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Fear and loathing in Miami

by G. Hayduke, Unknown News Friday, Dec. 05, 2003 at 10:39 PM

It is fear, fear mixed with machismo that has raised these welts on my back. Those uniformed, legalized brutes in Miami were responding to months of indoctrination. Months of drills. Months of purposefully-instilled apprehension. "Anarchists are coming to destroy our city and our way of life!!" "Terrorists will be hiding in the peaceful rallies waiting for an opportunity to wreak havoc on the world!!" "They resent our democracy!!"

Dec. 4, 2003

America today is a strange brew of fear and bravado. Most people seem to be cowering in helplessness and fear, pleading for protection, as they await the next attack.

Some of them are patriots who fly their flags and thump their chests in ritualized bravery, as they send young soldiers off to "do their duty." "Take the fight to THEM, before THEY come here, again!" Liberals march in protest and squeal about the crumbling of their rights, as they pathetically embrace another aristocrat posing as reformer.

All the while, the powerful remain belligerent and strong, united under the banner of empire and greed.

They own the government and own the press. They write the laws to suit their crimes. This is the America that I see as I consider the rubber bullet welts on my back, courtesy of the Miami police.

It is fear, fear mixed with machismo that has raised these welts on my back. Those uniformed, legalized brutes in Miami were responding to months of indoctrination. Months of drills. Months of purposefully-instilled apprehension.

"Anarchists are coming to destroy our city and our way of life!!" "Terrorists will be hiding in the peaceful rallies waiting for an opportunity to wreak havoc on the world!!" "They resent our democracy!!" Having been fed a constant diet of fear, police responded like the angry pit bull, kept in a cage, poked and tormented.

Fear is what legitimated their action. Not in any legal sense, but in a purely intestinal, primal sense. They responded, in Pavlovian fashion, to what they perceived as a legitimate threat.

Of course, there was no threat. They had been manipulated. The threat was a fantasy created by the elites, in order to give righteousness to their side — to give moral cover to their thuggery.

This isn't a new use of the police, or a new method by the powerful. Captain Bonfield of 1886 Chicago or Chief Timoney of 2003 Miami, what's the difference? The elite and powerful along with their armed enforcers will beat, maim, imprison and kill any who stand in their way. That's a fact, but how these sons and daughters of working-class people can be manipulated into attacking fellow citizens continues to amaze me.

I have often wondered how Pinochet's soldiers were persuaded to 'disappear' their fellow Chileans. How could they do that? Or the brutality of the wars in El Salvador or Guatemala or Nicaragua or Cambodia, Burma, Rwanda, etc. etc., where poor common people slaughter other poor common people. I just don"t get it. Is it ideology? Fear? Money? Power? In 1896, Jay Gould declared that, "I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half." Smart fella, that Jay, and not much has changed.

Maybe those teflon-coated thugs in Miami were predisposed to embrace a well-crafted fairy tale that called on their chivalry, their manhood, their duty to protect the defenseless citizens of Miami. Seems plausible in this culture of institutionalized violence and ritualized machismo. I don't know.

One thing I do know is, they were afraid, very afraid. Those armored and armed young men and women were in the grip of fear. I could see it in their eyes. I could smell it in the air.

Fear has also (in the minds of many Americans) legitimated the invasion of Iraq. "Don"t forget 9-11!!" "Can you see the mushroom cloud on the horizon!!" "There may be anthrax in your mail!!" "The Evil one lurks!!" It doesn"t matter to the tale-spinners that none of their claims has any basis in reality. We have been manipulated ... again. A fantasy woven of whole cloth. What's new? And for what purpose? For whose purpose?

Fear has given us zero tolerance, three strikes, and truth in sentencing. Fear has filled our prisons, militarized our police and razor-wired our borders. Fear has us buying SUVs, passing concealed-carry laws, living in gated communities, and installing redundant alarm systems. Surveillance cameras, facial recognition software, retinal scanners, DNA cataloging ... Fear is an industry.

Herman Goerring knew the coercive power of fear, and so does Karl Rove. Fear is a well-worn tool, a tool whose use has been perfected through the millennia. Fear is the essential tool of power-cravers and ego maniacs of every stripe. It has been the tool used to maintain (or enhance) the status quo power structure, in every age.

But fearmongering has much deeper implications. It is the foundation upon which our entire culture and civilization is built. It is the essence of patriarchy. It is at the core of our monotheism. Fear is the quintessential ingredient of the debilitating dependence that rules our lives.

What is it but fear that drives us to ask for protection? What is it but that request, that empowers the patriarch? This is a basic and bitter circle of codependency. It's a pathology that leads to ever-greater fear, ever-greater dependence and ever-greater protectors. From chiefs to fiefs, from shamans to popes, kings and pharaohs, presidents and prime ministers, serving you, protecting you, defending you. You asked for it.

Fear cedes power to the authorities. Fear authorizes brutality and legitimizes genocide. Fear devises the illusions we maintain that protect us from the reality of our own brutal, destructive behavior. Fear creates the myths that are our commonly perceived history. Fear places a layer of 'authority' between us and the implementers of our will — a layer of deniability. Fear mines the coal, refines the oil, bioengineers the food, wields the whip, butchers the animals, and wages the wars.

If we were to acknowledge the fear, acknowledge the brutality, acknowledge our own cowardly behavior, we could not go on as we do.

I look forward to the coming age of fearlessness, when we throw off the illusions, and disempower the manipulators. I look forward to the age when we deny dependence, when we again become self-reliant, free beings. I look forward to the time when fearless strong young men and women don't assault their fellow citizens, but turn their guns instead on the manipulators and despoilers of our world.

© 2003, by the author.


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