Rollin’ coal on the cracker range

Lately I’ve been noticing things about the political and cultural situation in the United States that are making me antsy to get out of Dodge. We have an extremely unstable racial situation in many neighborhoods, punctuated by, among other forms of violence, “knockout game” assaults whose racial motivation has been aggressively censored by the mainstream media. The US Army has a recruiting pool drawn increasingly from constitutionally antisocial and violent elements of the criminal underclasses; the Air Force, an officer corps aggressively colonized by batshit crazy evangelical Christian establishmentarians who are doing their level best to wage apocalyptic holy war in the Middle East. Border Patrol agents routinely open live fire across the Mexican border, often against unarmed rock-throwers, while their Mexican counterparts have been mounting armed expeditions into American territory, all of these acts that by any reasonable standard are serious diplomatic incidents, if not acts of war. A cattleman squatting on federal land in Nevada, Cliven Bundy, has successfully evaded payment of delinquent grazing fees and removal of his stock by suborning wholesale armed sedition against duly constituted federal law enforcement agencies attempting to enforce perfectly lawful court orders against him. The deep state is out of control, with the complicity or outright support of much of Congress.

But sometimes it’s the little things that bring everything else into scary focus. For me, one of these is the lumpenproletarian fascination with “rollin’ coal.” This is a fad among the shitheaded cohort of rednecks to pimp their jacked-up trucks with fuel intake modifications and aftermarket exhaust pipes to emit clouds of black diesel smoke, the better to harass the operators of smaller vehicles, including bicycles and Japanese sedans, by revving their engines when they pass by.

What scares me about this is that it’s so totally gratuitous and nihilistic. It serves no purpose but to capriciously assault innocent private citizens. It betrays a vein of ugliness running not through America’s leaders, but through its people. Some of these coal rollers are provoked by old Honda Civics, which is absolutely nuts, and the moral character of their smoke assaults on bicyclists, who are already exposed to more than their fair share of traffic dangers, is abominable. It’s scary to imagine the kind of mischief that people of this atrocious character might create in the armed forces or on behalf of a jingoistic authoritarian government.

It’s scary to imagine how many of them have already served in the armed forces.

When I consider emigrating to Canada, I don’t do so frivolously. I’ve lived in the United States my whole life. Aside from two exchange programs of about a month each, one in Germany and one in Russia, my foreign travel has been entirely touristic. I don’t presume that emigration to Canada would be all wine and roses; I’ve pored over immigration and work permitting information from Service Canada, CBSA, HRSDC, and the BC provincial authorities, and even though these documents are written quite clearly, the whole process is a lot to grok. I’m not considering emigration as some kind of adolescent fuck-you to my country. I consider threats to emigrate out of disgust with the outcome of a presidential election quite petty and gratuitous. The flip side of that coin, “America: love it or leave it,” is even worse, an expression of vile authoritarianism hostile to fundamental constitutional principles.

At the same time, I can’t be sanguine about the political and cultural stability of my country. There are just too many lessons about adjusting to life under tyrannical governments that my compatriots would do well to learn from citizens of the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc. Let’s return to the poison of “love it or leave it:” this has never been anything but an attempt by the coarse unwashed to bully dissidents into expatriation. What the Soviet Union did as a matter of official and semiofficial policy to critics of its version of communism, private American citizens and fringe demagogues catering to them in elected office try to do to critics of their brand of cryptofascism as a matter of mob jingoism. There is simply too long, deep, and diverse a history of peaceable, fully constitutional socialist engagement in US politics for broad-brush attacks on the patriotism of American socialists (broadly defined to include those who eschew the label but support the policies) to constitute anything other than a scheme by reactionary authoritarians (not, it must be made clear, conservatives) to intimidate dissidents out of representative government and civic discourse.

It gets worse. We now have not just angry fringe elements occasionally throwing shit into the political tent while the reasonable people of goodwill inside ignore it and try to go about their business. We’ve now crossed the line to from “love it or leave it” to “love it AND leave it,” as personified by Russian Federation ID bearer Snouden Edvard Dzhozef. How is Snowden’s asylum in Russia morally or functionally different from Solzhenitsyn’s exile in the United States? The ontological evil of Soviet Russia doesn’t cut it. We harbored their whistleblowers, and now they’re harboring one of ours, and it is exclusively the fault of deep state subversives and their aboveground allies in the US government that Vladimir Putin was ever put into a position to claim the moral high ground on this matter. Ed Snowden would probably be back in the United States by now if he weren’t being hounded by the Nomenklatura for exposing the treasonous domestic spying of the NSA (and, yes, building multimedia dossiers on members of Congress and Supreme Court justices is treasonous; the obvious purpose of this snooping is to be able to use blackmail to subvert the good-faith execution of their official duties), but the Department of State canceled his passport.

