Voting is Just the Start

by J.D. Tuccille
July 12, 1996

Well, whaddya know ó Iíve found a candidate for U.S. president who is better suited for the White House than for prison or the loony bin. Yup, itís a shock, but now I can cast my vote sober and without shame. Thatís right, your scribe, cynical, embittered bastard that he is, plans to cast his much-treasured, if rarely exercised, vote for the Harry Browne/Jo Jorgensen ticket selected at the Independence Day weekend Libertarian convention. Of course, the vote by itself wonít make a damned bit of difference ó not without a concerted plan to put a little healthy fear back in the powers-that-be.

The truth is, come November, Harry Browne is unlikely to get near the Oval Office unless he goes with a tour group. Even if the heavens do crack open and a beam of heavenly light distracts the much over-hyped two-party system for long enough that Browne slips in, heíll likely be obstructed, impeded, and stopped dead by bureaucrats and legislators who have the upper hand. The folks in Washington worked long and hard to get where they are and are not about to give up their oh-so important work just because some of us donít appreciate their efforts. What are we gonna do about it anyway?

Well, rather a lot, really. First of all, the vote is important: The more support the Browne/Jorgensen ticket draws, the more apparent itíll be that some folks really donít want to spend their lives as infants in a continent-wide nursery. But we wonít get a hair freer until the authorities realize that weíre determined to be free no matter the outcome of any vote. And thatís why I threw my Monkeywrenching Contest.

Oh, all right, I threw it for yucks, too. But the thrust of the contest was to gather ideas for turning the tables just a wee bit on our tormentors. Now, the entries were a little sparse and the practicality level was a tad limited, but the winner offers up a decent proposal for turning the general friction of tax season into a roller coaster ride through Hell for a select few. And there certainly are small, simple things that we can do to remind the petty tyrants that actions are not without consequences.

Itís best to start small, with that neighbor who spends her days as a mid-level supervisor at the Department of Intolerable Abuses. Snub her. Youíd be surprised at how far a little social ostracism can go in throwing sand in the well-oiled machinery of civil society. You might also gather all the relevant personal data and send it off to an interested anti-government group, or start one yourself.

Such basic information as name, address, and phone number can be extremely helpful. You never know when that inconvenient neighbor might become a severe liability to one of your fellow citizens, and you and your friends just might feel the need to discuss the matter when you pass a pay phone. At 4am.

Of course, thereís no reason to stop there. Refuse to surrender banned weapons. Drop a dime on a known narc to an agency with overlapping jurisdiction. Ever do contract work in a government building? Hell, an air conditioning conduit is a lovely place to entomb the late family cat. And if youíre a hacker or a computer programmer, well, be still my heart. And through it all, just live the life that you want.

Yes, yes, itís petty, but itís the petty annoyances that add up to one great big headache that throbs ďGet another jobĒ in psychic Morse code. And harassment is likely more effective than running around in the desert in sweaty camouflage with an AK-47 in your hands and an FBI informant carrying the Gatorade. Harassment is also more effective than the generally doomed tax protest techniques that serve up a steady stream of well-intentioned folks to the uncertain hospitality of the corrections system.

Believe it or not, gun cops, tax collectors, safety inspectors, regulators of all stripes, and elected officials are all human beings with families and frailties. Right now, most have come to consider themselves above the common citizenry and beyond the objections of us obsolete individualists. They take comfort in the complacency of the majority of our fellows. But late-night phone calls, social friction, sabotaged equipment, and erased computer files can soon add up to a guided tour through the inferno if delivered with the clear message: ďLeave us alone.Ē Weíll even say ďplease.Ē

So go forth and do your worst. Or at least pull the lever for Browne and Jorgensen. Then, some late night on your way home ... well, I get loquacious myself around closing time.

From the Notebook

Iíve received some mail asking me to comment on the case of Patricia and Glenn Mendoza. For those of you not in the know, the Mendozas were at the Taste of Chicago food festival on July 2 when our good friend in the White House descended on the event for a choice photo-op. The good feelings were a tad tarnished when Patricia Mendoza exercised her rich vocabulary to take the president to task for the truck bombing in Saudi Arabia. Bubba and his aides decided that they had an appointment elsewhere, and as they left the Secret Service and Chicago Police grabbed Mrs. Mendoza. More words were exchanged and both Mendozas were bundled off by the police.

Now, accounts of what was actually said vary, with the Mendozas offering an insulting to the president but perfectly legal rendition, the Chicago Police a nastier version that might justify a ďdisturbing the peaceĒ citation, and the Secret Service claiming that Patricia Mendoza out-and-out threatened the president.

To my eyes, it appears that the Secret Service overreacted to a ... spicy critique that embarassed Clinton in public, and the Chicago Police jumped in with their usual peculiar enthusiasm for law enforcement. But thatís only an impression and Iím waiting for more information before I come down one way or the other.

Awright, so yeah, Iím wussing out on this one.

Anyway, make up your own mind:

Ah well, and so much for the power of argument. So back you go to Full Automatic or to my home page.

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