I am glad you are here with me. Here at the end of all things ...
(Frodo to Sam, The Return of the King, JRR Tolkien)
We come at last to the end of 2017, and I am in an apocalyptic mood.
I tried listing the reasons, but there are too many to list. All around us, agency after agency, courtroom after courtroom, police and fire and local administrations, structures and strictures that we have long counted on to be there when we need them are being gutted almost behind our backs.
I say behind our backs, even though there is a headline about one or another of them every day. But there are so damn many of them that we can't keep up anymore. Just today there was an announcement that Jeff Sessions is throwing out the Department of Justice guidance booklets, little publications that apparently outline laws of the land and the proper way to apply and enforce them. I'm not quite sure what that will mean to we the people and we won't know until someone is unfairly accused. As if that isn't happening already with or without guidance, in certain communities. At the same time, the courts are being loaded with conservative judges who it is assumed will be more draconian in enforcing anti-abortion provisions and less stringent in enforcing equal protection provisions.
The literally dirty deeds at the EPA would fill a booklet of its own.
When you hear politicians warn that our democracy is under assault, they may sound as if they are exaggerating. I fear they may be more right than even they are aware.
The press is under attack. Truth is suspect. The most admired and respected institutions of government are being maligned. Not by the disaffected, but by the people who should be protecting them. Political affiliations and preferences are being investigated. There is talk of purges.
I suspect that when you add up the deeds and misdeeds of the administration over the past year, something I don't have the capability to do here and now, there will be a definite pattern of a terrible reorganization of who we are and what we are about. And when I say "we," I mean "they." Because it seems as if there really is a "they" now. We outnumber them, but is that going to matter in the long run? Is it?
Are they finally going to be able to actually come for us? And what will that look like? Will we recognize them? Will they be smiling? Will we?
I want to say, with Aragorn, that that day may yet come. But it is not this day.
And yet, is it really that far off? It's almost Christmas, and this year I really think that we'd just better watch out. As our rear view mirrors like to tell us, everything's always closer than we think.