It might be said that in Soviet America, citizenship renounces YOU! If, ten or twenty years from now, we hear stories about a calm, dapper naturalized Russian from the Tidewater bourgeoisie being elected to the Duma and helping maintain the Union of Right Forces as a loyal opposition to the Putineers or some derivative crop of state-patriotic strongmen, Russia will have Eric Holder and Hillary Clinton to thank, among others, for illegally interfering with his attempt to take up an asylum offer in Ecuador, and for frustrating his hope of returning to a part of the United States other than the Eastern District for Virginia’s “rocket docket.” And so we add Leonie Brinkema, the hanging judge without a rope, to this list of fine subversive Americans.

One thing made clear by the history of despotic and failed states around the world is that their emigrants have the easiest time when they get out ahead of the refugee crisis. This is why wealthy Chinese are buying so much property in places like Vancouver and Palo Alto: they see some bad writing on the wall, and they want to be ready to fly out on no notice if shit hits the fan domestically, with an overseas backup plan in a stable region ready to go.

I don’t buy arguments that the desirability of the United States to foreigners negates the good sense of emigrating for Americans. Palo Alto (and for that matter, most of the Bay Area, especially the Peninsula) is a lot more stable and orderly than most of China, just as the United States as a whole is a lot more stable and orderly than many countries. Besides, the Chinese who are driving up already stratospheric housing prices are rich, and the last people who get shit on by the prevailing American zeitgeist are usually the rich, as long as they aren’t too politically eccentric. I suspect that relatively apolitical foreigners would be safer from a militarist or cryptofascist government than I would be.

It’s a guess, but all we have to go on are guesses. The collapse of republics into banana republics or juntas or theocracies rarely happens in a neat, predictable, linear fashion. I’m relieved, in fact, that the United States has remained as stable and free as it has in the nearly thirteen years since 9/11, that parts of its judiciary and legislature have remained independent and zealous instead of caving in to the Pinochet/Franco/Brezhnev-spectrum aggression and paranoia of creeps like Dick Cheney. On the other hand, I’ve long been struck by the sheer inertia of American political trends, good and bad alike, compared to those of other countries. Germany, for example, went from constitutional monarchy to postwar republic to nihilistic racist empire and back to postwar republic in barely more than a generation. (I’m excluding East Germany because its government was domineered by the Soviet Union in a way that the West German government was never domineered by the other Allies.) Stateside, we seem to somehow muddle along with whatever mixed bag we’ve got, which keeps us from plunging headlong into industrial genocide and total annihilation at the hands of foreign militaries but also slows down much-needed reforms for decades. We just can’t figure out how to drive the hardcore nasties out of our political discourse. They abide, ready to go on the offensive when political conditions permit.

If shit hits the fan here, Canada will be swamped. Mexico is too dangerous to attract many American refugees; its baseline crime rate was uncomfortably high even before the cartels went feral. If the cartel murderers are truly neutralized (and the vigilantes are apparently making some progress to this end), Mexico might reabsorb a large portion of its own diaspora, but it won’t be nearly as attractive to Americans without prior in-country community ties than Canada will be, with its much cleaner and more functional government, lower crime rate, and mostly English-speaking provinces. It’s a lot smaller than Mexico, at roughly a tenth the population of the US, and it has more restrictive immigration policies for Americans, especially retirees. Additionally, it has not only a barely secured land border with the United States, but also extensive sheltered water borders on Puget Sound in the west and from Thunder Bay to Cornwall in the east.

There is definitely the potential for a real mess at the 49th Parallel. A refugee crisis could easily exceed the ability of the Canadian authorities to competently and humanely manage it. The last straw needn’t necessarily be increased tyranny, corruption, or incompetence in the American government per se. It might be a critical mass of Americans finally realizing and confronting what their own government has already become. So far, a critical mass of Americans has remained narcotized to hell by the country’s controlled media, but their numbers are dwindling, and a much smaller critical mass is needed to destabilize a status quo than to maintain it.

All it may take to reach the tipping point is a hidden shift in public sentiment, a level of disgust and horror over the antisocial corruption of federal apparatchiks and their water-carriers in the mainstream media (including, I must make clear, a number of anchors and reporters at Fox News) so high that people who have long privately held the entire political spectrum of official Washington to be subversive and corrupt start speaking candidly about their feelings to their relatives and friends, a level of disgust and horror so high that they stop worrying about upsetting the apple cart by freely expressing dissident opinions to anyone who might listen. The tipping point may come when ordinary people start saying, “You know, grandma, I really can’t trust CNN, because I think it’s been corrupted by the government. I really think they’re being manipulated behind the scenes.”

