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La Vie de Boheme; Being a Series of Open Letters Which Will Be Generally Ignored By Most and Bemoaned by the Rest
By Richard Van Ingram, Esq., Degenerate and Sovereign Fool
1. First Epistle: Empire of the White Trash
"TERROR RAINS DRENCHIN' QUENCHIN' THA THIRST OF/ THA POWER DONS
THAT FIVE SIDED FIST-A-GON
THA ROTTEN SORE ON THA FACE OF MOTHER EARTH GETS/ BIGGER
THA TRIGGERS COLD EMPTY YA PURSE
THEY RALLY ROUND THA FAMILY
WITH POCKETS FULL OF SHELLS"
"Bulls On Parade"
Rage Against The Machine
As I write this, the Jury's getting ready to sentence Timothy "Maybe-it-was-the-missing-guy-I-was-seen-with-that-really-blew-up-the-building" McVeigh to Death or Life Without Parole ; my money's on Death. Truth be told, my desire is that the bastard die even though I am, in most cases, opposed to the Death Penalty on moral grounds. The exception I allow is in cases of "crimes against humanity" - the famous charge which the great Jurors at the Nurnburg Trials leveled at the remaining scum of the Nazi regime after World War II, the charge which has given Nazi hunters their legal ground to capture and extradite - and have executed - war criminals for 50 years now.
A Nazi is a Nazi, whether he's built his furnaces and shoved everyone he despises into them yet or not. In McVeigh's case, he by-passed making gas chambers because it requires political clout to carry that manner of thing off; one has to be in the ruling class. He by-passed the Zyklon and went for a quick, cheap mass extermination with a rental truck packed with fuel-soaked fertilizer, and whatever else he might have arranged, hooked to blasting caps and a timer. Poof. 160 plus "agents of the evil empire," including a few babies, went up as a call to arms, a signal that a "second American Revolution" is underway. McVeigh was arrested wearing a tee-shirt which bore a picture of Abe Lincoln on the front with the words "SIC SEMPER TYRANNIS!" For those who've forgotten, those were the words John Wilkes Booth screamed after he shot Mr. Lincoln. It means: "So it is ever to tyrants," the intention being that our president was a tyrant and deserved to die for opposing the will of the States to subvert the Constitution by secceeding from the Union. On the back of the boy's shirt was another quote:"The tree of liberty requires to be watered from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." I think that one's from Jefferson, who, ironically, was once a President of this "Evil Empire" McVeigh and his ilk have grown to despise.
During the sentencing phase, McVeigh's attorneys sought to show that there are hordes of folk, millions they said, who believe, like their client, that the Federal Government - read that The Constitution, The Law of the Land and its Agencies - is part of a conspiracy to deprive its citizens of their "freedom," as the "incidents" at Ruby Ridge and Waco prove. The freedom in question in both instances, of course, is freedom to stockpile weapons, automatic rifles, explosives, munitions of all sorts, whilst simultaneously fomenting the violent overthrow of the government in some hallucinatory, semi-Biblical Battle of Armageddon. The question: Is there such a right to be found in the Constitution and its Tradition? Hell no. That's why the above mentioned "incidents" occurred in the first place, not because Agents of Satan and the mythical One World Order decided to hunt down some God-fearing Patriots but because dangerous morons with guns were on the verge of causing a bloodbath.
McVeigh smirked when the lawyers got bogged down at the end of the day debating who was responsible for the deaths at Waco. He smirked because he's getting what he wants: For reasonable people to consider whether his right wing, Soldier of Fortune magazine-informed, militia and religiously reinforced mythology might not be true. Or better yet, seductive. And if he is killed, you can damn well bet he'll be a martyr because we are in a war, or the prelude to one, a civil war fought again on the question of whether law will rule our country, or the force of guns backing the whim of States, communities, militia, and gangs. It's going to be Justice versus Liberty; is liberty limited by what is right, or is liberty unlimited? Are we to live by law and tradition, as hard and demanding as these are, or are we going to shoot it out in the wild west of the Libertarians' laissez-faire Wonderland? Is the Tree of Liberty to get watered by a constant supply of blood and tears, to grow rampant and ragged, or are we to prune some of its branches that it might bear life-giving fruit for all?
"GIVE US AN INCH - WE'LL TAKE A MILE.
