48 years ago this American Ex-Pat fled to Canada in search of emotional, spiritual and political solace following the election of Richard Milhous Nixon as America’s 37th President. The shocking potentially-possible re-election of Donald Trump in 2020, eight Presidents later, has once more thrust into this ex-Pat’s conscious recall the many reasons why he chose Canada as the closest, most logical place of safety away from the crypto-fascism that Richard Nixon and his cronies of the world’s then budding radically anti-democratic neo-liberal movement first became manifest.
What this one now understands, at a deeper emotional gut level, is why, in 2020, thousands more Americans are now attempting to emigrate to places like New Zealand, Australia, or anywhere else where they can breathe the air of whatever modicum of true democracy that still exists in a world that grows ever more plutocratic and authoritarian.
Even the nightmarish statistical possibility that Trump could be re-elected in 2020, not by the American people themselves but once again by a handful of Electoral College rubber stampers or Supreme Court Justice’s, as the Republican Party similarly so deviously obviated and negated the previous clearly democratic elections of Al Gore and Hillary Clinton, reveals the advanced degree to which America’s ever-deepening, ever-widening ideological drift has deteriorated over the years, away from a more truthful democracy towards a continuing progressively wrong-headed direction.
As the November date of another elections draws ever-nearer, the abject fear and apprehension elicited by the possible re-election of Donald Trump to another term continues to grow in the minds and hearts of too many of the American people as the on-going deterioration of their one-time democratic way of life, and lack of concern for the basic welfare of their fellow men and women have shown, as noted by the lack of PPE’s worn by of the citizenry for the protection of others and recent tepid political responses to the Corona virus Pandemic have shown. The reality of the United States drifting towards becoming a proto-fascist state now is never more palpable.
Given the abomination of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, this drift in America, and recent murder of George Floyd, as well as so many other innocent peoples of color, that ignited the Black Lives Matter movement, events have been gradually inching ever-closer towards yet another period of disastrous Civil War in its history. This time, instead of the civil war being fought between the ‘Blue Army of The Potomac’ in the North and the ‘Grey Army of The Confederacy’ in the South, it now is a fight between the political ‘Blues’ and ‘Reds’ in every hamlet, city and state who may live side by side one another yet who adhere to radically different visions for what the future of America and the world should look like in the future.
NATIVE AMERICANS ARE A SYMBOL OF DEFIANCE AGAINST TOTALITARIAN OPPRESSION
A line that was drawn in the sand and the gauntlet cast down with the 2016 election of Donald Trump, and those shadow government figures like the Koch Brothers, and others of the same ilk behind the scenes who gather once again to coalesce around Trump’s re-election, will, if successful, indeed pull off perhaps the biggest corporate coup d’etat of all times in American history, far bigger than Wall Street’s gross financial thievery of 2008 ever dreamt of being. If all the levers and mechanisms of government are again tripped in their favor the future rape and pillage of the earth and all its rich resources that this blood-less coup represents, will radically accelerate more so the same neo-liberalism and internal warfare in American society that has been fomenting for years or; perhaps, one could even argue, since the nation’s very inception.
Unless somehow obviated, this drift will only accelerate to the point that brother will eventually end up being pitted against, brothers and sisters against brothers and sisters again, until finally the entire ‘State of the Union’ is violently rent apart. This could end up an epic struggle on a much grander, nation-wide scale between Corporate America, the World’s Cyber-Police State and those citizen patriots prepared, at all costs, to try to never allow this ideological take-over to ever continue.
Yet, four years ago, as a microcosm of this civil war that already was being played out by such a terrible ‘David vs Goliath’ reality, is what happened to the Standing Rock Sioux Nation and all their allies in North Dakota in 2016.
The Sioux, historically, already have planted deep within their psyche’s memories like the first time the latest high-tech-Gatling Machine Gun was used against them at Wounded Knee in 1890. They minds and hearts still ache from the U.S. Government, with President Lincoln in office, who approved the ceremonially ‘lynching’ of 38 of their most revered tribal elders, picked at random, because they had had the temerity to resist the U.S. Government’s desire to give their revered Minnesota homelands to incoming White settlers before ‘death marching’ the surviving Dakotah farther west into new territories. Yet, once again, with the support of the seven tribes of the Sioux Nation, nearly 300 other indigenous nations worldwide, and tens of thousands of their allies from a cross-section of non-indigenous environmental, labor and civil society movements, the Standing Rock Sioux once again pressed their defiant #NODAPL stand against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
They continued to persist in spite of being opposed by Energy Transfer Partners, one of Wall Street’s and Goldman Sach’s most powerful investment firms, who count among their investors none other than America’s new Commander-in-Chief, Donald Trump himself who had a significant financial investment in Energy Transfer Partners. This serious conflict of interests, coupled with Trump’s already avowed support for: oil pipelines, the expansion of coal and other fossil fuel industries, and his denial of climate change that he then referred to as a Chinese Hoax; much in the same way he now has dismissed the Carona Pandemic as the Kung Flu, both of which became gross racial slurs if not criminally mishandled, potentially impeachable offenses.
