‘Twould appear I’m not the only American who’s fed up with the political goings-on in our country today. Fancy that!
My most recent article, “The march of the madder’n hells,” calling for one million of us to march to both the White House and Capitol to demand, respectively, responses to and hearings on, the Downing Street Memos (DSM), has touched a bit of a nerve. Yep, it’s true, all right: People are ticked and want their country back. Go figure.
As promised, this subsequent column is designed to rally more support and pass on as much information as I have right now. More columns will follow.
The most important item first: I called for our actions to take place on September 6. WRONG! As so many kind folks have been kind enough to inform me (kindly), there are already big doings planned in D.C. by United for Peace and Justice (UPJ) and A.N.S.W.E.R. for September 24 through 26 (click here for details). (A rally/march will occur on the 24th.) I have (barely) enough humility to say I did not know this when I wrote my initial piece. I’ve not turned in my activist badge just yet, but it is now apparent I can never be appointed president since I have publicly admitted I am fallible. (That’s OK: I was planning on turning the position down anyway since I could never wear a suit and tie every day, nor lie with even greater frequency.)
Upon consideration, it makes sense to piggyback on this already-in-motion and effective organizing force and launch the madder’n hells, with our singleness of purpose, at that time. As stated in the first article, I am loathe to be hectored from the stage once again about 54 different grievances during A.N.S.W.E.R.’s rally, and I still think such a shrill, scattershot approach considerably dampens any movement’s impact from the start, but it is also highly impractical and probably divisive to expect millions of folks to show up in D.C. on two separate dates over a period of two and half weeks.
So, our tentative schedule now looks like this (subject to change, so stay tuned and/or get on the madder’n hells mailing list):
Saturday, September 24: VoteToImpeach.org, according to its website, “is mobilizing a massive impeachment contingent…” for the 9/24 march and is calling for folks to “Assemble at 12 noon at the White House” that day.
VoteToImpeach’s mission dovetails nicely with my original call for the madder’n hells to demand answers from the White House regarding the DSM. I originally suggested trying to somehow secure a White House press pass to pepper the odious Snotty Scotty McClellan with real questions about the memos, but it honestly is highly unlikely we could get even one such pass, let alone a million of them (and then, where we would we all sit once we got there: in the back with Helen Thomas?), even if we all shaved our heads, used aliases beginning with “Jeff,” offered our bodies via our own websites (though I’m sure some of us are way ahead of the game on that one, not that there’s anything wrong with that), and, most critically, had lobotomies.
To clarify, then, on the 24th, I propose that we madder’n hells first support the “impeachies” by assembling at the White House and demanding Dubya’s impeachment, and then join the UPJ/A.N.S.W.E.R. march, at which time we shout, sing, and otherwise bring as much attention as we can to the DSM. (This is NOT the march I originally called for; in fact, there won’t be a separate madder’n hells march now at all. For an explanation, see “Monday, September 26” below.)
The madder’n hells don’t have an “official” slogan, but I’ve no doubt the creative juices will flow as we devise and then display clever and memorable memo riffs on signs, banners, T-shirts, and hats. Comb through the memos and pick out your favorite passage(s) and take it from there; believe me, there’s plenty from which to choose. Again, our main purpose is to publicize the DSM and pressure Congress to conduct real hearings on them. We won’t tolerate yet one more closed-door, Cheney-holding-Dubya’s-hand-and-patting-his-ass wipewash, er, whitewash.
Here are a couple of starter slogan suggestions (they’re mine, so, please, don’t blame any readers): I propose we chant, “Intelligence and facts fixed around the policy!” (Might have to work on the cadence a bit.) Or, there’s this call-and-response:
Call: “DSM, What’s in them?”
Response: “They prove that Bush Took America in!”
Sunday, September 25: UPJ’s site calls this “an interfaith religious service and day of grassroots trainings.” I suggest we madder’n hells attend the workshops specifically geared toward how to act when we get arrested and what to do afterward. Certainly, the point is not to get collared or beaten if we can help it; the hope is for a life-changing, not life-ending, experience. On the other hand, we shan’t shirk.
Monday, September 26: Showtime. The madder’n hells swarm the Capitol and upon its steps, demand hearings on the DSM. We hang around and chant and glower and stuff till those inside head home for the day.
I originally proposed marching together to the Capitol before making our demand there. After discussing it with some of you and pondering further, I now think such a march would be a major mistake. Instead we should, all one million of us, just sort of amble on over to the Capitol on our own. See you there around, say, 10ish?
Why mosey and not march? Well, marching in one big group makes it much easier for us to be corralled and controlled, and thus, thwarted. Also, we won’t have a permit. I have no problem with marching illegally, but it would just make it that much easier for the robocops to lay into us and deny us our prize: carrying out our “demand and stand” on the Capitol steps. Why play into these bastards’ bloodying hands yet one more time? It would be a lot harder (in theory, at least) to prevent countless madder’n hells, streaming from everywhere, from flocking to the Capitol. (I bet even the whoreporate media couldn’t resist broadcasting an overhead shot of the ornate edifice suddenly appearing very small amidst an ocean of pulsating humanity.)
Stealth madder’n hellism: what could be better? Naturally, we’ll have a not-so-secret secret password, too, to help foster courage and strength and make us feel all spy-like and everything.
