War is the extension of politics, and politics may also be an extension of war.
By 2022, the first shots of America’s Second Civil War were audible. This time, instead of a few cannon firing at Fort Sumter, its heralds were the popping of thousands of caps. Blacks shot whites because they were white, and Hispanics shot blacks because they were black. Whites usually still called the police to do their shooting for them, though the results seldom justified the cost of the phone call. Koreans and Jews got shot by everybody.
Right-to-lifers shot abortion doctors, who in turn relied on their needles and forceps to terminate potential future right-to-lifers. Farmers shot EPA agents, and the feds threw farmers into jails where they were homosexually raped. Once a week, somewhere in the country, the gays fire-bombed a church. Somewhere else, once a week, a bomb in a car or a briefcase took out a government office. Insurance companies would no longer sell life insurance to IRS employees.
Like real war in every place and every time, it wasn’t pretty. I hated it.
In Maine, our hope was to keep our distance, and increase it wherever we could. That was the Maine Idea, and after we had beaten the feds both on our home soil and in Vermont, most folks were enthusiastic about it.
I was pretty sure the whole political system would go down the drain sooner or later, and probably sooner. But in the mean time, we had to use it intelligently for whatever it could do for us.
The Maine Idea had attracted some folks who understood politics better than I did, and I was happy to let them take the lead. They weren’t politicians, just normal people who had done the grass-roots organizing that gave the Maine Idea its clout. An idea, even the best idea, seldom goes very far on its own. A good idea plus lots of people who will work for it leads to a different future.
I was happy to play a fly on the wall in the meetings where Bill Kraft and other grass-roots leaders put together the Maine First Party. They figured that if a political party based on the Maine Idea controlled the state legislature and the governor’s office, Maine would improve its chances of saving itself from the coming catastrophe.
They found ordinary people, good people, to run for office. They got candidates on the ballot for every office in the state. They made clear exactly what they were for: a Maine that stood as far apart from the rest of the country as it could get.
They also wanted a place where we could live the way State o’ Mainers had lived in times past. When some greasy reporter up from New York asked Bill Kraft what that meant, he replied with the words of the old Book of Common Prayer: we wanted to live a Godly, righteous, and sober life. To most people in Maine, that summed it up nicely.
The Maine First Party faced the Establishment, local and national, with its greatest nightmare: an anti-Establishment alternative the average person could vote for. And vote for it they did. In November of 2022, when all the votes were counted, the Maine First Party held every statewide office and had majorities of better than 80% in both houses of the legislature. The Republicans and the Democrats had been wiped off the state political map.
This victory at the ballot box was as important as any victory we ever won on the battlefield. It quickly led to Vermont First and New Hampshire First Parties in those states; as in Maine, they swept into power on a tidal wave of public support. The victories of the home state parties gave upper New England the chance for recovering our freedom when the time came, and laid the basis for the Northern Confederation.
In Massachusetts, the same effort failed. Too many citizens of that Commonwealth found their wealth in the common trough that was government, and they were afraid of losing their regular ration of swill. They paid for it, later.
I made certain every Christian Marine understood the relationship between war and politics, and politics and war. The actions we had fought, especially the Battle of Lake Sebasticook, made the Maine First victory possible. The victory of the Maine First Party in turn made it possible for us to fight for Maine’s freedom, and win. Each victory fed on the other. Neither was possible without the other. Neither had any meaning without the other.
Throughout history, some soldiers have argued that politics should stop when the shooting starts. What fools.