They Come Wearing Lanyards



In the early days, they don’t bring the black maria to your house and carry you off in the night.


They don’t enter the house by force and carry you out in front of your family to never be seen again—off to some prison or work site or re-education center where you are hollowed into nothingness, you become a shovel or a gun or vote—no, in the early days they come with a smile wearing a lanyard around their neck.


They knock gently until you come to the door, and when you do they say they’re here from some agency, perhaps the police or perhaps a health group, and are responding to concern about something you might have said. But that’s not entirely true. They’re more concerned with what you think and HOW you think more than what you said, because people say all sorts f things, but the reason they’ve come to pay you a visit – and don’t worry, they aren’t going to harm you, this is only a conversation – is because whatever you said revealed what you believe is true: that the individual has the ability to think for himself, act for himself, make choices for himself, and believe what he wants to believe, that the government is not his god.


And you tell them that no one granted you freedom, that it cannot be taken away, that you were born with the spark of God living inside of you and no petty tyrant will snuff it out, no matter how hard he tries.


This is the concern, they say, and this is why they have come to check on you.


It’s nothing official, just a check-up. They could have even brought a plate of cookies, but they forgot them back at the station, kindly take one, kindly shut the hell up, kindly go in your house and never come out, kindly cover your face forever, kindly nod your head no matter the logical discrepancies in the national edicts, kindly become nothing at all.


Kindly die.


You mentioned on social media that you might go to a protest, but that would mean you believe in the intention of the protest itself. That’s why they’re here. You aren’t quite on board with the agenda that is moving forward at rapid speed. You have the makings of a defector, and the woman in a pantsuit with the dead eyes and empty smile and the badge pinned to her chest is programmed to see you as an actual threat to the safety of the world.


She does not see you as you see yourself. She no longer can.


And the smiling people on your porch hand you a card, a number to call for therapy and counseling to help set your mind right, to get you back on track, to help you to love staying home all day, to love the sight of police beating protestors in the streets, to love life lived in a mask more than the old-fashioned and dangerous way of living without a mask. The therapist will help you become less of you, to blame yourself for seeing what is true and what is evil.