SATISFY OUR DEMANDS, AND WE'VE GOT TWELVE MORE.... DEMONSTRATORS ARE NEVER 'REASONABLE.' WE ALWAYS PUT OUR DEMANDS FORWARD IN SUCH AN OBNOXIOUS MANNER THAT THE POWER STRUCTURE CAN NEVER SATISFY US AND REMAIN THE POWER STRUCTURE. THEN, WE SCREAM, RIGHTEOUSLY ANGRY, WHEN OUR DEMANDS ARE NOT MET.... GOALS ARE IRRELEVANT. THE TACTICS, THE ACTIONS ARE CRITICAL.
IF WE HAD TO DECIDE BEFOREHAND WHAT OUR GOALS WOULD BE, WE'D BE ARGUING ABOUT THE FUTURE SOCIETY FOR THE NEXT 1,000 YEARS. LET'S WORRY ABOUT THAT BRIDGE WHEN WE COME TO IT. THE GOAL NOW IS TO BLOW UP THE BRIDGE JUST BEHIND US.
pg. 125, DO IT!
Jerry Rubin, circa 1970
Our right wing radicals share many characteristics in common with the left wing militants of the 60s: our gun-toting Libertarians oppose government (i.e. "the power structure") on principle; if the government moves to placate them - if the Democrats become more conservative and the Republicans increasingly metamorphose into theocrats and fascists - the radical right demands more because they aren't after reform. They want the destruction of the "power structure." The Libertarian militiamen are, flatly, closet anarchists.
Hence they have about two major rallying points: the 2nd Amendment (right to bear arms) and freedom from "The New World Order" - which, basically, is a hodge-podge concept born of a combination of the United Nations, the Beast of the Book of Revelations, and any political movement which tries to go in a direction incompatible with unbridled Capitalism (e.g. socialism, Marxist or not). These right wing groups do not, cannot offer a coherent and vaguely realistic picture of an alternative form of society which might arise after their proposed revolt; all they know is that they don't like this society and intend to tear it to pieces at the first opportunity. (The non gun-toting Libertarians are plagued with a similar problem as they're all very good at saying what they're against but piss-poor at telling us just exactly what it is they're for.)
Historically, anarchists and revolutionaries and vigilantes have a problem, namely, once their actions are successful, the day to day reality of human existence sets in. Sewer systems need repair, mail needs to go through, interstate trade and its accompanying difficulty resumes; people don't get along with each other, they lie, cheat, steal, and kill; and foreign powers constantly eyeball one's lands and question one's intentions. In short, government spontaneously erupts and ends the anarchy, the revolutionary phase, because government is inherent in the human condition. Especially now. Unfortunately, the government which comes along isn't guaranteed to be worth a damn, even if the revolutionaries in question understand the necessity of law, as our Founding Fathers did.
The point is, no matter what our right wingers believe, should they actually succeed in destroying the Federal government, another one will arise in its place, one which may not have the benefit of the Constitution and its Amendments to restrain and define it. Grasping this principle, there are factions - neo-Nazis, white separatists, the Klan, various theocratic movements - which are using the militia movement and their "patriotism" and gun law hysteria to clear a way to power, to propagandize the general public, to prepare the mass to cooperate in a power struggle which the extreme right intends to win.
Such a revolt will not go smoothly, if at all, of course, not yet anyway. So long as the military remains is controlled by Congress and loyal to the Constitution, the militia will never be able to mount more than a sporadic and futile guerrilla war punctuated by acts of terrorism which most Americans won't tolerate. McVeigh is an example of that, if the polls can be trusted, as three-quarters of Americans think he deserves to die and more think he's guilty. McVeigh, who believed himself to be the spearhead of destiny, is a mere tool of the Zeitgeist, one more dangerous idiot carried aloft on the waves of a swing to the right the West experienced in the wake of Communism's collapse. Except McVeigh wound up farther to the right than most people due, perhaps, to his suggestibility, his lack of critical faculties, and his utter faith that he could not possibly be wrong in his assumptions.
Who knows, maybe McVeigh is the beginning of trend. Maybe he is ahead of the times, a picture of our future. Ten years from now, maybe the same people who are yelling for McVeigh's head will be out blowing up one another's houses, families, and friends and justifying themselves by using the same mythology that blew up the Oklahoma Federal Building. Maybe we'll wind up with America shattered like Yugoslavia, as disintegrated as Sarajevo, all in the name of vulgarity and greed and a host of paranoid delusions enshrined as "truth."
Before that day, though, I'd like to see the smirk on Timothy McVeigh's face dissolve when they stick the death-needle in - for his crimes against humanity.
[FACTUAL NOTE: TIMOTHY MCVEIGH WAS SENTENCED TO DEATH IN FEDERAL COURT AT 5:30 P.M., FRIDAY, 13 JUNE 1997]
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