The Cascading Tyranny
We Refuse to Acknowledge
August 21, 2021
I normally don’t watch videos like this, below (right). I make an exception because this one was made by a young man who, either himself or through his parents, escaped tyranny. (I don’t know what country it was. Judging from his accent, I would guess it’s somewhere in Eastern Europe.)
He speaks from experience. This matters. I have not had this experience, nor have you. He maintains his experience (or his family’s) is happening all over again, in America—ironically, the country he hoped would be a refuge from tyranny.
Americans are oblivious to this process because we steadfastly and vociferously believe we are somehow immune to such awful stuff. Tyranny happens in Europe or the Middle East or Asia. Not here.
This is baloney, of course, as the narrator relentlessly insists. Evidently this man sees something that few of us see.
On the other hand, we all sense there’s something wrong. It’s difficult, perhaps, to put one’s finger on exactly what it is; we just know there’s something amiss. Not something minor, either; there is a crushing sense of oppression, building and building. Of doom. As if something unprecedented has been set in motion. (See Auden’s poem, below. See, as well, Yeats’s “Second Coming.”)
The narrator says our unease is our instinctive, gut reaction to the lockstep process of tyranny. (Didn’t we put this forever behind us in 1776?)
I realize many viewers will scoff at this. Fine, but hear him out. Then decide.
This was written by the British poet, W. H. Auden in 1941-42, in the dark years of World War 2 when Britain was being pounded by Nazi bombs. It’s part of a lengthy poem titled, “For the Time Being: A Christmas Oratorio,” first published in 1944. See if you resonate to these lines.