This kind of thing can happen unexpectedly: a few months ago, I was part of a dinner group whose members had serious political disagreements with one another, but all four of us, myself last of all, admitted that we didn’t believe the official story about 9/11. As one of the other three put it, “I believe our government was involved in the attacks.” Personally, I spent over a decade unwilling to believe that US government agents would be vicious enough to execute such a massive false flag attack and unable to imagine how such a provocative and treasonous conspiracy could have been kept under wraps for even a year, but then, when I finally gave serious thought to Building 7, I realized that no credible official explanation had been given for its collapse. In other words, I realized that government agents had apparently imploded an office tower in Downtown Manhattan on live television and falsely convinced me for years that its collapse had been caused by widebody kamikaze attacks on two other buildings hours earlier. As it happens, long before I became a 9/11 truther, I had come to believe that the conclusions of the investigation into the crash of TWA Flight 800 had been falsified to protect the US Navy from liability for accidentally shooting the plane down during a missile training exercise, in large part because a Navy veteran colleague once mentioned to me with complete confidence that a Navy missile had caused the crash. Similarly, it is incontrovertibly documented that the Egyptian authorities put diplomatic pressure on the NTSB to interfere with its investigation of Egyptair Flight 990 after the NTSB released (quite sound) preliminary findings that the crash had been caused by pilot suicide.

When belief in this kind of government malfeasance spreads from the raving lunatic fringe to sober people who aren’t total cranks about these things, like my ex-Navy colleague, governments face serious crises of legitimacy. Recall that the 2011 revolution in Tunisia was sparked by a combination of Wikileaks cables describing the ruling family’s opulence and slush-funding and the self-immolation of a street vendor who had gone into suicidal despair on account of unrelenting extortion by the police. That is, chronic thievery under color of authority, not false-flag mass murder and ruinous foreign war under color of authority. I forgot: we’ve had wholesale thievery under color of authority, too, mainly to bail out thievish and mismanaged banks. My guess is that without a controlled press, Dick Cheney and his crowd would have one of two options: either an overt coup d’etat to silence dissent or criminal prosecution for treason and war crimes, with option #1 leading neatly into option #2 the moment some upstart official decides to do likewise and seize the reins of state. Door #1 leads to Nuremberg, Door #2 to Game of Thrones bloodletting for a generation or two.

I’m not kidding about this in the slightest. It’s crucial for the ruling class to propagandize the everloving shit out of the public in situations like this. Even if these are just sins of omission in which terrorists are admitted to the United States with the understanding that they have ill intent and are then not properly surveilled, they still make for absolutely explosive scandals, the kind that can (and should) bring down a government. Like the Tsarnaev brothers: of all the young Muslim men harassed and manipulated by the FBI, often in a blatantly criminal fashion, how the fuck did the Tsarnaevs not make the cut for lawful basic surveillance? These were guys who had been directly referred to the FBI by the Russian intelligence services, which are no joke. Like, hey, we’ve been watching these dudes running with some really bad actors in Chechnya, so you might want to keep an eye on them after they return to the United States. By some accounts, there’s a secret do-not-deport database of inadmissible foreigners whom CBP officers are directed to admit to the United States precisely because of their terrorist ties. It’s likely enough that the Tsarnaev brothers, especially Tamerlan, were on this list.

One has to wonder, at what point do these conspiracies blow wide open? We’ve already seen seditious elements in the US government lose control over the Snowden narrative. They swear that he’s a traitor and insinuate that he’s an operative for foreign governments, but he’s engaged the American and international public in the mass surveillance debate to an extent that Binney, Drake, et al. never achieved. He recently sat for a prime time interview with Brian Williams on NBC, a network that is as corrupted as any by official Washington. I watched this interview, and if it was designed as a hatchet job, it failed. An awful lot of Americans trust Snowden more than they trust American reporters or government officials. Official Washington has burned up a huge reserve of political capital smearing him, and the return on their expenditure has been unimpressive at best.

It’s exceedingly difficult to keep the resolution of such bizarre and inflammatory scandals peaceful. We don’t have a hell of a lot of resources at our disposal to this end, other than prayer. When I think about foreign troops pacifying American territory in the midst of some sort of military coup, refugee crisis, or civil war, I don’t do so with glee. The best-case scenario is probably that Canadian and Mexican troops work under the auspices of renegade (i.e., patriotic) Border Patrol and military units, and not vice versa. This way, law and order would be restored by foreign personnel acting under American command, rather than by Americans acting under foreign command, having deserted their own country’s government. My preference here has nothing to do with actual moral legitimacy and everything to do with appearances. The problem with foreign command staffs operating on American soil is that their presence would stir up a gigantic hornet’s nest. It’d be an intractable scrum of crazies shooting every which way. Decent people don’t even want to imagine the Balkan bloodshed that would result.

