Write a letter to congress…and other time-wasting activities

In Lifestyle on February 1, 2013 at 4:02 pm

My friends know me well. Every birthday brings another gift-wrapped book containing lists of little known facts or useless information. My latest birthday treasure was a copy of Ben Schott’s “Schott’s Sporting, Gaming, & Idling Miscellany”. The opening pages offer this advice from Jerome K. Jerome (1859-1927) to idlers everywhere: “It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do.” I, therefore, offer Phyne Dyners my perception of the value of writing to congress.


Every day, I am deluged with exhortations from past and present friends who still, despite the facts in front of them and of which they bitch and moan daily, believe that congress works for them.

The exhortations come from nice folk heeding the admonitions of the National Rifle Association, Gun Owners of America, and Jews for the Preservation of Firearm Ownership. “Write to your congressman today. Copies of suggested letters are attached to this email for your use.”

There is a scene in Steven Spielberg’s 1994 Holocaust tribute, Shindler’s List, where Oskar Schindler (played by Liam Neeson) is cajoled by Amon Goeth (played by Ralph Finnes) as Schindler drags water hoses with which to give water to the Jews locked in sweltering cattle cars, destined to be gassed to death immediately upon their arrival at Auschwitz:

“Oh, Oskar! Now that is really cruel. You’re giving them hope.”

People who write letters to congress should pay heed to that scene. If you still believe writing your representatives has any value, I will tell you that, if you ask them nicely, hookers on Detroit’s east side will give you a discount on their services. I say that at the risk of putting congress and whores on the same moral level. Nothing of the sort was intended and if readers misread my intent, I offer my apologies to the girls of East Detroit.

Colonoscopies, cockroaches, and lice are more popular with Americans than is the current infestation under the D.C. Puzzle Dome. By best estimates, congress is popular with 8 to 18 percent of us. Their ineptitude is legendary. Their corruptness is documented. But, still, some of you cling to hope.

“Ask your representative…”

No. I shall not.

I do not ask that my rights, especially enumerated ones, be respected by criminals who differ only from muggers, rapists, and child-molesters by the fact they pursue their crimes subsequent to an ‘election’.

If the system worked (it stopped working decades ago), citizens would simply tell their rampaging representatives “Pass whatever you like. I won’t obey.”

I’ve opened a lot of files purported to ‘send a message’ to Washington’s infestation. Not one of them said, “I will not obey.” Virtually all of them are written in lobbyist weasel-speak. Not one of them has had a resolute and unshakable tone.

“Senator, I urge you to remember that hunting, competitive shooting, and gun collecting have been an American tradition and I hope you’ll vote ‘no’ on any legislation that would restrict Americans from those hobbies. Thank you. Your obedient servant…”

Fuck me raw.

On 5 March, we will mark the 243rd anniversary of the Boston Massacre. For those of you who were Ritalin riddled or Adderall addled during your mandatory thirteen years of indoc training, I’ll summarize the event:

On the evening of 5 March, a British soldier (Pvt. Hugh White) was standing guard outside of the Custom House on King Street. Edward Garrick, a young wigmaker’s apprentice, called out to the officer of the guard, John Goldfinch, that his bill was overdue. Private White told Garrick to remember his station and to be more polite to Officers of the Crown. As closing punctuation for his advice to Garrick, White struck Garrick in the head with his musket. Garrick and White exchanged further insults and a crowd gathered. The crowd grew in number and became more taunting and belligerent. They began to challenge White, who had cried out for assistance, to fire on them. The crowd began pelting the responding soldiers with snowballs. A hurled object struck one Pvt. Montgomery, knocking him down and knocking away his musket. The crowd began taunting Montgomery to fire. Montgomery complied by firing a shot. Montgomery’s fellow soldiers, arranged in a semi-circle facing the mob fired a ragged volley into the crowd. Ultimately, six American colonists perished and the incident became a pivotal rallying point for the colonial rebellion.

For those of you insisting me to write useless letters to congress, let’s look at today’s environment for similarities to Boston in 1770.

Go to any nearby federal building, state courthouse, or airport and raise your middle finger in the direction of the goons manning the ‘security checkpoint’. For extra fun, cry out something political like, “Death to those who would confiscate privately owned firearms!” or “Occupy Wall Street!”.

At this stage, it’s fairly certain that one of the goons will dismount his post and order you to shut up and behave. The goon will then detail what proper behavior is expected of you as a Commoner and how he is the sole judge of your conduct. He will detail that, although your cries may be political in nature, he will decide if you may make them. After all, you are not likely to be within a government-approved ‘free speech zone’.

Now, up the ante a bit. Have your friends come to your emotional aid by shouting down the dismounted goon. Hurl a few insults. “Bad cop! No doughnut for you!”

The goon will whisper something about ‘backup’ into the microphone on his armored shoulder and, within moments (faster than if you called for 911 assistance), he will be emboldened by the presence of more uniformed accomplices. Now safe in numbers, the uniformed heroes will pinion you on the ground and in punctuation for their barked orders for you to “stop resisting” they will pummel you senseless.

[Even if one of the goons is a Loaf Beater and a ‘sworn guardian of three-for-a-dollar day-old convenience store wieners’ you must remind yourself that he has been perfectly content to enforce every edict handed to him thus far. He is there to enforce the law (no matter what law), protect himself, and protect his fellow goons. And, there, the list of his duties has ended every day thus far. You expect him to stand down now?]

Let’s suppose some of your merry band of dissidents decides for a historic reenactment and they begin pelting the response team with gently packed snowballs. What then?

Tasers? Mace? Batons? Flash-bang? Dogs? (The female enforcers will find themselves getting moist.)

A crowd begins to gather in your support. (I know. We’re just mentally masturbating at this point.)

A bottle flies through the air, striking one of the goons. “An assault on one of the king’s men is an assault on the king himself.”

Someone in the crowd ignites a package of firecrackers. In dutiful protection of that most vaunted of police mental health needs, “officer safety”, the fallen and humiliated officer fires into the crowd. Fellow officers identify ‘threats’ and use deadly force to neutralize them.

The uninvolved guy walking home from band practice with his uncased oboe becomes a ‘terrorist’ carrying ‘what could have been an RPG’. Even though the goons are paid (and allegedly highly trained) to ‘know’ what is (or is not) a threat, they will defend their lethal response with ‘we never know’. Later, a perfumed and coifed member of the newscaster class will cluck and shake her head in solemn agreement.

The crowd flees in panic. The goons gather around their leadership to get their stories straight.

So, how is my scenario any different than the one that transpired in March of 1770? Being angry at identical treatment today is ‘premature’ and ‘unhelpful’?

Let’s do one more experiment. This one can be accomplished without any risk of personal injury or deprivation of freedom of movement or loss of financial resources.

Write to your representative(s) at the local, state, or federal level and object to being treated like a criminal if you were to act out in defiance as in our scenario or as any number of peaceful protesters have done in recent years.

What will be their response?

If you suppose they care about your Second Amendment rights, they should probably care with equal enthusiasm for your right to assemble and your right to speak your grievances with the government wherever and whenever you choose. That means you’ll get a return letter thanking you for your dutiful exercise of your rights and an encouraging statement or two saying they’ll tell their enforcers to be respectful and restrained in all such encounters.

Tell yourself you won’t get a letter, chiding you to behave in the presence of an enforcer, to be respectful of your elected betters, and reminding you how ‘order’ is necessary for our democracy to work. (Never mind that it quit working decades ago.)

Congress is on your side. They listen. They care about your rights. That’s why congress is held in such high esteem by Americans.

It’s a cruel thing, false hope.


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