Perhaps the Fight is On AgainI just sent off the packet to Cheif Lennen and I feel loads better. The whole process has made me feel so alienated, alone, and paranoid and I'm glad it's done with. Soon I can think about other things, but Not. Quite. Yet.
I wonder who else sees it the way I do - that the abuse of police power is a microcosm of the macrocosm of the abuse of power in general. I had a phone call about it this morning wherein I was able to articulate it all fairly well. An abusive power - like, say, the Bush Administration - sends a message to every wannabe fascist toting a gun that it's "okay" to bend the rules to serve out your own personal vendettas.
If that were the extent of it, it might be fine and dandy. But given the supposed agenda I came back with to New Mexico with, what it really means is that stringency at the top of the line means more abuse all the way down the food chain, strangling initiatives of all kinds that might shake up the power structure. This results in a landscape littered with "alternative press" variants that do little more than comment on arts&entertainment offerings, and perhaps a handful of "deep thinkers" that earn their fame and bread issuing pronoia-style pronouncements on "the future" - rather than any meaningful analysis of the true state of the body politic.
And why not? It's what people pay for...
When I came back to New Mexico, I carried with me notes, sketches and vague outlines for a book that might someday be called "Crazy in America." It would have been about my decade-long journey through the American Psychiatric system and the US Health Care System, which would culminate in my acquisition of what IU call "the SSI grant" (welfare for crazies.)
Repeated arrests - each of them trivial yet inextricably linked to my diagnoses - in a New Mexico where mental illness isn't even *seen* (much less recgonized) has without a doubt created within me a level of deep paranoia that I am only beginning to recognize, an antagonism willfully perpetuated by an atagonistic state in order, one assumes, to lead the "criminal" towards more crime.
My moral compass is a good deal stronger than that, however. Since I left the city of Santa Fe (officially known as "the Adobe Disneyland,") I haven't been arrested once. I *do* wonder - is that a coincidence?
If I could only describe to you the multiple levels of PURE, DEEP FEAR that I experienced at the hands of Officer Gardner Finney and the Santa Fe Police Department (not to mention the county jail, but that's a whole other issue) then you might actually believe me when I tell you that such tyranny went a long way towards pushing to find Lighter Topics to pursue. Make no mistake - writing about the systemic abuse of the sick at the hands of a system that would rather *create* inmates than *treat* patients** fosters levels of deep fear within me that can make any distraction seem Much More Interesting. Repeatedly seeing other people (who really ought to know better) fail to see the connection between diagnostic states and arrests leaves me so disheartened, not just for me but for the millions of patients who are far less articulate than I am.
( ** and this is not hyperbole - most street crazies know that a handy way for a diagnoses or medication check is simply to get arrested and thrown in jail for awhile)
The best upshot of this latest incident with Gardner Finney may be that it is precisely the swift kick in the ass I needed to remind me I can't just play pretend and abandon my original pursuit. The story of the metally ill and their treatment in the United States is hardly a dull plodding tale of abuses without hope. It is a story rich in metaphor and meaning, rich with variable perceptive states both bleak and kaledioscopic and everywhere in between. And like psychedelic research and the Human Potential Movement which harbored it, understanding a bit more about it and the system that fails to deal with it properly may lead to new frontiers of research, not just for patient's immediate health needs but also towards the dismantling of power structures designed to keep such revelations in check.
It is no secret that I am an enemy of the state of statist power corruption. I had hoped that by keeping my head low and my body out of sight that the agents of the state would simply leave me alone. But the arrogance of the system is such that I need only show myself in public for the corruption to continue. You might have once counted on my silence - but not anymore. I stand marked no matter what I do - perhaps I can internalize that and use it to help me fight.
I make no promises - but it's on my list again.
Beverly Lennen, SFPD, manic-depressive, Gardner Finney, fascist, Santa Fe