I have been writing for about four months under the pseudonym of
"Ezekiel" about the need for Americans to plan for emigration from
the U. S.
The choice of moniker was purposeful. Like the biblical Ezekiel, I am in
exile, having left the U. S. in 2005 for Europe. And while I have no special
"word from the Lord" as that ancient prophet claimed, I have sat, as
he did, watching from a distance as my native land disintegrates step by step.
Now the events of this past week in Washington, D. C., have reminded me
of yet another Ezekiel parallel. Like many ancient peoples, the Jews of
Ezekiel's time believed that God actually lived in the temple that Solomon had
built in Jerusalem. They pictured Yahweh sitting on a throne in the midst of
the Holy of Holies, and trusted that God would not allow Jerusalem to be
destroyed as long as the Divine Presence remained in that temple.
In the climactic 10th chapter of the book of Ezekiel, the prophet has a
vision inspired by the barrage of bad news coming from his homeland. In
Ezekiel's typically psychedelic imagery, he sees the Lord get up from the
temple throne, mount up on one of Ezekiel's bizarre chariots and ride right on
out of town.
Americans' view of themselves and their country is not so different from
the ancient Jews' concept of the temple in Jerusalem. America is supposed to be
a uniquely free and blessed land where an almost divinely inspired
Constitution, housed in a 21st century bullet-proof version of the Holy of
Holies, serves as a kind of holy Shekinah guarding the country against tyranny.
Somebody should run and check the National Archives because the
Constitution may have sprouted legs and walked right of the District of
Columbia sometime after 53 Republicans and 12 Democrats voted last Thursday to
end an 800-year-old tradition called habeas corpus. No Reichstag decree was
required. No soldiers stood in the Senate gallery with rifles pointed to
threaten those Senators who might be tempted to oppose rather than endorse
dictatorship. The strongest motivation anyone has yet proposed is that the
November mid-term elections are coming up.
And so the Spirit that was America has departed. Long ago, it left the
White House. Its presence has barely been felt in the halls of Congress for the
last six years as illegal wars have been authorized, the trampling of civil
liberties condoned, treasuries looted and growing executive power and hubris
went unchecked. The brief flickerings that were the Supreme Court's Hamdi and
Hamdan decisions have now been completely extinguished by the legislative
From exile in Babylon, Ezekiel looked back at a Jerusalem now bereft of
the protecting Spirit of the Lord and saw nothing but disaster looming ahead
for his countrymen who had remained behind.
As he put it, the city had become a pot and its people the meat.
In a country where only 34 senators vote to preserve a person's right to
a writ of habeas corpus, where Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Roberts are the final
arbiters of the Bill of Rights, where Bush is ruler and lord, in such a country
as that, it is America that has become the pot and its citizens the meat.
American Stew is the special this week. You can smell it cooking all the
way over here in Europe.
If you're ready to jump out of the pot before you're
cooked, do two things: view the Flash video " Shelter from the Storm" (a 4-5 minute download with
DSL) and read " Why Croatia?"