Give Them Power & They’ll Take Liberties

American Landscape by Arthur Chartow


Police raid home searching for owner of Twitter account mocking mayor

“Covered by the Peoria Journal Star in Illinois this week, seven members of the Peoria Police Department executed a search warrant yesterday in order to discover the identity of someone operating a fake Twitter account that parodied Peoria mayor Jim Ardis (pictured above). The police seized multiple mobile phones in addition to computers stored at the residence. Three people at the home were brought into the police department for questioning and two members of the household that were working at the time were picked up by police from their place of employment and taken to the station.”

Why didn’t they simply ask twitter to suspend the account instead of raiding a house, confiscating property, interrogating people for hours, and arresting someone for having some plants in their pocket? After all, that would have been a peaceful solution to the problem. Well, when you’ve got the apparatus of a police state at your disposal (like a mayor who’s been mocked and doesn’t much like it) it’s all too easy to choose to see everything as a nail and just hammer people with it. Problem solved. Some terror instilled. Perhaps even some lives ruined. Not a bad day’s work.

People in power will exercise the powers at their disposal. Especially those who have been made to feel powerless by having their authority questioned or mocked, like Mayor Jim Ardis.

It seems to me as an outside observer that this kind of stomping of government boots on helpless people’s faces is happening all too often in America now. Given that as a young boy I used to dream of living in America, it saddens me to see how American society has begun to degrade as its government has exponentially grown.

What’s truly frightening about this story is that you only have to change a few minor details in order for it to sound like a historical account of life in Nazi Germany. The person behind the twitter account could easily be someone who printed a leaflet or newsletter that parodied Hitler, Himmler or some high-ranking official. The Peoria police are akin to the Gestapo (not in ideology but in actions) who forcefully (but legally) enter that person’s house, kidnap them at gun point from there or from their place of work, and steal their property. The victim is then interrogated and threatened with punishment of some kind, either death or imprisonment. If there’s no evidence to convict them of the ‘crime’ of “false personation of a public official”, then the state finds a way to convict them of some other ‘crime’ – which in Nazi Germany might have been possession of prohibited books or in this modern-day case the possession of illegal substances.

In Nazi Germany the people became cornered by and powerless against the sheer size and brutality of the very system of government that was legitimately formed by their votes years before. The people lost their freedom to disagree whilst those in power gained the ‘right’ to murder millions of people. Americans are experiencing the same process. More and more non-violent acts are being declared crimes by the American government, and consequently American citizens are less free to act than they’ve ever been. To eventually bind all men is not progress.

American society is in regression right now, and its skies aren’t nearly as welcoming as those in the painting above. But everything in darkness must come out into the light eventually. A second age of liberty will arrive in America, laid on the foundations of those who stand up and speak up for it now.

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