When people read Sun Tzu’s saying, “He who knows himself and knows his enemy will win 100 battles,” they figure the hard part is knowing the enemy. They’re wrong. The hard part is knowing yourself.
After we had rubbed Cisneros’s nose in it, some of our guys were feeling pretty cocky. It seemed to them that Maine could go its own way then and there.
I saw it differently. The victory at Lake Sebasticook was genuinely ours. We won it by combining the unexpected, speed, and initiative at the most junior level, which is to say by fighting smart.
But the rest of it was a pure gift from God. As King Philip of Spain of Armada fame found out, God doesn’t like it when you presume He’s on your side. The next time, the other guy might get the breaks. When the other guy was the whole federal juggernaut, we’d get flattened.
It all came back to something I’d said to my fellow Christian Marines many times: we had to wait for Washington to fall of its own weight. We could drop an occasional banana peel in its path, by setting up a situation where it was likely to embarrass itself. But it was far too strong for us to take on, head on.
Vermont gave us a lesson that way. Our success in Maine had emboldened friends and fellow “racists, sexists, and homophobes” elsewhere in the country. But it had also enraged the enemies of Western culture, the cultural Marxists, who were looking for opportunities to counterattack.
In Vermont – another state with conservative people but a liberal government (God, we were stupid back then) – the governor went on the offensive. He got a law through the legislature that required every Vermont jury to “look like America,” which meant it had to be half women, 10% black, 15% Hispanic, 10% gay (the real number would have been maybe 1%, but these were political numbers), and so on.
Some old-fashioned Vermonters saw an opportunity. Calling themselves the Green Mountain Boys, they declared a “White Strike.” No white male would agree to serve on a jury, which would mean the jury could not look like America. Under the new law, that would appear to mean no jury.
The whole thing was a flop. A good number of white males joined up, but a good number wasn’t enough. The Green Mountain Boys hadn’t thought the situation through. To succeed, they needed near 100% support from white men, which they were never going to get. There were still some white male lefties, and beyond them lots more white males who didn’t want to listen to the third act of Medea every night over the dinner table from their feminist wives. The courts had to go through more white men than they otherwise would to make up a jury, but eventually they always found enough.
Our cultural enemies won a victory. Their triumph in Vermont allowed them to say their defeat in Maine was just a strange accident; the country was really still on their side.
One Friday evening in late November, 2021, the phone rang. I always hated the damn thing; Ambrose Bierce was right when he defined it, in his Devil’s Dictionary, as “an instrument almost as useless as the telescope, but unfortunately equipped with an annoying bell.” I had to set down my cigar and my book, dump the cat off my lap and walk into the cold back hall to answer it.
Finding one of the leaders of the Green Mountain Boys on the line didn’t improve my mood. “We’ve got a problem,” he began.
“You sure do,” I said. “You screwed the pooch. Didn’t help us any in the process.”
“Ayuh. Sorry about that,” he replied. “Look, we heah you folks have some sort’a organization that helps think these things through. Bunch of fo’mah Marines, so we’ah told. Any chance we could get theah help?”
“Waal, I don’t rightly know,” I said, talking Emmett myself. “Sounds to me like you want us to pull you’ah chestnuts out’a the fiah.”
“Ayuh, I guess that’s what we want, all right,” he replied.
I had to think about it a bit. I was tempted to let them sleep in their own poop. On the other hand, the Christian Marines did intend to reach out to the rest of New England, eventually. This was an opportunity to start. We needed to reverse the defeat in Vermont.
“Waal, I guess we can talk about it, anyway,” I finally said. “Get your folks togeth’ah at the Norrich Inn Friday night. I’ll be the’ah.”
By the time we met, I’d done a bit of legal work, with the help of Uncle Earl. It seems Vermont wasn’t exactly living up to its own law on this jury business. It couldn’t. The problem wasn’t the White Strike. Vermont simply didn’t have enough blacks and Hispanics to make up the required percentages on the juries. So they were just saying they tried and letting it go at that.
The Green Mountain Boys had about a dozen men at the Norwich Inn that Friday evening, the last Friday in November. After we got to know each other a bit over some supper and cider, I laid out a plan. “Any of you know a lawyer who thinks like we do but doesn’t let on?” I asked.
