joined also, and had spent time serving in Germany. I remember her complaining about how the blasted (well, she said, “damned”) shower heads there were made for Hitler’s “supermen” were over seven feet off the floor – too high for her to reach at five feet, two inches tall. Later I went to school, and I was always really proud my mother really did wear Army boots. The kids who derided me about it that I kicked the snot out of got kicked because they thought it was an insult, not because it was insulting. They’d insulted my country as well as my mom, you see.
America had never lost a war. Dad told me about the German mamas who brought home-made German dishes to the poor German boys in the POW camp near where they lived that Hitler had lied into being Nazis to remind them of home, and the Army guarding them allowed it – especially when they shared. That was good chow! But we were always good to our prisoners, even though they tortured, beat and starved ours. We were the good guys. The FBI always had and always would get their man – and the occasional woman. Cops were helpful, and they only hurt bad people, and only then when they had to. Even people who were protesting and saying nasty things about America didn’t really get in trouble, because that was what America meant: you could say what you wanted, hold any opinion, and you had that right! No other country on earth was so free.
I watched my favorite cartoon characters fight the bad guys, who often had German or Russian accents, or they had red flags with hammer and sickle, or swastikas on the airplanes. I had my collection of army men, those little green plastic guys (they were lead at first, but that went away), and my babysitter was a TV with a small screen, black and white, of course. Every adult I knew was horrified and absolutely livid when they learned there was a commie satellite up there over our heads going, “Beep! Beep!”. I got all the propaganda. I remember “Duck and cover!” and the little Civil Service turtle. I went through the drills, hiding under my desk in case of a nuclear attack (I guess they thought it’d be easier to find the bodies). I was even a Crest Kid, using experimental fluoride toothpaste. And my dad was lifer military – I grew up on military bases, and was probably better cross-trained than a lot of guys who’d been in for years by the time I hit boot camp. During the hippie years, my dad’s squadron gave me a coffee cup for my birthday when I was a teen (I grew up on coffee too – they said it would stunt my growth, but I suspect that by the time I passed six feet tall with size thirteen feet, it was wishful thinking) that said “Peace” on it in every major language in the world.
The sixties were a revelation for me. I saw people get hurt, even killed, even harmless young girls holding flowers, because they held opinions the government didn’t like and told other people about them, and because they chose to live their lives in ways other than their parent’s generation did, ways that generation considered “sinful”, immoral. I’ll also be the first to admit that with a young, very healthy body just chock-full of ridiculous amounts of testosterone – the world’s most powerful “stupid drug” as far as I know – the “free love” idea was at least as attractive to me as a lot of the other philosophies going around then. Remember, this was when bikinis and miniskirts, hell, micro-miniskirts first came out! Bras were burned, and I walked into a lot of things – walls, trees, pedestrians – for a few years. Anyway, by this time I had read the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and I wanted to go shake these uniformed and uninformed idiots and ask them exactly how they thought they were helping America while spitting on everything the Founders and succeeding generations had believed in and fought and died for, including a number of my own relatives and ancestors. And now including my brother and me. Also, like everyone, I just didn’t understand this Vietnam “police action” idea any more than I did the Korean one, so I could see where people might want at least a reasonable explanation (the domino theory was not a reasonable explanation), and people had a right to choose anyway. They especially had a right to demand that explanation, though – it said so right there in the Constitution of the United States and elsewhere in the law. They never got it, though. There were a lot of explanations we never got.
Still, I joined up. It was a family thing. Even so, I decided to avoid killing as much as possible and maybe save a few lives if I could, so I went Hospital Corps. As it turned out, the only time I got shot at was in East Oakland while working civilian ambulance after I got out, but I was willing to go wherever Uncle Sam sent me. I had no say over which war zone they sent me to, and I figure even in retrospect that East Oakland counted as a war zone; it still does. Actually being in the military was the beginning of my education in government corruption. It continued and accelerated after I got out, when I worked as a drafter for a civilian contractor side by side with civil service. As the years passed, I met some politicians and rich people and learned even more. Then I started reading some real history – as opposed to the victor’s rewrites that the schools taught – and politics, the military-industrial complex and other things. I found out that the government had been corrupt back in Jefferson’s time, which was why he and Madison had included some of the things they did in the Constitution; that much made sense to me, finally.
