America’s next president will inherit more than a bitterly divided nation teetering on the brink of financial catastrophe when he or she assumes office. He will also inherit a shadow government, one that is fully operational and staffed by unelected officials who are, in essence, running the country.
To be precise, however, the future president will actually inherit not one but two shadow governments.
The first shadow government, referred to as COG or continuity of government, is made up of unelected individuals who have been appointed to run the government in the event of a “catastrophe.”
The countdown has begun.
We now have less than one year until the 2016 presidential election, and you can expect to be treated to an earful of carefully crafted, expensive sound bites and political spin about climate change, education, immigration, taxes and war.
Despite the dire state of our nation, however, you can rest assured that none of the problems that continue to undermine our freedoms will be addressed in any credible, helpful way by any of the so-called viable presidential candidates and certainly not if doing so might jeopardize their standing with the unions, corporations or the moneyed elite bankrolling their campaigns.
The zombie narrative, popularized by the hit television series The Walking Dead, in which a small group of Americans attempt to survive in a zombie-ridden, post-apocalyptic world where they’re not only fighting off flesh-eating ghouls but cannibalistic humans, plays to our fears and paranoia.
Yet as journalist Syreeta McFadden points out, while dystopian stories used to reflect our anxieties, now they reflect our reality, mirroring how we as a nation view the world around us, how we as citizens view each other, and most of all how our government views us.
Fear the Walking Dead—AMC’s new spinoff of its popular Walking Dead series—drives this point home by dialing back the clock to when the zombie outbreak first appears and setting viewers down in the midst of societal unrest not unlike our own experiences of the past year (“a bunch of weird incidents, police protests, riots, and … rapid social entropy”). Then, as Forbes reports, “the military showed up and we fast-forwarded into an ad hoc police state with no glimpse at what was happening in the world around our main cast of hapless survivors.”
The government is going to war.
Only this time, it has declared war against so-called American “extremists.”
After decades spent waging costly, deadly and ineffective military campaigns overseas in pursuit of elusive ISIS and al Qaeda operatives and terror cells (including the recent “accidental” bombing of a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan that left 22 patients and medical staff dead), the Obama administration has announced a campaign to focus its terror-fighting forces inwards.
In an age dominated with news of school shootings, school lockdowns, police shootings of unarmed citizens (including children), SWAT team raids gone awry (leaving children devastated and damaged), reports of school resource officers tasering and shackling unruly students, and public schools undergoing lockdowns and active drills, I find myself wrestling with the question: how do you prepare a child for life in the American police state?
Every parent lives with a fear of the dangers that prey on young children: the predators who lurk at bus stops and playgrounds, the traffickers who make a living by selling young bodies, the peddlers who push drugs that ensnare and addict, the gangs that deal in violence and bullets, the drunk drivers, the school bullies, the madmen with guns, the diseases that can end a life before it’s truly begun, the cynicism of a modern age that can tarnish innocence, and the greed of a corporate age that makes its living by trading on young consumers.
John Lennon, born 75 years ago on October 9, 1940, was a musical genius and pop cultural icon.
He was also a vocal peace protester and anti-war activist and a high-profile example of the lengths to which the U.S. government will go to persecute those who dare to challenge its authority.
Long before Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden were being castigated for blowing the whistle on the government’s war crimes and the National Security Agency’s abuse of its surveillance powers, it was Lennon who was being singled out for daring to speak truth to power about the government’s warmongering, his phone calls monitored and data files collected on his activities and associations.
For a little while, at least, Lennon became enemy number one in the eyes of the U.S. government.
“We are nothing but animals looking to destroy each other if not use one another to be king of the jungle. So, come with me into Dante’s Inferno where we will sit on the fiery swings and watch our world grow more dark while Pandora throws hope back into the box and locks it tight.
Let’s slide down the slide into Mother Nature’s dead earth because we will live to see the day that she comes after us in all her fury.
Let’s hang upside-down on the molten monkey bars to let our minds slip further into emptiness.
Let’s play until we die, so we may escape this prison.”
“This is the doorway time,
the passage from youth
Where we use words
we almost understand
and display emotions
we don’t quite yet know”
“There’s a river in France called Touch…
I’d hoped to have seen you there with your hands spread
Memories of you & I skipping town, dodging clotheslines with the pant legs
Your hair kept like rose vines with the strands red
The nights we’d toast wine but demand less
Life was so fine. Our souls scribed in the grand nest.”
“The screen is pitch black.
In the moment before Creation we begin to hear a faint, heterophonic melody. It becomes louder and louder, harmonious still, but a violent undercurrent begins. The melody divides in two. They alternate until they transform into a violent polyphonic cacophony.
At the pitch of the battle, a pulsating diminutive DOT OF LIGHT appears in the center of the screen. It grows and shrinks as if pulled by both melodic lines with each alternation. The ball of light is now stable, engulfing almost the whole screen. The music ceases.
Faintly the music resumes. Both polyphonic melodies are now a single, harmonious whole. The ball of light contracts to its original size as the music swells up, the ball expands and finally engulfs the whole screen.