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Naomi Wolf: American Tears

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    As you read this, please keep in mind that the world our chidren and grandchildren will live in is going to be far different than the one we have
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 4, 2008
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      As you read this, please keep in mind that the world our chidren and
      grandchildren will live in is going to be far different than the one
      we have enjoyed...unless we do something to stop this move to tyranny!
      Put the remote down, get off the couch and fight for your country.
      Your kids and grandkids are going to hate you if you don't.

      American Tears
      Naomi Wolf

      I wish people would stop breaking into tears when they talk to me
      these days.

      I am traveling across the country at the moment -- Colorado to
      California -- speaking to groups of Americans from all walks of life
      about the assault on liberty and the 10 steps now underway in America
      to a violently closed society.

      The good news is that Americans are already awake: I thought there
      would be resistance to or disbelief at this message of gathering
      darkness -- but I am finding crowds of people who don't need me to
      tell them to worry; they are already scared, already alert to the
      danger and entirely prepared to hear what the big picture might look
      like. To my great relief, Americans are smart and brave and they are
      unflinching in their readiness to hear the worst and take action. And
      they love their country.

      But I can't stand the stories I am hearing. I can't stand to open my
      email these days. And wherever I go, it seems, at least once a day,
      someone very strong starts to cry while they are speaking.

      In Boulder, two days ago, a rosy-cheeked thirtysomething mother of two
      small children, in soft yoga velours, started to tear up when she said
      to me: "I want to take action but I am so scared. I look at my kids
      and I am scared. How do you deal with fear? Is it safer for them if I
      act or stay quiet? I don't want to get on a list." In D.C., before
      that, a beefy, handsome civil servant, a government department head --
      probably a Republican -- confides in a lowered voice that he is scared
      to sign the new ID requirement for all government employees, that
      exposes all his most personal information to the State -- but he is
      scared not to sign it: "If I don't, I lose my job, my house. It's like
      the German National ID card," he said quietly.

      This morning in Denver I talked for almost an hour to a
      brave, much-decorated high-level military man who is not only on the
      watch list for his criticism of the administration -- his family is
      now on the list. His elderly mother is on the list. His teenage son is
      on the list. He has flown many dangerous combat missions over the
      course of his military career, but his voice cracks when he talks
      about the possibility that he is exposing his children to harassment.

      Jim Spencer, a former columnist for the Denver Post who has been
      critical of the Bush administration, told me today that I could use
      his name: he is on the watch list. An attorney contacts me to say that
      she told her colleagues at the Justice Department not to torture a
      detainee; she says she then faced a criminal investigation, a
      professional referral, saw her emails deleted -- and now she is on the
      watch list. I was told last night that a leader of Code Pink, the
      anti-war women's action group, was refused entry to Canada. I hear
      from a tech guy who works for the airlines -- again, probably a
      Republican -- that once you are on the list you never get off. Someone
      else says that his friend opened his luggage to find a letter from the
      TSA saying that they did not appreciate his reading material.

      Before I go into the security lines, I find myself editing my
      possessions. In New York's LaGuardia, I reluctantly found myself
      putting a hardcover copy of Tara McKelvey's excellent Monstering, an
      expose of CIA interrogation practices, in a garbage can before I get
      in the security line; it is based on classified information. This
      morning at my hotel, before going to the sirport, I threw away a very
      nice black T-shirt that said "We Will Not be Silenced" -- with an
      Arabic translation -- that someone had given me, along with a copy of
      poems written by detainees at Guantanamo.

      In my America we are not scared to get in line at the airport. In my
      America, we will not be silenced.

      More times than I can count, courageous and confident men who are
      telling me about speaking up, but who are risking what they see as the
      possible loss of job, home or the ability to pay for grown kids'
      schooling, start to choke up. Yesterday a woman in one gathering
      started to cry simply while talking about the degradation of her
      beloved country.

      And always the questions: what do we do?

      It is clear from this inundation of personal stories of abuse and
      retribution against ordinary Americans that a network of criminal
      behavior and intention is catching up more and more mainstream
      citizens in its grasp. It is clear that this is not democracy as usual
      -- or even the corruption of democracy as usual. It is clear that we
      will need more drastic action than emails to Congress.

      The people I am hearing from are conservatives and independents as
      well as progressives. The cardinal rule of a closing or closed society
      is that your alignment with the regime offers no protection; in a true
      police state no one is safe.

      I read the news in a state of something like walking shock: seven
      soldiers wrote op-eds critical of the war -- in The New York Times;
      three are dead, one shot in the head. A female soldier who was about
      to become a whistleblower, possibly about abuses involving taxpayers'
      money: shot in the head. Pat Tillman, who was contemplating coming
      forward in a critique of the war: shot in the head. Donald Vance, a
      contractor himself, who blew the whistle on irregularities involving
      arms sales in Iraq -- taken hostage FROM the U.S. Embassy BY U.S.
      soldiers and kept without recourse to a lawyer in a U.S. held-prison,
      abused and terrified for weeks -- and scared to talk once he got home.
      Another whistleblower in Iraq, as reported in Vanity Fair: held in a
      trailer all night by armed contractors before being ejected from the

      Last week contractors, immune from the rule of law, butchered 17 Iraqi
      civilians in cold blood. Congress mildly objected -- and contractors
      today butcher two more innocent civilian Iraqi ladies -- in cold blood.

      It is clear yet that violent retribution, torture or maybe worse,
      seems to go right up this chain of command? Is it clear yet that these
      people are capable of anything? Is it obvious yet that criminals are
      at the helm of the nation and need to be not only ousted but held
      accountable for their crimes?

      Is it treason yet?

      This is an open invitation to honorable patriots on the Right and in
      the center to join this movement to restore the rule of law and
      confront this horror: this is not conservatism, it is a series of
      crimes against the nation and against the very essence of America.
      Join us, we need you.

      This movement must transcend partisan lines. The power of individual
      conscience is profound when people start to wake up.

      Former Deputy Attorney General James Comey said No: he told colleague
      that they would be ashamed when the world learned about the
      Administration's warrantless wiretapping. A judge today ruled that the
      U.S. can't just ship prisoners out of Guantanamo to be tortured at
      will -- she said No. The Center for Constitutional Rights is about to
      file a civil lawsuit -- against Blackwater: they are saying No.

      In Germany, according to historian Richard Evans, in 1931-1932, if
      enough Germans of conscience had begun to say No -- history would have
      had an entirely diferent outcome.

      If we go any further down this road the tears will be those of
      conservatives as well as progressives. They will be American tears.

      The time for weeping has to stop; the time for confronting must begin.



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