09/09/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Living in a Police State Is Okay

I know, because I live in one, and I'm doing fine. I haven't been arrested for jaywalking, littering, loitering, begging, or sleeping under a bridge. I haven't been arrested for sleeping in a homeless shelter when there's an outstanding warrant against me for sleeping on a suburban sidewalk. I haven't been arrested for being someone who looks to a reasonable person like I belong on public assistance. I haven't been arrested for eating food someone gave me in a park. I haven't been arrested for not being white, wearing a wrong-color T-shirt in a wrong-color neighborhood, or looking overly anxious in an airport. I haven't been arrested for being late for school or without ID in public housing. And those are just some of the things I haven't been arrested for. The reason I haven't been arrested is not because I'm white and haven't committed any of these crimes -- let's face it, I've jaywalked, littered, and loitered, which makes me a triple threat -- it's because I'm not poor. If I were, living in my police state would not be okay, as Barbara Ehrenreich points out in her must-read NY Times op-ed on "the viciousness of the official animus toward the indigent."

Postscript: Talk about a police state ... a friend writes from Germany: "Did you know that the German govt is now authorized (by a Parliament fulla worthless flakes) to invade everybody's pc or laptop with a spy program -- called, don't laugh, 'Trojan horse' -- and make a record of every key touched, and store the information for six months, etc. Of course, Hitler waived the idea of opening everybody's mail and used a shortcut: Dangle a few krauts from the nearest tree with a cardboard sign around their necks that says: I am the evilest pig in town / With Jews I have been screwing around. Selah. In other words, we have accomplished the unthinkable -- we have sunk below herr Hitler ... and M'sieu Napoleon, and Henry VIII ... and Nero."