Nowadays I still read a lot, and I think a lot. I still have the testosterone, but for a time it came out of a bottle because the medications I have to take for the nerve damage, the pain, and other problems destroy it (I just ignore it now). Besides, I more or less got used to it, and it isn’t so much in the driver’s seat anymore, though I don’t think that ever goes away entirely. I’m not so healthy anymore. I am still proud at least of our ideals, and of our Founding Documents and the wonderful ideas they lay down, which are there for as much of eternity as humanity has, even if we are not. I’ve watched the military-industrial-banking complex take over most of the government a little bit at a time, then watched it join forces with a network they needed – the so-called “fundamentalist” and the cult fanatic evangelistic (and these people I knew well from Southern Texas) Christians, and then the rest of the corporate world – the more hidden part of things. Some time before George W. Bush, I began to get afraid. I had always hated politics; now I loathe it, and I keep thinking there must be a better way. It’s even worse than Smedley Butler and old Ike warned us about, and it happened in a way that no one had prepared for: There was an almost thirty year infiltration of the government by ultra right-wingers. The more reasonable-seeming of them slithered into government positions, some of them quite high, and some of them, to my surprise, were Democrats. You just can’t count on anything at all anymore. Then I watched George W. Bush actually steal two presidential elections, and I began writing. I have now seen a man who wasn’t even qualified get “sanitized” by the “Cartel” and elected President, I’ve seen him all but literally trample the Constitution and bring this country to the ragged edge of another Revolution after the Central Banking system (the Fed) and the corporations utterly destroyed the economy and the dollar. My country now hangs over the sharp edge of the precipice of Total Collapse by a thread, and the Cabal is standing there with a pair of scissors while the rest of us can do little but stand here and wait.
Over my lifetime of fifty-seven years, I have been: a Hospital Corpsman (the guy the Marines yell, “Medic! Medic!” for when they get hurt); a martial artist since age nine; a lifelong musician/singer/songwriter (I play almost anything with string or keys, percussion, some brass, and sing with 3 ¼ octave range); a paramedic and a few other things in the medical field, usually EMS; an electronics and mechanical design drafter, often in jobs that required a clearance anywhere from “company confidential” to “top secret”; a general laborer at everything from food service dishwasher, cook and whatever else they needed to road crew in a logging camp, to x-ray and lab assistant, to construction laborer, to bowling alley mechanic and general help, to handyman, to one-time private bodyguard, to landscaper, to pretty much you-name-it. I’ve gotten to see a lot of the country, and I’ve met a lot of different people, which is something I’ve always enjoyed. After all the things I’ve seen, and all I’ve learned and figured out, it absolutely amazes me how many people are stuck in the “America is always the good guy”, “America never lies to We the People”, “our elections are always fair”, etc., etc. ad nauseam mind-set. I grew out of that before I was in my mid-twenties, and I thought I had been a little slow.
Now I’ve watched the illegal disenfranchisement of huge segments of the population, the opening of re-segregation by the Supreme Court, the destruction of the labor unions, the dumbing down of the school system with an eye toward removing all public education, the takeover of most government regulatory agencies by fanatic demagogues and totally amoral industry insiders and crony, party partisans, the rise of the corporations at the expense of the economy and of We the People (too many of whom are now the working and overworked poor), and much more in this pattern, and now – now, to my heartbroken, incredulous disbelief, I have watched us attack and destroy, then occupy and rob a completely harmless country that had something the rich wanted, so they hijacked the government, lied to the people, and used our own faithful military to murder hundreds of thousands of innocent souls and they stole it; and Are stealing it. I watched our valiant military standing around guarding an opium crop, knowing it wasn’t going to any “legitimate” use. Now the liars and thieves want to do it all over again, but maybe this time they’ll get to use nukes, which the higher-ups and Israel are clearly just salivating to do. And at least as bad as all that, I’ve watched our military getting completely screwed by the Pentagon after multiple – too damned many! – tours in combat zones and after they got out, very often, again too often, with crippling injuries. I watched the shameful climb upwards of military suicides until they outnumber deaths by enemy fire! That says more to me about Command abuse of our soldiers than it says about the quality of my younger comrades-in-arms.
