The Rage of George
Rattling of Sabres
The Gods of War
In the Clouds
The Tyrant Flees
Out of Order
Doing the Patriot Act
The Little Prince
Ichor of the Gods
The Price of Peace
Dead or Alive
Across the Border
Summer in the City
Wolf and Jackal
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and The Idyossey?
restive public preoccupies John Ashcroft.
He’s read Foucault’s book Dicipline and Punish,
On Tyranny by Leo Strauss, skimmed Machiavelli.
He’s rehearsing a revival of his famous Patriot Act;
Makes plans to take it on the road,
And damn the critics, all.
The new Act needs no music, no
Costumes are required, no tickets sold,
Everyone’s admitted, this is a public act
Meant for widespread entertainment.
There are villains, heroes, defenseless women,
The dramatic arc that makes for a good production.
His Patriot Act is based on building fear, the
Most effective way to control a population.
By keeping people scared, suspicious, fearful,
Society can be rebuilt as police state apparatus.
Buttressed by technology monitoring all actions
The public sphere constricts.
Act One followed the collapse of the Twin Towers.
Written in haste, it was nonetheless approved,
The Congress feeling pressure from the public.
Stopping madmen is not possible, unless
As Sly Ashcroft plans, society is wired,
Each person micro-chipped, investigated and filed.
Books borrowed from the library: reported to the feds,
Das Kapital, books by Marx are red-flagged routinely,
Contemporary tomes are added to the list,
Books like Michael Moore’s Stupid White Men,
Caldicott’s New Nuclear Danger, and anything by Chomsky.
Better than burning books; it’s the people who get burned.
Bookstore customer records are subpoenaed,
And when the data is requested, the law
Forbids the shopkeeper from disclosing the request.
Customer transactions must be available as demanded,
No limits, no excuses, no appeals. What people read
Is now part of policing, just routine.
When it comes to real headliners, the Act's
Major star strips Bill of Rights protection.
By declaration of the Feds, (Ashcroft signs the form!)
Americans can be classified as “Enemy Combatants":
Arrested, held, names not released, no charges filed,
Residents of a legal netherworld in Guantanamo.
Enemy Combatant is not defined in law,
Which really means Sly Ashcroft can improvise the act.
The purchase of a suspect book, a charitable donation,
Defined as helping terrorists to attack our nation.
No troublesome attorneys interfere, argue points;
Hearing held at midnight, a secret sentence follows.
Act One was good, The Sly One thinks; Act Two better,
After all The Bill of Rights is not the entire Constitution.
There’s nothing in the Constitution about privacy at all.
As for human rights, they’re secondary to defense.
The need now is for policing by the state, protection!
Democracy, after all, is just the freedom to shop.
The phone on Ashcroft’s desk blinks, incoming call,
George is on the private line. He moves
Across the room, “John Ashcroft here,” he says,
Knowing George may have misdialed,
“I know it’s you, God damn it. You think I’m stupid!”
Sly Ashcoft pulls the phone away, ears ringing.
George is in a black mood, John takes a breath.
“Yes sir, Mr. President, I’m sorry, please excuse me.”
But George’s tirade goes on, anger unspent,
“When that red phone rings it’s me. You get it?
I know who I’m calling when I’m calling, asshole!
Would you rather I send someone down?”
John bides his time, he knows George.
“Yes sir,” he says again, cool, calm, patient.
“Ok,” say’s George, I forgive you this time, don’t forget it.
Now why I called, let’s see, I know there was a reason,
Ummm, yeah, let’s see I was thinking in my head…
I can’t remember. Shit! It’s all your fault!” Phone slammed.
John sighs, crosses back to his couch,
Shakes his head, mumbles something, then
Remembers that the White House is also in his Act,
All rooms bugged, machines recording all.
Loyalty’s made easier when
Backed up with a threat.
I’m going to read Orwell again, 1984, he thinks.
I love that part about using the book to recruit subversives,
Those reading it are targeted for capture, not killed
Held in Ministries of Truth, for re-education.
What a great idea, the government seducing traitors,
And Random House pays royalties, to boot!
He makes note to get that type of project started.
First, hire a shill to write the book, sell to a publisher..
Get money put behind PR, book tour, Oprah!
Bestseller window displays flash across his mind.
Write it, sell it, track it, list buyers in a database. If
Hitler'd had computers, he’d never have burned the books.