The Big State

I used to wonder how the German citizens could have let the Holocaust happen, but have since experienced the helplessness that government actions makes me feel. I think this piece by James Tate is a perfect summary of the feeling of vague guilt and helplessness in the face of the State.

The Sweep

A friend of mine, Claude Larkin, was taken into custody
yesterday and was being held on suspicion, suspicion of what
I don’t know. Claude was probably the most upright citizen
I knew. A reporter I know called me. “I’m just concerned,” she
said, “because I’ve never seen the police be so secretive. They wouldn’t
tell me what he’s being charged with. And when I asked them when
I might be able to see him, they told me he has already been
transported to federal facilities,” Patricia said. “Federal?”
I said. “That sounds scary. Jesus, you know Claude, they don’t come
any straighter than him. It must be some kind of mistake.” “Well,
yes, it certainly seems that way, but it is also my experience that
you don’t really know anybody. I mean, you know one side of them,
but there’s also another hidden side. Some cases of this are more
dramatic than others,” she said. “Well, in theory I’m sure you’re
right, but I’ve known Claude for a very long time and as much
as it might delight me to find out he has a hidden side, I’m afraid he
just doesn’t,” I said. She said she would get back to me if she
learned anything. As the weeks passed by I became more and more
obsessed with the fate of Claude Larkin, but to my shame I did Continue reading “The Big State”