Will You Walk to the Gulag?

Will You Walk to the Gulag?
By David Glenn Cox

First they came for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Pastor Martin Niemoller

I walked the halls of yet one more empty house yesterday. My voice echoed through the empty rooms, the bright paint and modern fixtures made me think of those who once lived here. I could hear their children’s small voices getting ready to catch the school bus in the morning and I could smell dinner cooking in the sparkling white kitchen and I could still feel the warmth that once resided there.

A sticker placed on the front door by the automatons from the bank told of another story. A story of too big to fail and too weak to stand, of a family sandwiched in between until all of the love was squeezed and wrung out. Left like an empty wrapper and tossed aside in the garbage.

They left with what they could carry and they left behind the painful memories of what was and what is and what is going to become of them. On a bedroom door was a sign, written in a childish scrawl, “No girls allowed in my room, except my Mom!” The child understands possession and space and privacy but he doesn’t understand mortgage instruments or financial necessities.

How do you explain to small children about losing a home? How do you explain why daddy isn’t come along? How do you explain why so many of their toys must be left behind? How do you explain why the new place is so small and isn’t as nice as the old place? What does it mean when a generation of children grow up without a real home?

Children who pass from apartment to apartment or rental house to rental house, how will they put down roots? How will they learn about permanence? What does it mean to a child to grow up a transient? I grew up with military kids whose families traveled from place to place and they envied those of us who were able to stay in just one place. They called us normal kids but what if there aren’t any normal kids anymore?

It was a sad climax to a sad day, worried about my own cares only to be reminded of a promise that I had made to myself. I had promised myself that I would not forget those cast aside by the nation of their birth, those losing their homes and as I walked through these empty rooms I cussed myself. What are my problems compared to an empty house with children’s board games left behind in the cupboard? Yahtzee and prophetically Monopoly, maybe this family doesn’t want to play these games anymore? Perhaps, games of rolling chance and trying to ruin competitors have lost all of their entertainment appeal. Monopoly is the great American game, who wants to be the banker? Who wants to get a leg up and then crush the poor out of existence?

But this isn’t a game is it? This is one more of the millions of American families, this one with two small children pushed out of their home so that bankers can live. Live the good life with six figure bonuses and if they play the game just so, they might even be asked to join the administration. Wouldn’t that be great? To join with Obama’s Chief of Staff, William Daley a former JP Morgan Chase executive. Or Tim Geithner of Goldman Sachs and the Federal Reserve or Eric Schmidt, the Google CEO who beat out former Pfizer CEO Jeffery Kindler to head the Commerce Department.

After a while it reaches the point of a sickening farce, corporation or government who is in control and who runs whom? The invertebrate President might not even know himself but he most definitely won’t say either way. But as the ersatz Tinker Belle flits through fantasyland what of Peter and the population lost boys and girls in America? Yet realities clock ticks in the gator’s stomach and the payday pirates grow restless. They must be reassured that their cardboard cutlasses and fountain pen knives are still sharp and that a purchased wind still fills their grocery sack sails. A man-o-war powered by the winds of propaganda and armored by illusion, sailing on the good ship “Greed” while ignoring the crimson tide alligators that are surrounding them as well.

They wage war against unarmed American families, they tear down the signs from the children’s bedrooms doors. They claim as their own the property left behind, the booty and plunder of lawnmowers and lawn furniture. Only fair, they reason, for these dispossessed didn’t clean up the banks property before being dispatched from it. Clean up their wreckage, tidy up their lost future and wash away the dream of a family home from their eyes.

Walking through these halls I thought what a sham and a travisty of a nation, sickening sycophants eager to pick the pockets of the disadvantaged for just one more paycheck. Hoping against hope that the alligators appetite is satiated before it is their own turn to walk the plank. Unaware that the gators are relentless and insatiable, first they sent their jobs overseas, and I did not speak out because it wasn’t my job.

The invertebrate President and Walker the Wisconsin wonder whore suckle at the teet and grovel at the feet of the billionaires. A scum forms on top of the soup cooling on the sill the air is tainted by the foul smell of broken plumbing. No defense for the workers, their leaders stand for democracy while standing against its people. The ghosts of battleship Potemkin laugh as the sides choose the sides, the Arch Duke was sitting stately when the bullets began to fly. When the angry break the Capital windows there is no telling where the final shards will fall.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

When Pol Pot drove the people out of Phnom Pen it was an act of governmental barbarism. When George W. Bush played air guitar while the flood waters rose in New Orleans it was a case of massive governmental neglect. What then is the proper adjective to describe being forced out of their homes one by one? What is the definition of governmental neglect in America today? A government corrupted by big business, big military and big money without a care or concern for the millions pushed out into the streets. The debasement of the American population for fun and profit, the use of bailiffs instead of bayonets, paperwork instead of panzers and robotic drones just following orders when placing “get out” stickers on the front doors of the American dream.

What then would you call a government that fails to defend its own people but instead helps and enables their oppressors? Americans have fought and died for the right to collectively bargain with employers. Any government that tries to strip Americans of that right are unworthy of existence, they are a throw back to the darkest types of despotism. Their message is that you have no rights and only government and employers have rights. Their goal is no less than to reduce you to peonage and to servitude. A federal government that sits back and pretends not to notice can at best be called Pétainist. A rump state king, the Emperor of Elba, complicit in a crime against the people of Wisconsin and the United States.

Your tanks roll through the streets of the Capitals of foreign lands while millions of Americans mollified by the moronic media message and are unable to put 2 and 2 together. Panzers? Prague? Abrams? Afghanistan? Greeted with flowers and candy? Green Zone? They hate us for our freedom? What freedom? Our government that support the rich and powerful against us? The Patriot act? The TSA? Net neutrality? Fascism comes in more than one size and color oh, and by the way you’re not allowed to film the Exxon refinery behind the FEMA camp and the Coast Guard says, “get off the beach.” The gators are always hungry and you can’t swim by yourself against the rising tide.

What they do to “them” they will someday do to you. Your government operates concentration camps where they put away bad scary “terrorists.” You know that they are bad people because your government tells you so, in fact they are so bad they don’t even deserve a trial. Your government now jails and tortures non-violent American offenders. Your police now dress as soldiers and regularly tazer suspects for resisting assault. Tazered for talking back or arguing about a traffic ticket or not getting out of the car fast enough. A land where freedom’s just another word for do as you are told.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew. I wasn’t a Jew or a Muslim; I wasn’t African American and forced to live in crime ridden ghettos. I wasn’t gay or transgender,
I wasn’t a third generation Hispanic or a first generation peace activist.

“Then they came for me,” and I understand that all well enough. I understand that under their new laws I am a thought criminal. I’m a suspicious suspect and so are you. I understand and firmly believe that this is my country and I’m entitled to a piece of it as a birthright, that we are all entitled to a piece of it. I also understand that Democracy and corporate control are incompatible and one system and only one system will win out in the end. Today, corporations control your government and your courts. They take your jobs and your homes and your futures. They cut funding for your schools and they want to gut Medicaid and Social Security they want to create a brave new world where some matter and some don’t. They push you down and kick sand in your face like a bully at the beach as they sneer, “What are you going to do about it?” Well, what are you going to do about it? Wait for your turn? Wait for the knock at the door?

Will you walk to the Gulag or will you make them drag you?

“Hence I have no mercy or compassion in me for a society that will crush people, and then penalize them for not being able to stand up under the weight.”
Malcolm X

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