Welcome to Bizarro America
In 1958, DC Comics introduced a new character to their Superman storyline. "Bizarro Superman" approximated the protective, crime-fighting superhero - but was more of a reversed shadow of the Man of Steel. His appearance was grotesque, his language convoluted and primitive, and his vocabulary was inverted, with "good" meaning "bad." Eventually, the character left Earth and created his own Bizarro World, cube-shaped and ruled by the decree that everything there must be done in opposite fashion from how it was done on Earth.
It was a quirky, imaginative, and harmless notion for a child's comic strip. But such double-speak and inversion is a horrifying and frightening prospect in a real-world system of government and law.
And we are now living in Bizarro America.
A system turned on its head
This nation was once hailed for its system of laws, for the novel idea of presumed innocence, for the protection of individual rights. It was touted as governing by consent of the governed, in which the people had the final say in what was acceptable practice. It was a place where you had the right to voice your opinion when you wanted to, to remain silent when it was desirable, and in which you had an accepted right to privacy.
The right of free speech can legally be restricted to a small, cordoned-off square set far apart from the target of a protest. The exercise of an individual right to keep and bear arms is dependent upon government permission for either component. The right to be secure in our persons, houses, papers, and effects apparently doesn't apply to private conversations held within earshot of "ShotSpotter" microphones, or to voice, data, or texts transmitted by cell phone - now one of the most ubiquitous forms of communication in common use.
The right to require a detailed search warrant - something specifically written into the Bill of Rights in response to the abuse of "general warrants" by the British government in Colonial America - is ignored for the sake of "national security," allowing our electronically-stored data to be vacuumed up en masse. For that matter, "national security" is also the reason given for allowing trial without jury, double-jeopardy, cruel and unusual punishment, and, under the terms of civil asset forfeiture, the seizure of private assets without just compensation.
In Bizarro America, we are now guilty until proven innocent. Our property can be placed on trial even when no criminal case is levied against us. The government enjoys an unheard-of level of secrecy and privacy, while nearly every aspect of citizens' lives is expected to be open to observation, scrutiny, recording, and data mining. Our government is already seeking to track all firearms transfers, email communications, and cell phone communications. Now, they want to add our children's schooling choices, our credit card transactions, our social media activity, and, under the guise of some ill-defined "racial and economic justice," pretty much everything else it can get its hands on.
We built this
This transformation didn't take place overnight. It didn't take place because of one president, one party, or one election. It took place gradually, over decades, as we either ignored politics completely (whether through apathy or ignorance) or didn't really care what happened as long as "our side" was in power.
We let this happen and it may be too late to put the genie back in the bottle. But we implore you to try. Start caring. Start trying. Contact your elected officials and demand that they oppose any new bills that would further erode our rights and privacy. Educate yourself so you know precisely which bills those are. Shrug off the apathy and recognize that keeping us "safe from danger" is the very thing placing us in danger. Vote, not for an increase in benefits and security, but for an increase in independence and liberty.
Because this is not a comic strip. There is no Superman to come to our rescue. If we are to be saved, we must be our own heroes. And time is running out.