Socialization into Militarization
Life definitely seems a lot more militarized now that social distancing norms have become common place and the National Guard is doing its part to make sure people are adhering to stay at home orders. All the workers at the grocery store are now wearing masks (even though they were not two months agoâ€”so it does not make sense why all of a sudden now it is important that they all wear masks as though it is somehow keeping everyone safer or as though the mask itself was a threat to the virus and the virus was going to back away because it saw a mask). The ridiculousness with which people are simply obeying all these insane rules and orders looks very much to me like how a truly militarized nation would act. Orders come, they are not questioned, and no one says anything. Of course, if anyone does step out of line, there are the police to haul them off to jail. A mother was taken to jail for having a play date at a park with her kids (Farberov, 2020). A Louisville woman was arrested for allegedly violating self-quarantine orders (WDRB, 2020). Everyone is working from home, and though there have been some protests, I have not seen any governors dragged out of their homes or capital buildings so I donâ€™t think the mobs have become too disorderly.
The point is that everyone does as he is told for the most part, which is how it goes in the military. When the commands are issued from on high, there is to be no questioning. If the media says there is a deadly virus going around and that everyone needs to shelter in place and wear a mask, then it must be so. If we are told that all doctors and nurses are heroes then it must be true and we will need to sing their praises for the next 20 years as we did with soldiers and firemen after 9/11. We will have to stand up at the 7th inning of baseball games and honor the nurses and doctors at our local hospitals because they were risking their lives on the front lines for us, so we are being told, and there is to be no questioning of this narrative, just as there was to be no questioning of the 9/11 narrative.
How long are Americans going to tolerate being treated like this? It starts from an early age. At 5 years old we are sent off to school and told that we have to sit in desks for 8 hours a day and learn all the things they want us to learn. We stand in lines when told to stand in lines. We do not question anything. And that goes on for 13 years until we finally graduate high schoolâ€”and then itâ€™s off to college for another 4 more years of being told what to think while still sitting in desks, taking notes, and so on. We are told what time we have to be to work at our jobs. We are watched on cameras everywhere we go. Our every movement is monitored by Google, which tracks all our movements by our cell phones, which we all have and no one seems to mind all this surveillance. We are told what is politically correct to say, and there are no exceptions. If you violate a politically correct norm, it is off to the brig with you and you become a social pariah and your social media account is terminated, you are kicked off YouTube, off Twitter, off Facebook. Youâ€™re reputation is tarnished and you might as well be dead. In the military, you do not step out of line. In life in America it is now much the same way. Everyone is expected to stay in his lane, and even just driving in lanes to school or work is a type of militarization because it forces a structure on us. We have to stop at stop lights even no traffic is coming in either direction the entire time we are stopped there. Why shouldnâ€™t one be allowed to use his common sense and judgment and proceed on with caution? Why must one wait for the light, which has no cognitive functions, to change green as though it were the master of us and we had to submit to the signals hanging from the wires over the roads? There is no good reason, but we all do it because we fear getting pulled over by an unseen police officer and getting a ticket.
We get to work and it is more of the same. We are monitored everywhere we go so that we all begin to be suspicious of everyone else. We may not have enough work to get us through the day but we are not allowed to leave because we have to adhere to the schedule. If the schedule says we have to be there till 5 then we have to be there till 5 even if we finished all our work by 1 and there are no complaints from anyone and there is nothing left to do. It does not matter, the schedule says 5 so there is nothing you can do about it. It is as though everything were operating according to some ridiculous machine that no one can turn off because everyone has given over his own authority, his own sovereignty to some invisible entity that rules us. Is it the military industrial complex that has seeped into every facet and aspect of our culture? We are taught to pledge allegiance to the flag when we are little. We are taught that the authorities are the expects and they will not betray usâ€”even though they have embroiled us in an endless war in the Middle East for two decades. We are taught that we are little more than cogs in a machine.
And now just the act of socializing has been militarized. I cannot hang out with friends without fear of violating some rule that we are supposed to be following. How ridiculous is this? Are we supposed to stop being human until the experts tell us the virus, which anyone can see is no worse than the flu for most people, is gone and is no more a danger? I am more worried I might lose my life from hospital error than I would from the coronavirus but now we all have to stay six feet apart and if we want to go out we canâ€™t because of the rules! It is as though the world has gone full totalitarian mad and everyone accepts their place in their newly militarized social lives.
Farberov, S. (2020). Moment Idaho mom arrested. Retrieved from https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8245221/Idaho-mom-arrested-protesting-coronavirus-lockdown-closed-playground.html
WDRB. (2020). Louisville woman arrested at Kroger for violating self-quarantine order after COVID-19 diagnosis. Retrieved from https://www.wdrb.com/news/louisville-woman-arrested-at-kroger-for-violating-self-quarantine-order-after-covid-19-diagnosis/article_ed19df76-8978-11ea-afd8-33dd85093a5e.html
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