Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Temperature Rising

I am really rattled by the story below about the Oregon schoolteachers who were kicked out of a Bush rally on the pretext of the obscenity of their t-shirts that read, "Protect Our Civil Liberties."

It makes me think about slippery slopes, Martin Niemoller, and the theory that you can boil a man to death by slowly raising the temperature of the water (the name of which theory I chanced across on a blog recently, and I thought it was The Liberal Avenger, but for the life of me I can't track it down).

I'm an immigrant in the US; my husband is American with family all over the country; we have undergone expensive, humilating, and extremely stressful immigration procedures to get my current immigration status, which we would forfeit if I live outside the country for an extended period of time. My husband has a great job he enjoys, we have wonderful friends where we live in a city we really like, and we would like to be able to stay.

And...I read the news...and I wonder, where do we draw the line? How warm do we let the water get before we jump out of the pot? And will we recognize before it is too late?

I don't mean to be a pessimist, but I'm awake in the middle of the night feeling sick, and feeling particularly scared. I work in politics, so that I can make a difference, so that I can contribute to setting things to rights--and because otherwise I don't think I could live here, in this political climate.

Will stealing the election do it? Will re-instating the draft do it? If we wait until they reinstate the draft up to age 44 for special skills (my husband could potentially be drafted under that mandate), would we be able to leave the country? Do we wait for mandatory mass chickenpox vaccinations? We live fairly close to DC--do we wait until there's a biochemical attack or nuclear attack on US soil? If we get hit by enough fallout will it matter?

I really want to stay. And I really don't want to believe what I'm seeing happen around me. And, I feel like there is a moral imperative to stay and fight this for as long as possible.

I also have a gut feeling that if we don't really think about it, and set some thresholds, that we won't notice the temperature rising.

Am I the only one thinking this way? Do you already know where you would/will draw the line?


Okay, let me ask again: where do we draw the line?

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