The Coming Times
The vicious cycle spirals ever downward
And I see the people running
They are running away from the wind and the rain
They are holding their children
They are carrying their babies
And they are running for dear life

But they know not where to run
But they run; run they do
Run and run and run they do

And I see soldiers; soldiers; soldiers everywhere

It seems that soldiers have sprouted up like weeds all over the globe
Many, many soldiers throughout the globe; all over the globe

It would seem that almost each nation has sprouted
A whole group of soldiers that litter the country side

And some of the soldiers help the people who are running
And some of the soldiers stop the people who are running and turn them back
And some of the soldiers execute each and every person they see running

And it would seem that the whole globe is littered with soldiers
There are soldiers everywhere
In the cities, in the countryside
At the airports, at the train stations, at the bus stops, at the parks
Why they even walk into the churches!

The soldiers are ubiquitous and are so all over the world
This phenomena is not limited to one country or a certain group of countries
It would seem that the phenomena is a global phenomena
The soldiers are everywhere; everywhere; everywhere

And yes, they stop the people

Citizens in their own country; in their own towns; in their own villages
Are routinely and randomly stopped
And must show their identification papers

And now everyone must always carry identification papers with them at all times
If you cannot produce your identification papers
The reason matters not
You are taken to prison; no exception to the rule

80 year old grandmothers must have their identification papers
Or they too are taken to prison
There is no exception to this rule; not a one

Citizens in their own country; in their own towns; in their own villages
Are routinely and randomly stopped
And patted down and searched
And yes sometimes the soldiers pull them aside and strip-search them

It is for their security’s sake, you see
Everyone understands this
Everyone accepts this
This is needed for our own security

Citizens in their own country; in their own towns; in their own villages
Are routinely and randomly stopped
And carted off to the police station
And questioned

What have you been doing the last 24 hours
Can you account for your actions and whereabouts this past week
Who have you spoken to and when
What did you speak to them about
Answer us

And yes, the citizens understand the need for this
For yes, the terrorists are among them
And how can a soldier distinguish between a good, loyal, obedient citizen
And a violent terrorist

It is for their own security that they are subjected to this
Everyone understands this
Everyone accepts this

And when the people fail to produce identification papers
For whatever reason
Say they were robbed of them

Then these people spend days, weeks, months in prison
While the bureaucracy hunts down exactly who these people are
And why they do not have their identification papers
And exactly who does have their identification papers

And if a person cannot explain his actions fully
Is not able to remember what happened at a particular day
Or at a particular time
Or if his story does not coincide with his neighbor’s story

Then that person; both those people are carted off to prison
And kept there for days and weeks
Until the bureaucracy determines exactly who was where and when

And now the people start keeping logs
Detailing what they are doing and when
The log names each person they speak with and their topic of conversation
It notes the begin and end time of each encounter
It notes the names of all those present

And everyone keeps their log

It is for our security sake you see
For how can the soldiers keep us safe otherwise

And the people start carrying their log with them at all times
And they note the beginning time of each activity
When the activity is complete they note the end time
They note the begin time and the name of each person they encounter
When the encounter is complete they note the end time
And the subject matter covered

It is for our own security you see
For this way the soldiers can see that we are good, upright citizens
And not terrorists for the terrorists look just like us

For now the terrorists come in all sizes, colors and shapes
They come in both genders

The more soldiers appear on the scene
So correspondingly, though in not as great a number
Do more terrorists appear on the scene

And the vicious cycle spirals ever downward

More soldiers are sent out to root out the terrorists
More terrorists are created to stand up to the soldiers
And the more terrorists that spring up; the more soldiers are dispatched

And the vicious cycle spirals ever downward

And the citizen see that the terrorist; why they look just like them
And the media blares continuously of the danger the terrorists pose

And the terrorists are evil, evil, evil!
Why they will kill us all!
They will bring down our civilization!
This is a war between good and evil!

And the media broadcasts this message in every way it can
It does so in urgency
It does so with an unctuous voice
No need to panic
No need to panic at all
Just go about your business; go about your daily routines
Respond politely to the soldiers
Oh and yes please immediately place your hands up in the air
So that the soldier sees that you do not have a weapon in hand
And all will go well

And the people understand the need for this and they accept this
And they comply; they comply; they comply

They carry their identification papers with them at all times
They carry their log with them at all times
Meticulously noting each activity; each encounter

They politely and willingly accept the police stops
The polices pat-downs
The police strip searches
They politely and willingly allow themselves
To be carted off to the police station for interrogation
And willingly turn their logs over to the police
So that they may examine them in detail

And when the police question them further
They are ever so willing to explain every detail
Of their personal and private lives
Truly it perplexes them why the police need to go into such detail
How can this information have anything to do with combating the terrorists
But the media assures them that they are innocent and naïve
And that they may be inadvertently
Encountering and aiding the terrorists without even knowing it!
And it is up to the police to go through their logs
And their personal lives in great detail
To make sure that the citizens aren’t being unwittingly used by the terrorists
For the terrorists’ own ends

Ah yes, now we see
And the people see and understand the need for the extent
Of the amount of personal information needed by the police
And willingly and even eagerly supply it to them

And no, they do not hesitate to report what they have seen their neighbor do
No, not at all
For who knows
The neighbor might be an unwitting accomplice to the terrorists
Why the neighbor might be a terrorist himself!

