By Joe Bageant
In the late 1960s I used to sit in Lafayette Park across from the White House, have spring picnics on the benches there with hippie girlfriends, reading Rimbaud, while waiting for the Robert Rauschenberg exhibit to open at the Corcoran Museum down the street. Usually there would be protesters across Pennsylvania Avenue, sometimes chained to the White House gate, a Buddhist monk or an anti-war group or mothers against whatever. Those were freer times. I know they were freer because I was there, I felt it and can remember it, as do millions of other Americans my age. So when we now look at the White House with its steel wire, concrete barricades, police dogs and snipers posted on rooftops we cannot help but ask ourselves: What the hell has happened to my country? Who imposed this national lockdown?