The recent important landmark decision made in 2020, by US. District Court of the District of Columbia’s Judge Jesse Boasberg, finally declared the #NODAPL Sioux Uprising against the Dakota Access Pipeline was correct, and judged the Army Corp of Engineer’s NEPA approval of the construction of the pipeline was in serious error and so adjudicated its shut down. This no doubt will again become one of the core issues of the 2020 Presidential election over what to ultimately do about the continued construction of Fossil Fuel Industry oil and gas pipelines, and what to do about the over-arching issue of Climate Change, that continues to embody one of the great issues of the day that still must be debated at great length between the candidates and yet still hasn’t been debated to any meaningful degree any more than has Universal Health Care For All.
It shouldn’t come as any surprise that the corporate-environmental-political deniers of climate change have successfully avoided putting the issue front and center before the American voter. It’s also not surprising that, just as during the 2016 presidential election, Democrats and Republicans alike also successfully avoided any real discussion of the specifics of exactly how, when or even a big IF they ever intend to opt for a Universal Medical Insurance System for All or truly convert America, any day soon, from a fossil-fuel based way of life to one totally reliant on renewable energy systems.
Of course this also would naturally entail a full-blown debate on how to create such human and natural systems that will create such things as a Liveable Hourly Wage or Guaranteed Monthly/Annually wage and a corollary self-sustaining way of life predicated upon the protection and preservation in perpetuity of the clean water, air and earth of America’s ecosystems; all of which would be very costly and bad for the profits and business of all the 1%’ers and those who are more interested in endlessly-expanding the American Empire at the expense of everyone else except themselves.
America’s State, Federal and military authorities have long known that all these issues one day will turn into an endless series of volatile, explosive flash points, like the #DAPL Uprising of 2016 and George Floyd riots of 2020, that will only serve as precursors of even more severe social unrest to quell that will require similar draconian measures of police state violence and impositions of Martial Law. For years, reactionary elements in government have been methodically, calculatingly, cunningly, devising operational contingency plans to quickly and effectively thwart whatever uprisings and revolts will arise.
The nation-wide spontaneous reaction to the murder of George Floyd and movement to remove offensive racist statues in America are two cases in point. The fascist, reactionary responses employed in both cases by state governments, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. the U.S. military and responses of its militarized state and local police forces, were essentially no different in the way these forces were aligned in 2016 against the Sioux and their allies when they resolutely stood against the illegal construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline that was being perpetrated, out-of-sight, on the distant, isolated prairie lands and plains of North Dakota, where war-like military checkpoints and heavily-armed blockades sealed off admittance to any and all who were not officially authorized to enter the pipeline construction zone. It was as if what all was happening were actions against a top secret base, essential to national security. Such are the all-encompassing powers now of indifferent Corporate America and Wall Street interests.
HIGH-TECH AMERICAN MILITARY WEAPONRY USED AGAINST CIVILIAN PROTESTORS
American voters in 2020, before they vote for the Presidential candidate of their choice, should recall what President Trump and his Republican North Dakota political cronies authorized at the time in the way of the huge over-kill of the latest high-tech U.S. military weaponry.
Weaponry such as: MRAP’s (Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected Armored military fighting vehicles), designed specifically to defend against improvised explosive (IED) attacks and ambushes, were all used as if North Dakota’s farmlands were somehow another reconstituted Iraq or Afghanistan, this time aligned against otherwise peaceful, unarmed, prayer groups of Sioux men women, children and elders, shaking nothing more at them than sacred rattles or eagle feather wands and smudge sticks as they chanted songs of healing.
Also standing at the ready were the Water Cannons that, if used indiscriminately, can cause severe injury, such as permanent damage to the eyes and retinas that can lead to complete loss of eyesight, or even death, or death by pneumonia, if used in the then freezing winter conditions of North Dakota. Other weaponry amassed by Trump and his allies included Long-Range Acoustic Devices (LRAD’s) and ultra-sonic grenades that can injure, incapacitate, or kill protestors. The ultra-high frequency blasts of these weapons typically used against teenage youth who are especially susceptible and suffer extreme discomfort whenever employed against them. The bio-effects of these acoustic weapons on the internal organs and central nervous system able to cause severe auditory reactions in the inner-ear and cardio-vascular system that can produce hypothermic and tissue-shearing reactions. Tests done on mice have shown significant lung and liver damage, as well, that increases rapidly as intensity is increased.
Other amassed weaponry and ammunition that were commonly used against these peaceful Sioux back in 2016, and even against their defenseless, much-beloved horses, included: plastic bullets and bean bag projectiles that can seriously injure or indiscriminately kill whomever they hit. Chemical Mace (tear gas) and Capsicum pepper spray were also extensively used at the time against DAPL protestors at dangerously-close ranges that caused temporary blindness among the protestors and, when used in large amounts created even more dangerous toxic effects. But, of course, as American history has shown, no military preparations are ever too strong or too excessive to be amassed when it comes to Native Americans or left-wing protestors who always have been deemed to be among America’s most dangerous, much feared wild-eyed citizens.