“Sounds like you’re talking about my neighbor,” one of the Boys replied. “Over pie and coffee in the kitchen, he’s as pissed off as the rest of us. He talks funny, of course, since he’s a lawyer. ‘I have no desire to live in an America that has been Hispanized, feminized, and sodomized,’ is the way he puts it. But he always looks over both shoulders to see who’s listening before he says it, because he figures he’d lose half his business if his clients knew where he stood.”
“It sounds as if he’s the right man for a pseudo-op.”
“What’s that?” another of the Boys asked.
“It’s where you dress your troops up in the enemy’s uniforms and have them do something embarrassing to the enemy,” I answered.
“What we need from your lawyer friend is this,” I continued. “Representing the ‘oppressed peoples of the world,’ he files a suit demanding that the State of Vermont stick to its own law. Trying to get the right percentages of gays, blacks, whatever on a jury doesn’t cut it. Each and every Vermont jury must have all the numbers right, or it can’t be empaneled. He should file the suit in such a way that it goes straight to the Vermont Supreme Court.”
“How the hell does that help us?” asked the first fellow.
“According to my Uncle Earl, who knows his judges hereabouts, the Vermont Supreme Court is as politically correct as you can get. He’s willing to bet real nutmegs to wooden ones that the court will rule in favor of such a suit. If it does, the Governor either has to repeal his law or go without any juries. In practical terms, that means repeal, which also means we win.”
Well, they bought it, and the lawyer filed suit. The Vermont Supreme Court made Uncle Earl look good. It said the law is as the law reads, and the juries have to get all the right numbers of blacks and Hispanics and gays, or they aren’t lawful.
But what happened next came as a surprise.
The governor, a fellow named Fullarbottom, felt the hollow eyes of all the “oppressed minorities” fixed upon him. He had been their great hope, a “sensitive, caring, feeling white male.” Now he had to dump them, and they’d howl like a sack full of cats.
So he went to the legislature with an ingenious proposal. Instead of repealing the requirement that Vermont juries “look like America,” Vermont would turn to the rest of America to achieve the “balance” it sought. Any American citizen could sit on a Vermont jury if his or her presence were required to make a quota. Fullarbottom concluded his message to the legislature with the words, “We are proud to welcome our oppressed black, Hispanic, and gay sisters and brothers as ‘Vermonters for a day’ to aid us in our battle to reverse two hundred years of white male oppression.”
It is in the nature of war that the enemy sometimes makes a good move. This was one. Unfortunately for Fullarbottom, like most good moves, this one had to work fast to work at all. And it couldn’t. The Vermont state constitution required that a juror be a legal resident of the state. That meant the governor needed a state constitutional amendment, which in turn required a two-thirds vote in the legislature. And he didn’t have the votes, not right off, anyway.
With the rest of the Establishment cheering him on, Fullarbottom launched a campaign to get the votes he needed. The papers, most of them, backed him with editorials; various black, Hispanic, and gay entertainers, sports figures, and other “celebrities” came to Vermont to support him; President Cisneros himself even paid a visit. In the past, this sort of thing had worked.
But it took time, and that gave our side a chance to counterattack. By 2021, Vermonters who believed in traditional American values had a good grass-roots network. They quickly organized their own campaign, one aimed both at state legislators and at the average Vermonter. They struck some deep chords, especially when they blanketed the state with posters and bumper stickers asking, “Where Will It Stop?” If out-of-staters could serve on Vermont juries, what else would they be allowed to do? Vote in town meetings? Help themselves to the Vermont treasury? Send their kids to Vermont schools, at Vermont taxpayers’ expense?
By January, 2022, it was clear Vermonters were becoming uneasy with Fullarbottom’s proposal. The legislature would meet in March. Its members were feeling the public pulse, and getting nervous.
But something was still needed to push them our way, once and for all. We needed an action average Vermonters could do that would scare politicians. The thing that scared politicians most was the danger of becoming un-politicians, of losing their office. The problem was, how could we make them feel that fear when an election wouldn’t come until the Fall?
Late in January I got an idea, so I drove over to Montpelier to see the head of the grassroots network in Vermont, Sam Shephard. On anything important, I always tried to meet people face-to-face; no fax or phone call or email was as effective in getting things done.
In typical North Country style, we met in his kitchen. “It seems to me,” I said, “that we need to appeal to your politicians’ patriotism.” That was my usual expression for grabbing somebody by the balls. “We need to let them see what happens to whoever opposes us, and we need to make Fullarbottom himself the example.”
