The bile, the anger rises only occasionally–when I read an op ed or news article that brings the reality of the abuses to my consciousness. Torture. Blackwater. George Bush praising General Musharraff’s grasp of democracy. Warrantless wiretaps. Secret detentions. Legal proceedings that Franz Kafka could not have imagined happening here. Lies and deceptions about why we started a war with Iraq that shifted from one phony rationale to another as each was discredited: Imaginary WMD, non-existent connections between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, eliminating a dictator to bring democracy to an oppressed people.
America was attacked by terrorists. Yes we want to prevent future attacks. Yes we want to punish those who did it. But will giving up our civil liberties, our civil rights, our system of jurisprudence, our morality and humanity–heading down a road that leads to a police state make us a happier and safer country? A country that we want to live in and bring our children up in? I don’t think so. So I think I have found my next book topic.
It will be a biting satire to make Vonnegut, Kafka and even Michael Moore proud. Perhaps it may be in a fable form; a story that might even be readable by children. Because that is who it will benefit. My first book, Waiting for Westmoreland, recalls a time when the United States trained Latin American soldiers to prop up right-wing dictatorships by any means necessary–because we thought we needed to do that to keep the Communist menace from America’s doorstep. Today, in the name of stopping terrorists, we no longer use surrogates to do our dirty deeds–we do them ourselves! This must stop.
President Daisaku Ikeda, leader of the worldwide Buddhist lay organization Soka Gakkai International, often encourages his fellow Buddhists to use anger to fight injustice. I intend to do that in my next book. Shrub, Darth Vader and friends–I am putting you on notice.