So yes, absolutely they are happy to tell the police
Whatever it is they recall about what their neighbor is doing

And of course all this does not happen overnight
It is a step by step gradual unfoldment
Of course with each new terrorist attack
More bold and great steps are taken
While there is peace, the steps taken are more subtle
And presented with greater explanation as to their need

And the people listen and nod their heads in agreement

Yes this is war
Yes this is a war to save civilization itself
Why it is a war between good and evil!
And yes we must do our part
And since we are ordinary citizens; not soldiers; not members of the government
We must comply; we must fully comply; that is how we will serve in this war
This will be our contribution to the success of this war
Our full and willing compliance to all our beleaguered government is asking of us
And yes the government is working so hard
So very hard on our behalf
The government is working so hard
So very hard to keep us safe
It is sending its intelligence operatives all over the globe
And it is taking satellite pictures of the whole globe
Why just about every street in the world
Is being captured in pictures as we speak!
And with all this effort our government is taking
Our government will keep us safe

But for some reason
No one knows why
Why these terrorists are like cockroaches
One can’t get rid of them
For some reason, the government is not able to keep the citizens safe

And the more the citizen hands over his liberty and his sovereignty to the government
The more power the government has, the more muscle and force the government uses
Ironically enough, and this is quite perplexing, the more the terrorists strike

Obviously the government needs to step up its effort
And the government and the media and the people all agree to this
Why we cannot allow for these terrorists attacks

And so the government up-steps its effort
To monitor and control the populace; its own citizens
And the citizens comply; they comply; they comply
And the terrorists strike again; and again; and again

And it would seem that there is no end to this
Truly this is a state of Perpetual War
And it comes to be called exactly that

We are in a state of Perpetual War, the government explains to its people
And the people struggle with this one

Isn’t the government going to win
Maybe we need a stronger government
Maybe we need new people in charge

And so they vote for new people who promise to greatly increase the war
So that it is ended once and for all
And the new people in the government take on ever yet more power
For they have received a mandate from the people
And the people ever give up more liberties
For they want this war over already
What is all this talk about Perpetual War. Let us win already!

And now curfews are imposed
And anyone caught outside their house during the hours of curfew
Is immediately carted off to prison
And remains there for days, for weeks, for months
While the bureaucracy determines why this citizen
Was not complying with the curfew and was this in fact a legitimate reason
Or was there a terrorist plot in the making
And curfew is now from sundown to sunup
No one is allowed out during the night hours
Even in the winter – when the day is short and the night is long
And the people hurry home from the office in the wintertime
To make sure that they are in their homes before curfew
But this is necessary; this is all necessary.  We must win this Perpetual War
Why we can’t live like this forever
Let us do what we must and let us win this war already!

And yet the terrorists continue to strike
No one knows how they manage it really
With all the controls that are in place
Just how is it that they get a bomb into a railway station
It makes no sense; there is no way to get inside a railway station
With a bomb; there are detectors and sensors and guards
At every possible entrance; and yet the explosions go off anyways
They are truly wily and cunning these terrorists; just how do they do it
It just doesn’t make sense
It is the work of the devil, say some

And the people are left so baffled that they almost have to believe it
For truly it is not humanly possible
With all the controls the government has rightly put up
For someone to sneak explosives of any kind any where

And yet they do
And yet they do
And yet they do

And it just doesn’t make sense
It doesn’t make sense
It doesn’t make sense

And now the people are weary

They are weary of this Perpetual War
Which the new administration even with all of its effort
Shows no sign of completing; of winning; of ending it already!
And yes, they must admit they are getting fatigued
Of their contribution to the war effort
For of course taxes have greatly increased to pay for the war effort
And so the people do not have much disposable income at all
And some must do without
But more than that, as much as they hate to admit it
Why it sounds unpatriotic to even think such thoughts
And no they dare not voice such thoughts aloud
For they do not want their neighbors suspecting them of being unpatriotic
They do not want their friends reporting to the police what they have said
No they do not
But truly they are becoming weary of this new lifestyle
Of the soldiers’ ubiquitous presence

And at first the soldiers had been polite
Treating each citizen with the respect due to a loyal citizen
Even as the soldier was strip-searching the citizen

But now it must be that the soldiers have gotten weary too
For now the soldiers are rude and rough with them
Treating the citizens with contempt as though they were terrorists

And it is getting wearying
It is getting wearying
And the curfew shows no sign of ever letting up
On the contrary; now whenever the government suspects unusual activity
It will suddenly and without warning impose a curfew even during the daytime
And the people are beginning to feel like prisoners in their own homes

And oh please forgive me
But yes I’m beginning to feel like a prisoner in my own country
But I dare not voice this aloud
No I dare not

And so the citizen remains silent
Subdued and silent
Fatigued and weary and silent
Trudging off to work each day to pay for the war effort
And then hurrying after work
To complete grocery shopping and other errands quickly
Before the curfew takes effect

And the years go by
And incredibly the decades go by

And the government sympathizes; it truly does
The government understands; it truly does

But remember it is not the government imposing this lifestyle
It is the terrorist
Yes this is all the terrorists’ fault
It is the terrorists’ fault when innocent citizens are executed by their own police
It is the terrorists’ fault that innocent people are kept in prison
For nights and weeks and yes we hate to admit it months on end

But what can we do,
the government says
What can we do.  We are doing all we can think of to do
And these terrorists
Why they just keep breeding and producing more terrorists
And truly we see no end in sight
Truly we don’t
This is the situation
We must accept it
For we cannot surrender
No we cannot
We cannot surrender to the terrorists
We must fight and we must keep on fighting
To hold them off at bay
Perhaps we will never be able to win this Perpetual War
But certainly we can keep the carnage down to a minimum
And you do see how successful we are at that
Why notice that last year there were only a few more terrorist attacks
Than the prior year; only a few more
If we were not working as hard as we are to protect you
Why the terrorists would have blown up your very home by now
They would have killed your children in front of your very eyes
And you know this to be true

And the citizen wearily sighs in discouragement
Yes he knows this to be true

And so the vicious cycle spirals ever downward
And downward
And downward

And it would seem as if there is no bottom

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Copyright 2005 Theresa Law
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