At what point does it become clear that we no longer inhabit America?
When we "Press 2," not "1" for English?
When a National Social Security Number syncs an electronic identity that the government hospital provided us at birth to track us till death?
When borders are no more, but the Surveillance State always knows where we are?
Ours is the age of dislocation before realization: The United States of America no longer exists. Why? How? The answer is simple, tragic and outrageous: Government officials, elected and unelected, with precious exceptions, no longer preserve, protect and defend the U.S. Constitution. Instead, they do whatever it takes to beat it, flout it and ignore it. Worse, We, the People, let them.
This can't go on. Otherwise our country-'tis-of-thee becomes a melody to be forgotten, a mirage of a tradition more storybook than real every day. Nowhere is this more the case, of course, than in Washington, D.C., where absolute unaccountability corrupts absolutely, where echoing down the cool, white marble halls of power, hollow men and women trample sovereignty and citizenship in a pathway to American betrayal. And I haven't even gotten to Congress, busy, busy "reforming" the illegal alien crisis they antiseptically refer to as "immigration," while considering passage of a $940 billion "farm bill," 80 percent of which will fund food stamps. These two laws alone can institutionalize the lawlessness of the land and make countless more Americans wards of the state.
Meanwhile, there is in Washington a faceless power-mongery that lives and works in the shadows. City by city, rural state by rural state, its mechanisms of "immigration," "refugee resettlement," and socialist government programs overwhelm a near-impotent citizenry with alien cultures, religions, languages and traditions.
There is no "melting pot" out there, nor is there even residual belief in one -- particularly not on the part of the state. Most of our new peoples will never embrace American constitutional virtues en masse to perpetuate them because their own sponsor, their own lifeline, is the mega-state that brought them here and supports them.
This goes for newcomers from the Hispano-sphere, 75 percent of whom, Pew reported in 2012, believe the U.S. government isn't big enough and want more government services. It also goes for Muslim "refugee resettlement" populations, willfully deployed by this same power-mongery to displace and erase what we may one day look back on as just another indigenous culture that Washington overlords destroyed.
Then there is the faceless power-mongery that transforms the country, ironically, in the name of "national security." How can "national security" be achievable in an America without borders? It is a post-9/11 fact that more than one million Americans, government employees and contactors, now have "top-secret" access. They monitor our electronic lives, and collect all of our telephone numbers, something we have learned from the completely unauthorized but vital disclosures of Edward Snowden. This mass monitoring, we are told repeatedly, is what it takes to prevent "another 9/11."
Never mind those pinprick jihad attacks in Boston, Arkansas or Fort Hood. In fact, never mind jihad, period. This same Surveillance State has officially eliminated jihad as a subject to be taught or studied by security agencies and the military. In this way, every one of us becomes a suspect.
"Why do you need every telephone number?" NBC's Andrea Mitchell asked Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. "Why is it such a broad vacuum cleaner approach?"
"Well, you have to start someplace," Clapper replied.
Incredibly, this deaf, dumb and blind vacuum cleaner approach is touted as effective enough to have prevented 9/11 in the first place. So stresses former CIA and NSA chief Michael Hayden, a booster of the warrantless "data mining" of the PRISM program and the mass collection of all Americans' telephone records.
The mendacity of this rationale is as appalling as the hyper-state it enables. Just ask the airline ticket taker in Boston who, constricted by "political correctness" forced herself to tell the al-Qaida hijackers to "have a nice flight" rather than investigate their strange pre-boarding behavior.
If our leaders really wanted to prevent "another 9/11," they would have long ago admitted the obvious: that the world of Islam, from its terrorists to its kings, is engaged in the latest historical cycle of jihad to extend the reach of Islamic law (sharia). They would have decided that "profiling" isn't worse than terrorism. They would have halted Islamic immigration not only to stop more jihad cells from forming but also to prevent Constitution-endangering, pro-sharia demographics from forming, too. They would have sharply curtailed travel, and particularly return travel from jihad nations such as Chechnya and Pakistan. They would have long ago blocked U.S. institutions, including colleges, media organizations and banks, from accepting millions of dollars from sharia-ruled dictatorships. They would have closed down mosques in America where jihad is preached and supported.
Above all, they would have secured our borders rather than leave them open all these post-9/11 years. Of course, that would mean re-establishing and defending those borders, both literally and figuratively.
That's one thing Washington, D.C., will never tolerate.
(Diana West's new book is "American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character" from St. Martin's Press. She blogs at dianawest.net, and she can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @diana_west_.)