The vast majority of Americans believe that our government genuinely wants to protect us from viable outside threats. If those threats turn into reality, the belief is that we will circle the wagons to afford the greatest protection of the citizenry as well as those sworn to protect us.
We're not on the edge of a slippery slope here. We're sliding down a precipice faster than you can say “Facebook killed privacy and I don't care”. We're all becoming viewed as potential terrorist suspects.
Is this because we are all potential terrorists? No, it’s because those in power understand that they have lost their legitimacy and recognize that the only way that they will be able to hold onto power it is through intimidation and fear. The 1% have never been able to earn power through just governance. The 99% always rebel eventually when the injustices and inequalities grow too great for their society to bear. And even though the elite always lose in the long run, they first resort to ratcheting up their police and military power and start treating their citizens like potential enemies.
~ from Vying for Detention: Two liberal Democratic Senators Give Us a Police State for Christmas by Dan DeWalt ~
The imagery of "circling the wagons" comes to us via movies (and later, TV) from the 30s through the mid 60s. Civilians and/or the military would be moving across the Plains and vile savages -- the indigenous people on whose territory was being encroached upon -- would descend upon the wagon train with evil intent. To protect the most vulnerable (women, children and the sick or aged), the train would be halted and the wagons would be placed in a circle.
Those civilians with guns and/or soldiers would take up positions in or underneath the wagons. As wave upon wave of savages made forays toward the circle, our brave champions would pick them off one-by-one. The savages would become so demoralized by the uncanny accuracy of the protectors -- with guns that, historically, were anything but accurate -- that they would break off the attack and our champions would be feted as heroes.
This image has stuck with far too many Americans. What they don't realize is, that in the eyes of the elites, we aren't viewed as the vulnerable to be protected inside the circle. No, they view each of us as the savages to be shot at on the outside of the circle!
As the caption of a photo that accompanies the cited article states: "The new military authorization bill makes the US a "war zone" in the "war" on terror, and makes us all potential terrorists with no constitutional rights, while further blurring any distinction between cops and soldiers."
In other words, you and I have become the savages that the "champions" are preparing to pick off one-by-one and those that survive will be so demoralized that they will allow the elites to have anything they want without uttering as much as a whimper.