How I have gotten this far on my nerd cred without having read this book is beyond me. Thank all things good that I was not mauled for ever saying "The only Moore book I've read is Watchmen. (And no, the movie of V doesn't count. Not even close. Not after reading this. Whoa.)
V for Vendetta is hardly the first story about a society where people don't stand up for their rights, those inalienable pieces of civilization that so often become classified as "privileges" and are pushed aside for "necessity's sake." The few seeking to control the many under the guise of order and safety, and sometimes even prosperity, happens all the time in the real world, that precise one in which we live. Moore just fabricates a new one, one that might have been conceivably possible at the time he wrote it.
Though the key has changed, the melody stays the same.
As is often the case, one voice raised does little good. A lot more than no voice at all, to be sure -- but one voice can be quelched. One voice can be silenced. One voice can be talked around and over until it sounds like mindless babble. Sometimes, when the drivel is loudest, it becomes reason.
By not raising our voices all at once, all together, to speak out and say "no," V argues, we relinquish control. We hand over freedoms and our liberties hilt-first.
In the story, the oppression comes in the forms of genocide, of pervasive surveillance, of an inability to speak up without being brutally muted. But really, how is that different than the America we live in right now? (Other than the pervasive surveillance. We might not be at Moore-level England, but we have already given up far too much right to privacy, and too much of it entirely willingly.) Our government (not to be confused with our executive branch, though that branch as a whole is playing far too nice and like enormous wusses) has been deciding and is continuing to decide that the privileges of the very few, very wealthy people and the biggest of corporations are to be preserved above and beyond the most basic rights of every working-class and middle-class woman, man, and hell, even child in the United States of America.
And what do we do? We bitch and moan, we gripe and complain. But those deciding that the richest cannot pay a little more in taxes, that we have to play chicken with our country's future in order that those least harmed by the latest recession continue to thrive, have not had the fear of the public put in them.
If all people in this country voted only by their financial interests in the next election, each and every one of those bastards would be run out of office by 90% of the vote. (And for once, I'm being conservative.)
If every person in this country would let it be known that they cared about what decisions are being made on the public's behalf and that every person were willing to do something about it, I guarantee the current financial "crisis" would be a non-event. It would be past. It would never have been existent.
This isn't about Republicans or Democrats. It's not about labels. V is labeled a "terrorist" by the English government because he fights against its interests. But what V has that modern-day terrorists don't is this: he is not fighting for an ideology, but for ideals. He is not blowing up buildings to make people afraid, but to open their eyes and bring them to action. He attacks symbols not for what they represent, but for how they have been corrupted from their origins.
Do we need to blow up buildings to be heard? Hell no. But our society is not as oppressed as V's England.