A storm’s moving in here in Redstatesville. The wind doesn’t seem to know quite which direction it wants to be blowing, and there will be lighting and thunder for certain before I go to bed tonight.

I look at the news – the war in Iraq, the reviving war in Afghanistan, the potential war in Iran (if Dick Cheney gets his way), elections, White House scandals, the economic mess, the cost of oil (both in dollars and in human terms), the insanity of our Middle East policy, religious extremism (Christian as well as Islamic), the environment and global warming, our eroding civil liberties and loss of privacy, and the constant, deafening efforts of right-wing politicians and pundits and priests trying to paint scientists, liberals, artists, academics, and anyone else who objects to all this insanity as anti-American and in league with the terrorists – and it’s hard not to think something similar is going on on a national scale, building toward some serious thunder and lighting, and maybe a bit of destruction before the year is through.

It’s all got me feeling a bit twitchy.

It’s not any one thing in particular that has me so nervous. Rather, it is an aggregation of things. Stories glimpsed briefly, often in the non-mainstream news and the blogosphere, that individually would qualify one for a lifetime membership in the Tinfoil Hat Brigade if one were to make a big deal out of them, but when looked at together, begin to seem more than a little ominous, like storm clouds building.

Like this story in the Denver Post about how “hundreds of police, firefighters, paramedics and even utility workers have been trained and recently dispatched as ‘Terrorism Liaison Officers’ in Colorado and a handful of other states to hunt for ‘suspicious activity’ — and are reporting their findings into secret government databases.”

Or this one, from May 2007, about the Bush administration contracting with Halliburton to build “detention camps” within the continental United States for use in the event of a “national emergency.”

Or this presidential directive, also from May 2007, granting the president extensive, extra-constitutional authority over the operations of the government in the event of a “catastrophic emergency.”

Or this story about a plan prepared by the Pentagon for “massive airstrikes against 1,200 targets in Iran, designed to annihilate the Iranians’ military capability in three days.”

Twitch, twitch.

It’s like we’re building toward some big, possibly transformational event, and I can’t help feeling that it all comes down to who wins the presidential race in November. The candidate who promises change, or the one who promises only more of the same.

And I’m very much afraid of what may happen if we end up with the latter option.

jane doe