Feeling Fear from an Old Tax Musket: An Open Letter to the US Congress

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An Assassination Bailout Plan for the United States?       
by Christopher Ketcham    
Dear Sirs/Madams: You in the corporate execugarchy in this country have forgotten the shape and name of fear – and yes I mean you, dear congressmen, whose work has gone hand in hand with big money for too long, running amok in the sea lanes of American society, piratical, parasitic, treasure-troved, flying the black flag and raiding what the rest of us offer up in the tax season or are imbecilic enough to invest on Wall Street.
So let us, as citizens intelligent and discerning, now be raised in answer to this latest monumental predation – the treasonous Bailout of ‘08 – visited from you, the criminals in the nice suits.

A suggestion for further action comes to mind in a recent book of fiction called Tyrannicide, by Evan Keliher, which offers the improbable scenario of the Second American Revolution, which opens, sometime in the near future, with the slow, careful, systematic assassination of the members of the US Senate for their complicity in the sell-out of the old republic.
In Keliher’s fantasy,
  • “It was big business and corrupt politicians against everybody else in a scenario that grew ever worse for average citizens and ever more prosperous for the rich, and it was now going to change even if it meant shooting every last one of the larcenous pricks.”
Right. Down goes one senator after another, popped between porcine eyes with a .22 cal. bullet fired by experts. Soon, select representatives follow to the grave. The federal government freaks out with martial law and the iron fist and the boot on the throat, the citizens respond with full-scale armed revolt – a delightful vision, as sepia-tone and strange as that of a citizen musketeer on Bunker Hill fighting the injuries from a distant king.
Now if I was to imagine this kind of thing – and I’m not saying I am – as the proper justice for the most treasonous and scheming and syphilitically whored-out figures in our legislature – shoot the diseased little shits, why not? – I think the plan should certainly extend to their friends and co-conspirators on Wall Street.
Now I’m not necessarily suggesting that we organize into citizen bands to kidnap and assassinate on video, in good lighting, our various congressmen in tandem with the former heads of Lehman Bros or Goldman Sachs or Freddie Mac or AIG or any of the other current paragons of grand theft who’ve parachuted home with bags of cash. I’m not suggesting that these same gray-skinned little thieves, elected and not, be taken from their homes by hockey-mask-wearing SEAL-trained operatives, gagged with a roll of twenties, and beaten with a DC phone book.
Nor should they be waterboarded in a toilet, split at the knees, sawed off at the arms, or beheaded, or shot in a fetal wad into outer space. Nor am I suggesting a simple machine-gunning in the fields of Connecticut or on K Street or at the docks at Nantucket; nor am I suggesting that, a la Rome in the days of Empire, their families, their children, their cousins, friends, servants, wives, mistresses also be killed, their bodies dumped in the streets, their heads displayed on the spiked fences of their estates to be eaten by crows, lobbyists, tax collectors, real estate agents, and rabid dogs.
Nor am I suggesting that the citizens gather enough fertilizer and ammonia to blow up the New York Stock Exchange, along with Congress, and be done with the disease altogether.

Though all that is pretty fucking sickly-sweet to imagine, and totally psychotic, and it would signal the end of the American experiment, a descent into barbarism that would only profit the forces of a far more barbaric reaction and clampdown. What I would suggest is a kinder, gentler solution, based not on lunatic force – which after all is the purview and privilege of the brutes now running the country – but on the common sense notion that comes with being part of a rational polity: Someone has to pay for government, especially a government that routinely loots its own treasury in support of anti-capitalist, anti-American, corporate-socialist wealth transfers.
  • “Let them march all they want to,” former Secretary of State and known motherfucker Alexander Haig once said, “as long as they continue to pay their taxes.”
Or, as Thoreau put it during the Mexican War of 1846 – Thoreau who is among the fathers of American tax resistance –
  • “If a thousand men were not to pay their tax-bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood.”
The Algonquin Indians, long before there was a Constitution or Bill of Rights or the rallying cry of aggrieved colonists, did it in 1637: They refused to pay a Dutch tax on the refurbishment of the same military fort that was the arbiter and symbol of their lost autonomy. We pay for the blood and mess on the hands of this foul fortressed government, we can, like the Algonquins, stop paying for it too.
Let us, chers citoyens, not pay our tax bills this coming year. It was a mass tax revolt that started this country, and by god a tax revolt could end it. Cut off the funding that keeps the bullets pointed, that fills the coffers for Wall Street welfare; watch you, the bastards in Congress, throw a fit like a bitch in heat.

How would this tax revolt work? I have no idea. But short of tyrannicide, the heads on sticks and the dogs chewing innards – and it could happen here, it’s happened pretty much everywhere republics collapse into the darkness of fallen empire – we need an answer to the corruption of our system that is mature enough to form something new and better and more humane. Right now, all we are seeing is organized chaos – most recently and obscenely in the Big Bailout – that sails as the freebooter under the black flag of the US government.

Christopher Ketcham writes for GQ, Harper’s and many other venues. You can reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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