I said above that we stay at the Capitol until the folks inside head home for the day. What do we do after that? Well, this speaks to the real heart of the madder’n hells plan: We don’t leave D.C. after the 26th. We “visit” the Capitol every day. We become perma-tourists! (Albeit ones who tend to loudly shout slogans about the DSM and pack hearing rooms like sardines that, um, loudly shout slogans.) At night, after the Capitol is empty, we melt away for the evening. The next day, we all show up again. We continue doing this until the hearings are complete or we have all been disappeared into FEMA camps, whichever comes first.
It’s not illogical to think a million thoroughly disgusted and pissed-off people converging daily on the Capitol will effect change, and in a hurry. Even so, if nothing else, I’d consider the trip a success just to see the faces of the Repiglican congressanimals, uh, congresspersons, every time they thread their way through us, every day, several times a day. (For congress with animals, see Neil Horsley.) We also just might provide our Democratic “leaders” some much-needed anatomy-specific growth inducer; at the very least, they’ll be forced to expose their true colors.
There you have it! Three easy steps to taking our country back. What could be easier?
Some random thoughts:
If, as you approach the Capitol each day, you are hassled by the riot-squadders, might I suggest co-opting a time-honored GOP tactic: lying. Tell the cops you’re from, say, Des Moines. Polish up your best Iowa accent and wear a big camera around your neck and an “I voted (I think) for John Kerry and all I got was these lousy fascists” T-shirt. (You know how naturally feisty Iowans are.) Once you get to the Capitol and join the rest of us, dramatically rip away your Velcro disguise to reveal your DSM message, however you have chosen to display it that day.
Of course, with any plan involving lots of people, there’s scant chance it will all come off as planned; in fact, quite possibly none of it will. At least on the 26th, there will be roadblocks and rough spots every step of the way, not to mention thousands of riot cops, plenty of dogs, horses, helicopters, gas, rubber bullets (and, I can only assume, real ones), etc. It will look like -- check that, will be -- a war zone. And the head-busters will have all the scary-looking weapons, but in such matters we’ll have what matters most: the most gray matter. As the long, storied history since the inception of the madder’n hells a week or so ago has demonstrated, we are sharp, resourceful people, and deviation from the plan at anytime to achieve our objective is not only OK, it is, as has repeatedly been shown in classic literature and film, the legendary madder’n hells way.
Trying to coordinate with others has gotten off to, um, a slow start. I’ve sent e-mails to Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), UPJ, and Brad Friedman (Brad Blog) with respective requests for support, logistical information, and publicity, but, so far, none has responded. Trusty readers have taken action, too, by promoting the madder’n hells’ cause to, among others, Representatives Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), John Aravosis of AMERICAblog.com, David Lytel of left.org, and scores of friends and family members.
My e-mails to VoteToImpeach.org have bounced back. I’d be most obliged if someone connected with the “impeachies” could contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can see about combining forces. I’ve no idea whether a million or a hundred madder’n hells will show up in D.C., but whatever the number, I’d like to offer our full support for the call for Dubya’s impeachment at the White House on the 24th before we head out on the march and, two days later, our main mission.
More details will follow in the coming weeks, of course, so keep an eye out. Hell, keep both eyes out! A madder’n hell from Oregon has generously offered to put a website together, so I’ll let you know when that is up and running. Please e-mail me at email@example.com with solid leads/offers of assistance. (Please, NO spam!) Keep screaming bloody murder about the memos to your representative, senators, and any whoreporate media outlets you can think of, and also spread the word about and attend one of the national DSM Town Hall Meetings set for July 23rd.
For those of you who’ve been reading patiently, awaiting the madder’n hells’ NSSP (not-so-secret password), here ‘tis: “Howard lives.” (OK, so technically, it’s passwords.) Our group’s name, of course, is derived from the famous catchphrase introduced in the 1976 flick Network. I think every madder’n hell should rent and view this chillingly prescient movie at least once before heading to D.C. The incredibly brilliant and literate script by Paddy “godlike” Chayefsky scarily resonates even more strongly today than when the movie debuted. In it, Peter Finch plays Howard Beale, the ultimately loony but prophetic newscaster-cum-primetime-ranting-head who at one point exhorts Americans to get off their TV-anesthetized asses and shout to the world that they’re not gonna take it anymore.
“Howard lives.” Whisper, or more appropriately, mutter it when you’re on the streets, sidewalks, and steps of D.C. to determine if you are amongst ilk.
A final thought for today: As I’ve said ad nauseam, the madder’n hells’ main goal is to publicize the DSM. But there’s something much deeper involved, too: demonstrating to the whole world in the most visceral way the intense unyielding feelings of disgust endured by countless Americans, and how we are just plain fed up with being fed up. A Capitol building surrounded for days on end -- by tourists, of course -- will not be an image soon forgotten, nor a quintessential American moment to be missed.
Mark Drolette is a political/satirist commentator who lives in Sacramento, California (at least for now). Again, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Other writings of his can be accessed at www.markdrolette.com. Copyright © 2005 Mark Drolette. All rights reserved. Non-commercial use expressly allowed.
(NOTE: This will all only work, of course, if we have the numbers. I’m committed to this, but I’m not a martyr, either. Should we end up at the Capitol with just a few dozen or even a few hundred folks, then “committed” quickly takes on a whole new meaning. I’ve frankly no interest in throwing my job/planned retirement to Costa Rica overboard only to tilt at windmills nor would I expect others to similarly and senselessly sacrifice. The folks who have responded thus far have all been great and are rarin’ to go, but extensive national publicity for our cause is key; without that, we’re done for, and the madder’n hells just becomes one more idea that dies on the vine.)
Other Articles by Mark Drolette *
of the Madder’n Hells, Part I
Other Articles by Mark Drolette
of the Madder’n Hells, Part I