Ridin’’ The Bus With Deborah
By Doris Colmes
11/29/05 “ICH” — — When Deborah Davis hit the news, I got hit as well
– right in the pit of my stomach where terror hides, and panic lurks..
“Oh God, I mumbled, “It’s happening again”
And just exactly what had Deborah done to get this emotionally detached
old lady into such a replay of emotions left over from 1938 Nazi
Germany? It was the gut-wrenching realization that the Nazi Police State
in which I was raised has come back to roost – in the United States.
Deborah, who commutes by bus in Denver, Colorado, had been asked to
present her I.D. to a man in uniform. If she didn’t, she was told, it
would mean walking several miles to her job. So, she complied, but, it
rankled. Deborah knew that, unless she was being a danger to self or
others, behaving irrationally, or drunk and disorderly, no one had the
right to ask for her identification. As long as she was sitting quietly
in her seat, she could not be arbitrarily asked for ID. (She’d learned
that in her 8th grade Civics class, where she had also been taught about
police states, and how casually they usurped the rights of their
And so it went. For several weeks, when asked to show ID, Deborah
refused, and, when asked if she were getting off at the Denver Federal
Center she said, “no” was left in peace, completing her bus trips right
And then it happened: On September 26, 2005, when the bus reached its
stop at the Federal Center, a guard got on the bus and confronted her.
When Deborah insisted that she was under no obligation to show any ID
whatsoever, the bus was halted, a supervisor climbed on, and demanded
ID. This time, when she refused, a second cop arrived, and, when Deborah
stuck to her guns, she was suddenly arrested.
And it was not a gentle arrest. As she relates on her website
” ‘Grab her’ was the shout, and with the police wrenching her arms
behind her back, she was jerked out of her seat, handcuffed, thrown into
a police cruiser, rushed off to the police station inside the Center,
where cops had a bit of difficulty deciding with what to charge her. So
they wrote up a couple of tickets (contents unknown) took off her cuffs,
and told her that if she ever entered that Center again, she’d go to
jail.” No more bus commutes for Deborah!
Reading this, took me straight back to that living nightmare called Nazi
Germany. There, if one didn’t show ID upon command, and/or if anything
was even the slightest bit out of the ordinary on these papers, it was
“Bye-Bye,” and – if one were a Jew, a Gypsy or seen as “gay” by the
arresting officer – that was some long Goodbye, indeed
(https://jack-dalton.blogspot.com/2005/05/papierebitte.html) Death camps
were waiting, needing monthly quotas, and age was not an issue. Little
kids zoomed off to extermination just as quickly as adults, and all for
the sin of, perhaps, an inkblot on an identifying number, or the magic
word “Jew” printed on the top.
And, now, it seems, we’ve come full circle. Not only do we now have the
Patriot Act (a wonderfully modern up-date of Germany’s “Enabling Act,”
down to the last comma) but we also have a 82 billion dollar defense
bill, which (with a vote of 100 to 0) had the Real ID Act hidden inside
it. (S.1637, FSC-ETI. Passed May 11, 2004) This law allows a national
identification process in which each and every person in the U.S.A. will
be on computer. And, yes, you’d better show that ID upon command, or
you’ll wind up like Deborah. And, as time goes by, much worse:
Honorable, ethical, racially profiled, and dead.
Is this an exaggeration? Well, let’s look at the current administration
expanding the power of a little-known Pentagon Agency called the
Counterintelligence Field Activity, or CIFA, which was created three
years ago to protect military facilities from attack.. According to
Washington Post writer Walter Pincus,
) a presidential commission will expand and transform the CIFA into an
agency that has authority to investigate crimes within the USA, such as
treason, foreign or terrorist sabotage or even economic espionage. And
would allow it to label – at will – any person or activity of which it
did not approve under these headings.
The Pentagon has pushed legislation that would create an intelligence
exception to the Privacy Act, allowing the FBI and others to share
information gathered about US citizens with the Pentagon, CIA and other
agencies, as long as the data is deemed to be related to foreign
intelligence (See CIFA).
This, of course, in addition to the Patriot Act revisions which give
unlimited power and access to any and all governmental agents to anyone
or anything they choose, without warrant or even “reasonable cause”
(whatever that now means)
Alexander Solzhenitsyn once wrote: “If the least important soldier in
the German Army had chosen not to comply with orders to execute innocent
people, others would have followed his lead, and there would not have
been a Holocaust.” Those words still ring true, right along with the
actions of Mohandas Gandhi and Rosa Parks, and, today, with the action
of Deborah Davis.
Sure, lots of folks protest that they have had enough and that “someone”
needs to take action and then – at least in my experience – they say,
“Oh this is such a shame,” shrug their shoulders and start talking about
the newest TV Reality Show.
In Deborah’s case, why are there not crowds holding signs, protesting,
outside the Denver Federal Center? Could it be because of current media
censorship? Diversionary news, such as Michael Jackson and/or Scott
Peterson get major coverage – to the point of insanity – but persons
like Deborah, or, just as currently José Padilla, are shuffled off to
the side-lines. My hunch is, that although Deborah faces arraignment in
Denver on December 9, 2005, hardly anyone in that town is even aware of
what just happened. As for media censorship and how it works, that’s a
whole other article.
It takes someone with not only the courage of her/his convictions, but
also with a deep sense of urgency, to actually do something concrete
that graphically shows the rest of us what is actually happening here.
And that is what Ms. Davis has accomplished. The same steely resolve
needed for anyone to say, “I have had enough, and my answer is NO” is
reminiscent of Rosa Parks, also on a bus, a half-century ago..
I love this country. It literally saved my life at a time when I was
pretty convinced that there was nowhere left to go, except, perhaps, to
the nearest oven. And, through the years, I’ve witnessed all that is so
dear, so valuable, so much the essence of my entire existence,
dissipate. Dissipate into a haze of hidden agendas, corruption and
increasingly self-serving administrations.
Of necessity, what happened to Deborah Davis must be compared to what
happened to so many people at the start of the fascist regime in
Germany, when “compliance” was the daily hymn, and acquiescence to the
“Enabling Act” (Bona fide ancestor of our “Patriot Act”) was so
absolutely expected, that anyone who protested disappeared immediately
I thank Deborah Davis not only for being a role model, but also for
setting an example that I, for one, will unconditionally follow.
In conclusion, let us all memorize and act upon together, this poem,
written by Pastor Martin Niemöller in Nazi Germany:
First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a
Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was
not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I
was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.
Pastor Martin Niemöller