“Good idea,” Sam replied. “How do we do it?”
“I’ve done a bit of research about your state. You don’t have a recall provision in your law, but over the years, a good many folks have said you ought to. My proposal is this: launch a petition drive to recall Fullarbottom. Explain that if you get a majority, not only will it tell the governor to back off his plan to import out-of-state ringers and put them on your juries, it will also tell the members of the legislature you want a recall law. And it will tell the members of the legislature that their own necks are in danger if they vote the wrong way on the jury issue.”
“Hmm, that’s not bad,” Sam replied. “Let me run it by my people. Still, it would have a lot more punch if we could actually toss Fullarbottom out.”
“Well, maybe we can,” I said.
“How?” Sam asked.
“Leave that to the Christian Marines,” I answered.
Sam was good to his word, and his folks bought the idea. Early in February, they announced the recall campaign, and their people got out with the petitions and started knocking on doors. The public’s mood had been swinging steadily our way, and the petition drive took off. On the 7th of March, exactly a fortnight before the legislature was due to convene, the “Campaign to Kick Fullarbottom’s Bottom” announced that more Vermont voters had said they wanted the Governor out than had voted to put him in.
At this point, Fullarbottom’s earlier sense of tactics deserted him. His emotions took over his judgment. On the battlefield, that leads bad officers to order on-line frontal assaults. In this case, it led Governor Fullarbottom to call a snap news conference.
“I was elected Governor of this state and I will stay Governor of this state as long as I want the damn job,” Fullarbottom roared. “I don’t care what these people want or what anyone wants. I spent my life working my way to this position. For thirty years, I did all the crappy jobs the Democratic Party asked me to do, squeezing money out of every store owner in Burlington, kissing the backsides of all the party bigwigs, marching in the damn Jefferson-Jackson Day parade with a blintz in one hand and a kielbasa in the other. If the people who elected me wish they hadn’t, tough. The office is mine, and I aim to keep it until I don’t enjoy it any more.”
It seemed Vermont’s politically correct governor was, in the end, merely political, and of the Fafnir school of politics – the dragon in Das Rheingold. He sought only to lie in possession.
We had the moral high ground. Now we could move to the physical level of war.
As soon as Vermont had come up on our radar screen, the Christian Marines had started recruiting. As usual, we had found allies among the cops, including the state cops. One of our state cops arranged to be the Governor’s driver.
On Thursday, March 10, 2022, Governor Frank Fullarbottom was on his way home to work on his speech to the legislature. He knew it had to be a good speech, if he were to have any chance of getting his blacks, Hispanics, and gays from out of state on Vermont juries. A very good speech. He was so absorbed in thinking about it that he did not notice when his driver took a wrong turn, down a lonely country lane. Around a bend, where the view was concealed by a clump of pine trees, the Christian Marines were waiting with a pickup truck blocking the road.
There was no violence; that would have worked against us. We had a shotgun pointed at the cop’s head, so it was obvious there was nothing he could do. We handled him just rough enough to maintain his cover. As for the governor, he was quickly wrapped up mummy-style in duct tape and tossed in the trunk of a waiting sedan.
The next morning, the Montpelier paper found a message on its email from the Green Mountain Boys (we let them take the credit). It read:
Last night Vermont again became a democracy. The will of the people, as expressed by the majority of voters in their petition to recall Governor Fullarbottom, was carried out. Mr. Fullarbottom is safe, well cared for and comfortable. He will be returned to his home the day after his term of office expires. In the meantime, he regrets to announce that he will be unable to carry out the duties of his office.
Of course, there was an enormous hue and cry from the Establishment, both local and federal. President Cisneros denounced “right-wing fanatics who dare take the law into their own hands.” (We always thought the power of the law properly belonged in the people’s hands, but of course politicians don’t see it that way.) The FBI was called in, along with ATF, federal marshals, the whole works. We expected that. We also expected no one would look for the Governor of Vermont on a Portuguese fishing boat off the Grand Banks, and no one did.
The good people of Vermont do have a sense of humor. Outsiders have trouble seeing it sometimes, but it’s there. They know a typical Emmett joke when they see one. As I drove through the state on my way back to Maine the day after Fullarbottom went on his cruise, I saw a good number of thin smiles.