Well, world take notice: every third American under the age of 23 will end up spending time in prison! In fact, the US has the largest percentage of its population incarcerated in publicly and privately run prisons, mainly the poor, blacks, and browns.
More, as the elites push to cut back on social programmes, in the midst of economic hardship and high unemployment [officially pegged at 8.9 percent, unofficially at 24 percent], popular movements of protest like 'Occupy Wall Street' have tapped into the growing restlessness of the masses, resulting in the unleashing of the police to stifle protest by the use of methods used by US troops and mercenaries in Iraq, Afghanistan, and, yes, Vietnam. New laws are on the books that aim not so much at the already aimed at minorities or the poor but white middle class, young and old, who are more or less better educated and well able to articulate more clearly democratic aims and aspirations guaranteed by the Constitution and common law, which the power elite is trying hard to cripple, restrict, or simply gut. Now, protesters can and will be labelled 'terrorists', and without a by your leave will be put under lock and key without redress. Think Dickens' 'Tale of two cities' and the Bourbon kings recourse to 'lettres de cachet'.
On the other hand, protest movements like the Tea Party underwrite and reinforce the use of draconian laws to preserve, superficially, a way of life [baby boomers] that is fast crumbling before their eyes as they sink into the economic swamp which favours the plutocracy. Religion, for these people, play a role of safe harbour in a tsunami they cannot control.
The plutocracy that buy and sell politicians have succeeded partially in turning back the clock to the days of the age of Robber Barons. They live for privilege and interests that serve their class of bloodsuckers, coupon clippers, and the morally and criminally corrupt who get away with nothing more than writing a cheque and a slap on the wrist, allowing them to continue dancing around the barn fire that ultimately will consume their class...and the rest of us, alas.
Americans are unaware that the ruling class is pursuing a policy of 'gleichschlatung' [bringing into line] laws and controls that best serve the interests of Corporate American and finance capitalism. In a way, the country is going through its own version of Orwell's 'Animal Farm' and Huxley's 'Brave New World'.