Are We Living in a Police State?
Continued from previous page
This weekend, however, was perhaps the shining example of what the propaganda of a police state really looks like. Next to a hysterical screed railing on a state proposal to guarantee firefighters’ workplace rights, the Post published an editorial opposing legislation to prevent municipal police departments from using armed drones. That’s right, in response to an initiative that would prevent “police from outfitting drones with devices such as Tasers and teargas,” the newspaper of record in a city already plagued by police violence says such an idea is “a step too far.”
If you don’t live in Denver but this nonetheless all sounds familiar, that’s not surprising. As the recession has caused more social foment across the country, and as media has consolidated into the hands of fewer and fewer status-quo-loving plutocrats, the collective response from the power establishment has been authoritarian in nature. We see it in New York City, where surveillance and stop-and-frisk tactics are running rampant – and yet where billionaire media mogul Michael Bloomberg is regularly portrayed in the media as a great “freedom mayor,” thanks, in part, to the fact that reporters fear he will be their boss one day. And we see it in other cities where police are trying to prevent citizens from even documenting acts of police brutality.
Taken together, whether in Denver or anywhere else, the trend is clear. “Police state” is no longer a hyperbolic term, nor should it imply some fictional fantasy world. It is already here, and it operates in an insipid way whereby its worst atrocities are deftly normalized by power-crazed politicians and power-worshiping media outlets. In that, it is less “1984″ than “Brave New World” – less blatantly horrific than subtly pernicious. Either way, though, the result is the same – a police state that turns the word “liberty” into a meaningless political slogan, and not much more.