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I just re-read Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. It was my third reading.
Although published in 2008, intended (I believe) to look back on the heightened security and information-gathering by the Department of Homeland Security, the book is becoming more applicable to the current administration. Every day a new order is passed or legislation proposed that limits the freedoms of at least one segment of the population: women, Latinos, Muslims, LGBT people, etc. Every day we read another example of the current administration trying to subvert the Constitution.
Before the recent presidential election, I thought of DHS as a bloated, ineffective, bureaucratic agency. Yes, DHS, or Big Brother if you will, is watching but not an imminent threat. In my Sue series, I use DHS as the overseers of the clones. Ted Stevens is the level-headed DHS Director with the best interest of clones in mind; he releases the clones and protects their individual liberties. Whereas the special DHS committee is the xenophobic “protector” of American citizens against the “aliens” and their “conspirators”. Of course civil liberty wins in my books as Ted fights for the clones. To me, it was obvious. Up until now, I didn’t think the opposite was plausible this day in American society, with as much transparency as the internet offers.
But now I’m not so sure. Every day we learn of violations and abuse of power, which gets us back to Little Brother. As I read the book this past week, I didn’t think back to 9/11, I thought about current events in American politics. How long will it be before DHS starts invading the freedoms of Americans? As long as the administration finds a reason to marginalize a segment of society, there’s no telling what the DHS, Department of Justice, Department of Health and Human Services, etc. will do. Look at what has already been attempted or floated in barely two months! Proposing to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, repeal of parts or all of Roe v. Wade, eliminating pregnancy care from Trumpcare, building “The Wall”, mass deportation of “illegals”, prohibiting suspected Muslims from entering the country, and repealing LGBT equality laws are just some of the few ideas/legislation already being discussed. What is going on? Are we going to allow this to occur?
At the end of Little Brother, Marcus makes a video to show the imprisonment and torture he experienced at the hand of DHS and, more importantly, he gives advice. His advice is completely applicable to right now. “We elected these people. We pay their salaries. They’re supposed to be on our side. They’re supposed to defend our freedoms. But these people betrayed our trust. …Find five of your neighbors—five people who’ve given up on voting because their choice is ‘none of the above.’ Talk to your neighbors. Make them promise to vote. Make them promise to take the country back from the torturers and thugs. Make them promise to talk to their neighbors. Most of us choose none of the above. It’s not working. You have to choose—choose freedom.”
One last thing; open this tweet and look at the books assembled on the table at this bookstore. It’s a commentary on the times.
I watched Bernie Sanders with Chris Matthews tonight.
Bernie was challenged by Chris and tried to connect his ability to enact his agenda with the youth vote movement. I understood his message, but he, Bernie, isn’t delivering that message effectively. Chris Matthews asked him how Mitch McConnell would allow a vote on Bernie’s agenda. Bernie replied by saying that congress will see the revolution and will react accordingly. Chris challenged him, asking Bernie where is the revolution when voter turnout in the primaries so far are below those from 2008. Bernie stumbled. I was disappointed.
So I’m going to lay out what, in my mind, should be Bernie’s message. Maybe his staff will actually read this and help Bernie change his delivery. So, here goes…
The revolution must impact more than just the presidency. It MUST impact congress.
Unless I’m mistaken, every House of Representative seat is up for election. EVERY SEAT! That’s 435 representatives. And in 2016, 34 Senate seats, one-third of the seats in the Senate are up for election. Now, the only way Bernie Sanders will be elected President is if massive numbers of young adults vote. If Bernie can get out that voting demographic, those voters will be voting for candidates with a progressive agenda. Okay, so here’s where I connect the dots. If Bernie is elected President, he’ll have a democratic congress, or at least a more progressive congress than the current congress.
So Bernie, you need to say this: “Young people, get out and vote. Get. Out. And. Vote. And when you vote, make sure you vote for progressive House candidates and Senate candidates (where applicable). If we vote in more progressive legislators, along with me, Bernie Sanders, we will bring about the revolution to reform the government, fix income inequality, etc…” Draw the connection between the presidential election and the congressional election. Tell the youth of America to vote for you, but also to vote for progressive House and Senate candidates. You, Bernie, cannot get elected without the youth vote and you cannot get elected unless those same voters elect a progressive congress. Get the youth voters to demand change not only for president, but for all levels and branches of government.
That’s what I think.
Congratulations to Jennifer from Can’t Put It Down book reviews!
She was the winning voter in the November Indie Cover Art Poll! She will win a copy of each of the 16 books from the indie authors who’s covers were in the poll.
Unfortunately, Sue’s Fingerprint was not the winning book cover. 🙁