Hiding in Plain Sight

By: Bill Whaley
19 October, 2020

Caveat: Don’t Read, Listen to, or Watch…the news

I just finished reading the Nov. 2020 issue of Harper’s and now the Atlantic lies open in front of me with more of the same forbidden subheads about the threat to civil life posed by the U.S. government and its corporate masters as well as the Autocrat in Orange. The last two sentences of Andrew Cockburn’s Washington Letter in Harper’s says about the president’s secret powers, “The enemies briefcase still holds its list. Who knows whose names will be on it.”

Cockburn presents a historical list of constitutional violations by presidents from Lincoln to Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama, and Trump. The expansion of secret briefs, passed by Congress re: executive emergency declarations, remains on the books despite expiration dates. The Church Committee in the 70s barely lifted the veil on the intelligence community et al and their secrets.

So today we live with an unhinged president, guided by William Barr, AG, who began as an autocrat’s assistant with the Nixon administration (along with Cheney). The politicized supreme court has empowered the momentous acceleration of what Hilary Clinton “called the vast right-wing conspiracy.” Similarly, Cockburn confirms Trump’s fears of the “deep state,” which may reject him on behalf of the more stable and reliable member of the establishment, Biden, according to a number of retired generals, CIA veterans, and former U.S. Attorneys who have endorsed Trump’s rival.

We can all agree that, except for the “conspiracy” folks and billionaires, life under the tweeter has become interminably depressing as he transforms Americans into lepers, and informers, destroying institutions, making fools out of the media. He reminds me of the way Randy Johnson led Arizona to victory over the New York Yankees in 2001, mowing down batters. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have sickened, died, and been sacrificed to El Viro on the gold posts of ego and irresponsibility.

This is why we call what looks like autocracy, autocracy.

We don’t know what the future will bring but history prepares us. After the polis sentenced Socrates to death, Aristotle fled Athens lest the citizens sin a second time against philosophy. Cincinnatus, after restoring power in ancient Rome, retired to his farm, setting an example for George Washington. Seneca, who retired from Nero’s court, wrote some of his best Stoic prose in the Roman countryside but was found and ordered to open his veins in the bath by his former student. Like Candide and Epicurus, we may find it opportune to retire to our own gardens.

On the left, and on the right, some say whoever wins, they are leaving the country. But today, a dropout need do little more than “unplug” and lose a “password” or change a name to evade pursuers. Among the millions of names on the enemies list, they will never ferret out or find someone like my friend in El Norte, who changed a name to a subversive binary “Smith-Martinez” and who now hides in plain sight, while causing search engines to crash.

Wake me When Its Over…