We seem to have taken a ponderously grim turn here. We started with a whimsical riff on the new Star Wars movie and now we’re suddenly knee deep in Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem. But, alas, that important book is unavoidably pertinent these days — and not because there’s a new Star Wars movie coming out.
It’s pertinent because soon — and more explicitly than ever before in my lifetime — we may ourselves be asked to comply with and cooperate in the construction of the machinery of death. We may be asked to participate in that machinery, to fortify and amplify it, in ways we may have (mostly) avoided before now. Registrations, deportations, disenfranchisement, torture, war crimes, the denial of medical care, generational theft on a massive scale — these things are not hypothetical possibilities, but campaign promises now being planned and begun.
Our participation in this machinery of death is expected. It is being requested. And it may come to be compelled — whether through threat of punishment or economic necessity. The machine will need us to help build it. That means we have the opportunity and the obligation — and the power — to prevent it from being built.