HOMELAND SECURITY WAS DESTINED TO BECOME A SECRET POLICE FORCE | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

HOMELAND SECURITY WAS DESTINED TO BECOME A SECRET POLICE FORCE

Since early July, men in military-style uniforms have waged battle against protesters in Portland, Oregon, using tear gas and nonlethal munitions; video and photographs coming out of Portland have shown scenes of urban warfare, with what looks like a regular army moving on unarmed protesters night after night.

Masha Gessen writes in the New Yorker that the creation of the DHS marked a shift in the way that Americans think and talk about the country, and about people.Four years ago, in an essay for the New York Times Magazine, the journalist James Traub traced the appearance and evolution of the word “homeland” in American language. “The rise of ‘homeland’ … tracks the rise of the national sense of vulnerability,” Traub wrote. “As we use it now, ‘homeland’ means ‘the country insofar as it is endangered.’”

Gessen notes that “homeland” is also a nativist term: it refers to the country where you were born, or else it comes with the qualifier “adopted,” which suggests that your claim to the homeland is contingent.

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