DNA SAMPLES & RETINA BIOMETRICS USED TO CREATE A DATA BASE OF PROTESTORS
Another strategy deviously devised by Trump and his fascist allies was North Dakota’s state police, and the huge entourage of assembled law enforcement pressed into service from at least four surrounding states, along with a mass of activated National Guard troops and U.S. Army personnel dressed in battle fatigues and full riot gear, who intimidated the protestors by forcing them to give DNA samples. When they refused they were then charged with a felony crime. Such a felony crime punitively required those so charged to remain in the area, at their own expense and inconvenience, for several months while awaiting a court appearance or suffer an arrest warrant being issued and extradition proceedings undertaken against them. No authorities ever admitted to taking such DNA samples from the protestors or why, in the first place, they are creating elaborate DNA profiles and a data base for innocent, Native Americans and their non-native allies that included Retina & Iris Biometric identification technology.
Trump and his amassed political, law enforcement and military forces never acknowledged at the time that, according to the letter of the law, if an individual isn’t charged with a serious offence they’re not required to ever give such samples. But State and Federal authorities cynically made every act around the DAPL construction zone a felony offense which allowed the authorities to use any force they deemed “reasonable” to obtain these samples. This DNA/Retinal Biometric identification data base now will be kept forever and made available to police, governmental security officials and intelligence agencies around the country.
By way of further harassment to dissuade protesters from supporting the Sioux people, those who are arrested, whether men or women, young or old, were forced to undergo humiliating strip searches and then ordered to squat and cough, ostensibly to check for hidden objects in their bodies cavities. Such indignities were perpetrated against even gentle, beloved grandmothers, grandfathers, mothers and fathers alike before they were then shipped off to far-flung locations around the state, kept in solitary confinement or held in animal facilities unfit for humans; while their confiscated personal belonging, bedding, eagle feathers, rattles were commonly dumped along the roadside in isolated locations, left to the vagaries of the harsh North Dakota prairie winter weather.
A MOCKERY OF THE AMERICAN ETHOS & BILL OF RIGHTS
All this occurred in America – the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave – while few facts about such flagrant Civil-Human-First Amendment right violations were ever as widely reported as they should have been by the mainstream media. Of course, as American history has shown pesky, dissident Indians are best when kept out of mind and out of sight!
This thumbnail sketch of American Justice in such critical moments of societal tension is exactly when the true American ethos and mockery of its Bill of Rights is most self-evident. One of the chief safeguards and bulwarks of any democracy is the extent to which its free press is called upon to bear witness and expose such gross abuses and injustices from ever continuing to happen. That is the essence that separates free, democratic societies from the barbarity of totalitarian and other closed systems of governments and their less than humane ways of life.
Yet, whether it’s a case of the treatment of the Sioux and their allies, or those Americans of all races, colors and creeds who protested the murder of George Floyd and other innocent citizenry under the watch of President Trump, this was and never has been the case until too late in the day and even then primarily left up to whatever lone, courageous freelance journalist or independent/alternative news source made the supreme effort to put their boots on the ground to document and report all the atrocities. Yet even they are ever prevented from getting too close to observe what was actually occurring at the time or, if they did, were quickly arrested, their camera equipment seized and they were charged with some trumped up (pun intended) felonious trespass or inciting-a-riot charge simply for trying to document the news as journalists are trained to do.
A PRELUDE TO AMERICA’S NEXT CIVIL WAR
If Trump is re-elected President of the United States in 2020, the debacles that civil protests like those of the Sioux and Black Lives Matter represent will only continue to be the microcosm of the macrocosm of America’s eventual full-blown civil war that one day will occur over so many similar issues as America continues to decline as a nation. Eventually, the already much avowed penchant by the new Trump administration and its proposed Cabinet to use authoritarian Law & Order means to address, whatever severe civil unrest or world crisis occurs, will, in turn, only lead to still more widespread insurrections.
In the end, as more and more members among the progressive ‘Blue’ citizenry continue in search of harbors of peace, safety and real democracy elsewhere in the world, those prepared to stay and fight for the tenets of real democracy within the continental limits of the United States may finally become so fed-up with all the regressive antics of the ‘Red’ citizenry, and vice-versa, that both sides will feel they have no other choice but to both attempt to succeed from the union! Then hold onto your hats! That’s when the real fireworks will start!
Jerome Irwin is a freelance writer and author of “The Wild Gentle Ones; A Turtle Island Odyssey” (www.turtle-island-odyssey.com), a three volume account of his travels as a spiritual sojourner, during the 1960’s, 70’s & 80’s, among Native American & First Nation peoples in North America. It encompasses the Indigenous Spiritual Renaissance & Liberation Movements that emerged throughout North America during the civil rights era. In addition to being a long-time political activist and organizer, Irwin has authored over the years a number of environmental, political, cultural, spiritual articles with special emphasis on Native Americans, First Nations, Australian aboriginals, native peoples of Israel, Gaza, Palestine and Syria and especially Black Americans where Irwin retired as a special education teacher at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Secondary where he worked with Black & Brown students from San Francisco’s Bayview and Hunter’s Point/Candlestick Park Districts. Irwin also is the publisher of The Wild Gentle Press. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org