It’s deeper than Trump. America has been building its Gestapo for years
Imagine that Trump actually built his wall. A big, beautiful wall 100 miles high, stretching around the entire United States. It impaled children on spikes, and the poor, and eventually kept legal migrants out as well. Its shadow spread over every American city.
Then it started falling down.
First a little section collapsed over Washington DC. Then a whole panel came crashing down on the people of Portland, including the mayor. Then Chicago.
That’s precisely what has happened, only the border is a 100-miles deep, not high. And it’s deeper than Trump. America has been expanding its police state for decades, starting with the War on Drugs under Bush I, accelerating with the War on Terror under Bush II, and continuing to grow under Obama into what has become Trump’s War on Migrants.
Now it’s War On You.
That Martin Niemoller quote on Nazis isn’t a warning, it’s a statement of fact. This is just what happens. First the DHS came for Muslims, but you said nothing — because you were not Muslim. Then ICE came for migrants, but you said nothing — because you were not a migrant.
Now they have come for you.
America’s violent border has fallen in, crushing American people and freedoms underneath. This is America. Don’t catch you slipping now.
How It Happened
Trump is, in many ways, the id of America. America’s unconscious hatred and fear. Trump says racist and violent things, whereas genteel America is merely structurally racist and violent. To the brown bodies crushed underneath, however, what’s the difference?
America has always been a global bully, using its military to oppress, assassinate, and occupy. So much so that when JFK was assassinated, Malcolm X pointed to American assassinations abroad and said,
Being an old farm boy myself, chickens coming home to roost never did make me sad; they’ve always made me glad.
This is still true today. The entire history I will relate is just chickens coming home to roost. These armored chickens have been brutalizing other people for years. You’re only noticing because now they’re oppressing you.
War On Drugs
The first major step in the militarization of America was Program 1033, which allowed military equipment (meant for brutalizing people abroad) to flow back into America. These were the tools of the trade — body armor, tear gas, guns, armored vehicles, etc. They all started showing up in local and federal agencies.
America now began creating a military on their own soil, entirely outside of the usual chain of command. These agencies, however, were still under different departments, so there was not one trigger for a President to pull.
That would change.
War On Terror
With the War on Terror, America lost its mind.
In their terrible fear and hatred of Muslims, they threw freedoms, privacy, and humanity out the window. Disparate security agencies were consolidated under a monolithic Department of Homeland Security, answerable only to the President, when a President that simply read existing memos would have sufficed.
America also lashed out in endless wars in the Middle East, both direct and proxy, spending enough to go to Mars. That equipment and, worse, personnel circulated back to America. The DHS got both military equipment and men, the former built for brutalization and the latter with ample experience. America’s torturers and murderers (fuck your troops, fuck them for their ‘service’) came home and began abusing brown people at the borders.
It’s important to remember that the DHS and ICE were only founded in 2002, and the CBP only reorganized in 2003. These instruments of terror are entirely creations of the War on Terror. In the end America never defeated this noun either. They just became it.
War On Migrants
The next brick in the wall was the War On Migrants. The Border Police had been rounding up undesirables for centuries, but the targeting of Latino migrants accelerated under Obama (known as the Deporter-in-Chief) and reached a horrific fever pitch under Trump.
Demonization of migrants was Trump’s only original policy idea, beyond signing whatever grift Republicans put in front of him. He made America’s quiet brutality very public. A show really. His child separation policies were designed to terrify, to send a message. He gleefully put people seeking a better life in concentration camps.
He expressed the oppression that had been American policy for years. America’s id had become ego. The chickens were almost ready to come home.
War On You
What you have at this point is a fully-fledged military organization, designed, equipped, and legislated to operate on American soil, under the command of the President. What do you think is going to happen?
Another version of Niemoller’s quote is ‘if you give a mouse a cookie, pretty soon it’s going to want some milk’. If you give a President an internal police state, pretty soon he’s going to use it. This police state was always brutalizing someone, you just ignored it cause it wasn’t happening to you.
Americans ignored the brutalization of Muslims, of migrants, and of the rest of the world and this thing just grew. It got more funding, more guns, more impunity — and on a bipartisan basis. Even Democrats like Pete Buttigieg proudly do a colonial murder tour abroad as a resume builder.
This thing was built on oppression — of brown bodies abroad and at the border. Of course it was used to lash out at Black Lives Matter. The entire foundation of the American police state is that certain lives don’t.
Hence in 2020, federal ‘police’ in unmarked uniforms started showing up outside the President’s bunker in Washington DC. These were cobbled together from various agencies of the police state, from prisons to border police, the latter able to operate under US Code 1357.
Everything else I’ve talked about was physical, but this legal manifestation was the worst. It created a border 0 meters high and 100-miles deep, and it had been there for years. Trump just used it.
§ 1357 allows immigration officers to operate within 100 miles of any external boundary. Hence Trump could call out border troops to DC, or Portland, or Chicago. Basically every major city except inland places like Atlanta. Anything near an ocean is fine.
This gives America’s border Gestapo jurisdiction over two-thirds of the US population, including entering any non-dwelling within 25 miles without a warrant. There were limits on this power, but the whole thing was bred on impunity so who cares.
Trump’s predecessors had gifted him the perfect militia for targeting ‘blue’, coastal cities. He just used it.
The Border Has Collapsed
That brings us to today. Due to Trump’s catastrophic mismanagement of COVID-19, America’s border is closed from the Mexican side. Almost every nation now rejects Americans. The violent men at the border have nowhere to go, so they’ve come in.
The reality that migrants and minorities have known for years is now breaking the fingers of white people in Portland, and gassing their own mayor. The weapons of war and the abductions that people in brown countries know all too well is being visited upon Americans.
Armored chickens have come home to roost.
This Is America
This is not just Trump. This is you. Trump is merely the American id. He expresses what America has done for decades, just to other people. Ask Afghanistan, or anyone at the border. Ask black people, to whom the overwhelming state response is ‘no, you’re lives do not matter, here’s a truncheon.’
This is America.
Trump did not invent hatred of Muslims, that was the foundation of the DHS and the driving force behind American wars of occupation for decades. Trump did not invent hatred of migrants, America has been second only to Europe in the wholesale murder of brown people at its borders.
This is America.
Americans built this police state, brick by brick, through what Dimitry Kohenov calls active complacency. You have actively stood back through the War on Drugs, the War on Terror, and the War on Migrants as this Gestapo was built. Each brick was deeply legislated, by your representatives, of both parties. You stood by while they came for minorities, for Muslims, for migrants.
Now they are coming for you.
This is America, and you’re trapped inside. Your plague passport is worthless now. At the same time, your invisible border wall is falling in on your cities like dominoes. You have to struggle to make it to November, then January (if you’re lucky), but the structural rot will remain.
All of the violence and persecution you have visited upon the world has been brought back to you — all the guns, armor, and gas-masked faces that innocent brown people know terribly well. All the abductions and abuse that you visited upon the wretched and weak along your borders, it has come home.
This is America. Guns in your area. Don’t catch you slipping now.