It appears that none of the “elites” who set these policies and strategies have ever seen the pictures of melted human beings in the remains of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the suffering and maimed children and the warped succeeding generations, the total devastation, they’ve never read the stories of the survivors, or about those who lived a little while, thinking those who had died were the lucky ones. Either that or those in charge of our country are truly monsters, with no souls, no compassion, no empathy, no – with nothing that would make them worthy even of the name human. As I’ve written elsewhere, the “elites” really don’t understand a lot of the powers they wield; they think a nuclear war, for instance, is something that can be won. For that matter, they have been poisoning huge portions of the biosphere in pursuit of their “Depopulation Agenda”, and they don’t seem to realize that if they destroy enough of it, the remainder may not be able to recover! That means that humanity, themselves included (I’m fairly sure), may well be one of the many species that are now sliding onto the lists of extinct species. They seem to think their wealth will protect them, even though no matter how much gold they have, they can’t eat it, or breathe it, or drink it, and if there is no more nontoxic food, no more potable water or breathable air, they will die along with the rest of us. If they manage to do this over the protests of We the People, and literally tens of millions of us are screaming as loudly as we can – though they will doubtless have the cooperation of the traitorous and cowardly Congress – then We the People, if we allow this government to continue to exist, if we do not withdraw our consent to be governed by them, we deserve everything the rest of the world has to say about us, and we cannot fault anything they do to us in self-defense any more than we could fault anyone for shooting a rabid dog they see stalking their children.
One way or another, we must break through the crony, propaganda-spouting media we used to count on for the information we needed, through the lies calling protesters and dissenters “traitors” when those are our patriots, through a government that is all too willing to use violence on those who disagree with it – and that is one of the most telling things about this government that says they are totally un-American! We must break through the stunned disbelief, the bovine, stuporous followers of television trance, the HAARP and other mind-control, their belief of all they’re told by professional liars, and WE. MUST. ACT!! One way or another, we MUST act!
If we do not, if we cannot throw off the electronic chains, the poisoning of our minds and bodies by a knowing, murderous government and their corporate masters, brethren all, bloody-handed each and every one… If we cannot set aside all false divisions placed upon us for their use and act, decisively, together, we will, in the following months at most, lose all chance forever to be the free, loving, inventive, self-directed people we were meant to be. George Orwell will have become a true oracle, Machiavelli a prophet, and a monster will be God. It will be almighty as far as those of us underfoot are concerned: all-seeing, all-knowing, and all-destroying.
The torches are lit, the evil spells are almost complete, the poisons are poured and waiting, the guns are loaded and aimed, the syringes filled with new diseases are filled and ready, the prisons stand with their doors open behind the barbed wire and guard towers, more invisible poisons are riding the ocean and air currents, raining from the skies and hiding in our food, and the Inquisitors have their instruments heated and waiting for tender flesh to rip and burn. There’s worse than that ready and waiting.
All they need now is us. We The People. Dedicated to… what was it again? Oh yes, another thing they disagree with: all men are not created equal: the Rich are the self-proclaimed Elite, born to rule or dispose of their inferiors – us – as they see fit. One way or another, there will be one Last Call. Who will answer? You?
September 5th, 2007 Updated/Edited October 5th, 2012
Originally posted to Ian MacLeod on Wed Sep 05, 2007 at 06:45 PM PDT, at Daily KOS at: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/09/05/381130/-Who-Will-Answer
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