Monday, June 27, 2011

Where is my Continental Congress?

We are not voting our way out of this.  I think we can all agree that the TSA is an abomination and should be destroyed, root and stem, but how to do it?  Congress isn't going to do it, they created it.  The President isn't going to do it because it is an expansion of Executive Power.  The Courts aren't going to do it, because the judges owe their position to the President and the Congress and have their own political hobby horses to focus on.

So, here is a thought experiment:  

So what about shooting the bastards? you might ask.  I wouldn't cry if people started taking pot shots at every TSA employee they see, and while I'd feel bad about the collateral damage of the inevitable innocents ending up dead those sorts of things happen during a war.  That's one of the reasons wars suck so much.  But going to war means being nice and talking about things won't work, and the alternative to not going to war is intolerable.

And war it would be.  You're not going to attack one branch of government power and expect the rest to just sit idly by.  They'll use your attack to justify more breaches of the Constitution, more limits on inalienable rights.  And they'll use people and organizations you like to come after you.

If you start killing TSA agents, you better be willing to kill people like LawDog and MattG right along with them, because those are the types of guys who are going to come to arrest you for murder.  That's their job, and whether your action fits the philosophical definitions of murder or not, it sure as hell fits the legal one.  As much as I respect those two fine gentlemen I don't think they'd be willing to let gunning down the TSA slide, especially when the inevitable innocents get hurt along with the real targets.

Assuming you're willing to go that far, and that you are successful enough to still be around next you'll be contending with the military.  To them you'll be just more terrorist to kill, Oath Keepers be damned.  The vast majority will follow orders and keep collecting their pay checks, even if they are sympathetic.  Kevin is right when he says they'll follow orders if they think not doing so will lead to chaos, and chaos is what the vast majority of revolutions lead to (at least until the strongman takes control).

Maybe you'll get lucky.  Maybe you'll even get enough military breakaways to make a real nasty fight of it.  Probably not enough for outright victory, but enough to secure some territory.

Then what?  Who is in charge when the fighting stops, or a stalemate is reached?  The most successful general?  Or will it be a bunch of factions fighting each other for control?

See, that's where I always come up short in this particular thought experiment.  I'm optimistic enough to see that making a fight of it might just have a slim chance of taking control away from the ones currently in charge, but who the hell does that control get turned over to, assuming the one/s who led the fight is willing to give it back and give up being a dictator?

That ends the though experiment.

When colonial leaders realized they were being individually ignored by the Parliament and King in England they decided to send delegates to a Continental Congress.  Not everyone participated.  Not everyone agreed about what needed to be down or how it should be done.  Most wanted to remain citizens of the Crown, but they also wanted to be treated 'fairly.'

There was a unified government of sorts whose decisions were respected in place before any fighting actually started.  We don't have that now.  Our state governments are so tied to the federal government as to make them almost indistinguishable.  Even at the local level the people in charge are nothing but petty tyrants seeking to expand their power and who guard their realms with the viciousness that we'd like to pretend we'd guard our rights with if they'd just step over THIS line.

With the rise of technology we've lost one of the key advantages the colonies had, time and distance.  While we can communicate with each other seemingly instantaneously we do so with the full knowledge that nothing we say is hidden, or at least kept from those we seek to do away with, long enough for us to organize, set plans, and start to act.

While we all agree that we have a problem, we've none of us set up any kind of major organization, completely independent of the current government to voice our concerns and seek a redress, or make the decision to tell us to fight when those redresses are not forthcoming.

Some people like to claim that the Tea Party is such an organization.  It's not.  If it ever was it was quickly undermined by the Republican Party.  "Hey, you've got some great ideas.  That's exactly what the Republican Party should be, what its principles demand it MUST be.  You should totally take all this money from us and run as a Republican, then you can fix it from the inside.  Hey, you got elected!  Great!  Now vote for this bill.  I know you don't really like it, but it cuts 1/1000th of a percent of the money we'll have to borrow, and that's a start!  Besides, after all that money we spent on getting you elected you owe us this one little favor.  We're all Republicans after all, we're in this together!"

Yeah, fuck the Tea Party.  Sell outs one and all.  You can't fix the system.  It is, like Frodo's Ring, all together evil.  Yes, evil.  And it should be completely and totally destroyed, even the parts of it you like.

So where is my Continental Congress?  Why aren't people like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann starting an independent organization to petition the federal government?  Why do they keep seeking power within it?  Why aren't they calling for delegates for an independent Congress elected by organization members from within each state?  Hell, it could all be done online.  Charge $20 for a membership, and $200 to vote in the delegate elections.  Let them actually petition the US government, and not become members of it.  Give them a mandate, with a firm deadline, to tell us whether such a petition will have any real success (it won't).  And when/if such petition fails have the mandate also instruct the delegates to seek alternative measure of redress.  There will be the one we all know about but don't mention, and then there are other ones like petitioning the UN, EU, etc. that no one takes seriously but that are all perfectly legal and legitimate under US law.

Hell, that last paragraph seems like a good damned idea without the politicians involved.  Anyone want to try it?  I don't mean starting a revolution, but starting a multi-state organization independent of all political parties seeking a redress of grievances, starting with getting rid of the TSA?    


Bob said...

Some of us are starting to think along the same lines:

The problem as I see it is that we have to try and work within the system because so many of us see no alternative, and at the same time, no charismatic leader such as Sam Adams (or the fictional Adam Selene) has come along to rally us. Such a leader can work within the system at this point; TSA can still be reined in. All it takes is a leader willing to do it (and face the inevitable ACLU lawsuits when profiling of Muslims is begun).

Failing all that, the eternal question rises: who will bell the cat? The Nathan Hale gene is sadly lacking in these latter days.

RobertM said...

I have never seen, either through historical evidence or from my own short existence that anyone can become part of the system without being corrupted by it.

And I disagree about the charismatic leader. We've seen plenty of them, but they are quickly destroyed by the media in order to perpetuate the system, or they become co-opted by the very system they seek to change.