June 23, 2017 Disclaimer: Please read.
Statements and opinions expressed in articles are those of the authors, not Truthdig. Truthdig takes no responsibility for such statements or opinions.
America the Great ... Police State
Posted on Sep 26, 2016
By Gore Vidal
Editor’s note: Each week, we will reprint an article from the Truthdig archives. The following essay was first published on July 28, 2009.
Square, Story page, 2nd paragraph, mobile
This is rather worse than anyone might have predicted, even though the signs have been clear for some years that ours is now a proto-fascist nation and there appears to be no turning back; nor, indeed, much awareness on the part of our ever-alert media. Forgive me if you find my irony heavy, but I too get tired of carrying it about in “the greatest nation in the country,” as Spiro Agnew liked to say.
I was first made aware of this development in 1946 when I was limping around in army uniform in New York City and noticed that the local police (admired by none) were beginning to run wild, possibly because so many of the able-bodied young had, like myself, been serving for some years overseas. I recall that some sort of parade was being held and what looked to be a thousand or two citizens were trying unsuccessfully to cross Fifth Avenue. I waited on a street corner for an hour in my uniform, limping from my disability earned by my service in the war. But after nearly an hour of waiting, I stopped a policeman who was wandering idly around and asked him politely when I’d be able to cross Fifth Avenue. He shrieked at me, “Go call da mayor!” And I said, “Oh I will, I will.” Actually, I did know the mayor at that time, but he was not available on that sacred day. I did make a protest as a veteran who had mustered out with a disability for life, but this seemed to be a cause of great merriment. In any case, that was my first experience of a Nazi-like police force in New York City, a city pretty much home to me from childhood on.
I was also aware as the years passed how often friends would be beaten up in front of what were called “faggot bars.” Meanwhile, the police never seemed to stop an incessant whining about the enormous dangers to which their work subjected them as they gallantly served our great city, even though they were insufficiently paid and admired. I thought then that the whole damn lot of them should be sent to Camp Lejeune to be put through a strong course of basic training by the Marine Corps.
Square, Site wide, Desktop
Square, Site wide, Mobile
But the true meaning of the mess in Cambridge has been carefully avoided by a media incapable of getting the point to anything if they can excitingly change the subject to something else. So here we now have a cast of characters that includes the president himself, a distinguished scholar and a feckless young policeman who on the radio said, when asked why he had behaved so rudely to the “old” scholar, he said because the old guy had been rude about his mother. I haven’t heard this excuse since the playground of St. Alban’s in 1935.
Banner, End of Story, Desktop
Banner, End of Story, Mobile
Watch a selection of Wibbitz videos based on Truthdig stories:
New and Improved Comments
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
Right Internal Skyscraper, Site wide