Will 2012 be any better? (OPINION)

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Dallas Hyland is a columnist for St. George News and blogs as The Amateur Broad Thinker. The opinions stated in this article are solely his own and not those of St. George News.

As 2011 winds to an end and we all pencil in our resolutions for the new year, I cannot help but ask: Will 2012 be any different?

This year we have seen civil unrest across the globe that yielded unprecedented events in history. We have seen the toppling of totalitarian regimes with relatively little violence and yet here in America, our own civil movements notwithstanding, we are seemingly predisposed to a failure to heed the lessons of history. We seem intent on building a totalitarian regime right here in the once land of the free.

The Mayans have long predicted 2012 the end of civilization on Earth, and while I am not prone to giving credence to such doomsday predictions, I can say without reservation the last year has been a bad one for our country in epic and historical proportions.

Our government has failed us. It has failed us nationally and is failing us locally and if I had to narrow it down to a singular and damnable reason, it would be this: Our elected officials operate in virtual autonomy and in cohesive and profitable relationships with the private business sector.

If this problem is not remedied soon, there can be little chance of our country’s economy ever recovering – but the economy is hardly the problem. It has become the carrot on the stick dangled in front of us to garner our support for anything and everything set before us in its namesake.

There are wars on undefined and undeclared enemies with less than definable objectives.

Then there is the abdication and suspension of fundamental civil liberties in the name of our protection. This gives way to unprecedented powers in all governing branches, the kind of powers that the wise and founding members of this land warned us to not allow.

Grandiose and exceedingly unnecessary civil projects costing taxpayers money they do not have – and likely will not have if we stay on our current economic course – are passed and implemented with hardly a whimper from the public, let alone for even the semblance of a demand for accountability.

If it seems I am being vague here it is intentional. I have been writing all year trying to bring attention to many of the above mentioned matters in quite specific detail, but what I am seeing more and more as the problem is not the projects or those who propose them, but the apathetic and compliant public that does little or nothing to right our course.

This public is quite demanding in its voracious appetite for what is tantamount to celebrity sleuth, the latest arrests and who won the local high school football game, but if the comments are any indication, this public appears genuinely unconcerned with the weighty matters of consequence.

If history is taken into context here, it could be asserted that civilizations past who have seen their own demise had at least one thing in common: the utterly deplorable hubris involved in the assumption that it could not happen to them.

Think the Greeks. Think the Romans. Think the Mayans.

These are civilizations whose own demise bear some irrefutable similarities to the current state of our local communities and national affairs. The governing bodies would have us believe all is well and getting better when, in fact, it is quite harrowing how utterly dependent we are on things so simple as devices which become useless if not charged every 24 hours.

We have become weaker and more dependent. Worst of all, we have become apathetic and far too easily pleased.

I press forward into the new year like most with a measured sense of optimism. However, it gives way to some disconcerting realities we are facing in the coming year.

Now more than ever, an informed and engaged people is needed and it would be the expressed intent of this writer to not only put forth this challenge, but to perpetuate it.

Happy New Year.

See you out there.

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Copyright 2011 St. George News. This material may not be published or rewritten without written consent.

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  • Emmanuel Goldstein January 9, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    There are a lot of people, like you, who are talking about totalitarianism in America these days. I’m well-informed, but baffled by where you guys see this.

    Is it the totalitarianism stemming from the president who is blocked by Congress every time he tries to sneeze? Is is stemming from the Congress that is more obsessed with preventing things from happening, rather than getting things done?

    I know you’re being “intentionally vague,” but I’m sick of hearing all of these things by people who don’t have any facts. While your piece is heavy on adverbs and meaningless adverbs like “voracious” in your attempts to sound smart, it is light on facts.

    You appear to fancy yourself to be a “deep thinker,” but I don’t see it here.

  • Bryan Hyde January 9, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    Isn’t it fabulous to feel that above-it-all superiority complex over a guy who actually signs his name to his opinions? I seriously doubt Dallas was trying to make you feel stupid. But if you need some factual evidence of totalitarianism creeping into our society, here are a few examples compiled by constitutional attorney John Whitehead:

    The Total Security State- Several years ago, government officials acknowledged that the nefarious intelligence gathering entity known as the National Security Agency (NSA) had exceeded its legal authority by eavesdropping on Americans’ private email messages and phone calls. However, these reports barely scratch the surface of what we are coming to recognize as a “security/industrial complex” – a marriage of government, military and corporate interests aimed at keeping Americans under constant surveillance.

    Intrusive pat-downs, virtual strip searches and screening stations. Under the direction of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), American travelers have been subjected to all manner of searches ranging from whole-body scanners and enhanced patdowns at airports to bag searches in train stations. Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) task forces, comprised of federal air marshals, surface transportation security inspectors, transportation security officers, behavior detection officers and explosive detection canine teams laid the groundwork for the government’s effort to secure so-called “soft” targets such as malls, stadiums, bridges, etc.

    More powers for the FBI. As detailed in the FBI’s operations manual, rules were relaxed in order to permit the agency’s 14,000 agents to search law enforcement and private databases, go through household trash, and deploy surveillance teams, with even fewer checks against abuse. These new powers extend the agency’s reach into the lives of average Americans and effectively transform the citizenry into a nation of suspects, reversing the burden of proof so that we are now all guilty until proven innocent. Thus, no longer do agents need evidence of possible criminal or terrorist activity in order to launch an investigation.

    How about the consistent renewal of the PATRIOT Act? Drones over America? Increased arrests for taping encounters with police? Using firefighters, police & corporate employees as Terrorism Liaison Officers to spy on their fellow citizens? Fusion Centers and continuing militarization of police?

    Just because you weren’t aware of them, doesn’t mean they don’t exist and aren’t having real impact on our liberties.

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