In the newest assault on human rights in America, legislation from the Supreme Court allows security forces to strip search anyone, at any time, for even the most minor of infractions, or worse, the mere suspicion of an infraction.
In her newest article, Naomi Wolf discusses how this kind of sexual humiliation is a tool of political repression, and one that has been used by fascist and genocidal governments in the past, such as Hitler’s Nazi movement.
The initial accounts of these unnecessary strip searches in America are horrifying, and I can only imagine what’s going to happen to all the pretty young women driving alone in their cars.
A friend forwarded me Wolf’s article because it reminded her of a story I wrote years ago —Full Body Search— about a dystopian world so concerned with security that full body cavity searches are routine for airline travel.
Though I wrote the story in 2002, I was not far off the mark as life in America devolves.
Just yesterday finger-pointing Arizona Governor Jan Brewer passed legislation that pushes back the moment of conception to that of the woman’s last menstrual cycle, meaning that once you’ve had your period, you’re considered pregnant under Arizona law. With the flourish of Mrs. Brewer’s pen, the “personhood for zygotes movement”, one that (among oh so much more) criminalizes miscarriage and forces women to carry stillborn fetuses to term, gains even more traction.
I cannot even begin to unpack the absurdity of this nation, and worse that seemingly-intelligent women are participating in their own oppression.
The phrase “land of the free” is being systematically stripped of meaning.
I’m going on four months living in Boca Raton, Florida.
I’ve never lived in a suburb, and I definitively know now that I am a city girl, through and through. I miss going for walks and finding new cafes to sit and write in. I miss corner shops and nearby botanical gardens. I miss the hustle and bustle of people, public transportation, noise that doesn’t involve industrial strength lawn mowers and freeway traffic.
The weather here is beautiful, and my in-laws’ home is lovely. I am thankful to not be dealing with winter cold and snowstorms, and to have a roof over my head after the disastrous end to my husband’s and my life in Europe — but I am certainly struggling in these limited environs.
As we Americans are being stripped of our rights, I find myself also stripped of any semblance of a familiar life.
Being in a conservative state, I am hesitant to talk with Floridians for fear that the college-educated person in front of me will declare the “fact” that President Obama is a Muslim and a member of the communist party. I don’t want to be asked how I speak such good English or where I’m from. I don’t want to explain where Sri Lanka is and why it is I have an American passport.
When there are only three human beings (and two dogs) with whom you have daily contact, it does start to mess with your mind, and not in a good Christopher Nolan kind of way. This social isolation is self-imposed, I know, and extremely painful for my sociable nature. However, as hard as it is, it feels necessary in order to survive here with some semblance of sanity. But even that seems to be slipping.
My phone was out of batteries for three days and I didn’t even notice. I find myself sometimes sleeping 10+ hours a day. I haven’t had an appetite in going on two weeks. I have nightmares almost every night. I want to reach out to friends here in the States, but keep waiting until I feel better because I’d rather have a happy well-adjusted conversation than needing emotional help and support.
Honestly, the last time I was this depressed was the last time I lived in the USA, and each day I’m reminded of all the reasons why I never wanted to live here again.
But here I am. And no end in sight.
Between the stripping down of human rights and my own bohemian European lifestyle, this American life is wearing thin.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where your rights or the life you knew were stripped bare? How did you cope?
©2012 Sezin Koehler, image via Indybay.org
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