The encouraging thing is that Canada and Mexico don’t have imperial leanings. Their governments aren’t eager to be responsible for the occupation of the United States. All the noise about the Reconquista is little more than chattering-class wankery. Ordinary Mexicans are well aware that their country lost the present-day US Southwest in an American war of aggression, and this doesn’t inspire American state patriotism in their hearts, but a great many of them also had an opportunity to compare day-to-day government in the two countries. On the ground, it’s a question of whether San Diego should continue to be governed by its own city government or by Tijuana’s. Good ol’ Murica will handily win that Mexican plebiscite any day.

I’m convinced that both the Canadian and Mexican governments will want to take no more than a supporting role in quelling American unrest. If they can find sane personnel in the US government’s existing civil and military agencies, they’ll be quick to submit their own personnel to competent American command. These aren’t grandiose crackpots like so many people in our government and military. They’re pragmatists. I’d be surprised to find anyone in the Mexican government chomping at the bit to figure out who’ll liaise with SANDAG and the SDPD come the glorious reconquest of Alta California. Mexican officials have enough trouble at home, and they know it. They don’t want the bother of governing a restive population up north.

The problem is that what the Mexican and Canadian authorities want and what they need could come to be two entirely different things. This is especially true for Mexico. Every southern border state in the US has a large Mexican population. In some neighborhoods, this diaspora has tense relations with other ethnic groups, especially with blacks. Black-Latino relations have worsened significantly in Compton and South Los Angeles in recent years, for example. The prospect of another round of race riots in LA, this time targeting large numbers of Mexican citizens and their dependents, isn’t farfetched at all. Latino vigilantes have been intimidating black residents into leaving the ghettos of Compton and South LA.

If the black underclass reflects on this, its reaction will not be pleasant. In Los Angeles per se, the saving grace could be the LAPD’s newfound competence in community policing under Bill Bratton and now Charlie Beck. Daryl Gates’ ghetto policing policy was  basically to send a third, mostly white street gang in navy blue into the ghetto to start shit with the non-sworn gangbangers. (“What’s the difference between the police and the Crips? Blue Cross/Blue Shield.”) Then, when the Rodney King riots were starting around Florence and Normandie, he stayed at a fundraiser in Brentwood (!) and ordered officers on the scene to stand down. I’ve seen footage of the initial rioting, and the only obvious problem with the police response was that it was understaffed. It was limited to a handful of beat cops working without tactical gear against a violent mob in unpredictable circumstances. With the manpower available at the moment, it was a losing battle, but it looked like damn good police work. What the responding officers at Florence and Normandie needed was backup, not a stand-down order.

There have to be Mexican officials who are aware of the LAPD’s disgraceful mishandling of the Rodney King riots. There have to be officials who are disquieted by the recent history of a major municipal police department, its jurisdiction a two- t0 three-hour drive north of Tijuana, whose chickenhawk chief ordered a group of brave beat cops under his command to stand down and allow a rabble of arsonists and other vandals to trash their own neighborhood because they were unhappy with a recent criminal court verdict, with the ultimate result that the neighborhood had to be pacified by the Seventh Army. And they must be aware that this kind of trouble isn’t confined within the Los Angeles city limits. Even if Charlie Beck is a responsible and competent enough commander to avoid repeating Gates’ mistakes (and so far he is), no amount of good policing in the City of Los Angeles can keep the LA Sheriff’s Department or other rogue agencies to the east from screwing the pooch on communal violence. San Bernardino County is a flatbiller Mad Max hellscape with a sheriff’s department that tried to burn Christopher Dorner alive. If the police is the public and the public is the police, the cities of San Bernardino and Yucaipa don’t offer Sir Robert Peel’s idea of either.

There are a number of places in California, from Rancho Cordova to Hemet at the very least, that are east of Eden. These are valleys of the damned. Hemet, according to a film that I saw at an Intervarsity meeting, had a bigtime Holy Spirit revival in the late nineties or so, resulting in much holy living on the part of its Christian public and Christian police. That film was bullshit. I’ve been to Hemet and San Jacinto; if the sheriff’s deputies in San Berdoo want to go Dresden in a residential neighborhood again, at least the San Jacinto Valley offers a number of neighborhoods where firebombing the housing stock would constitute urban renewal.

Try to look at this from the perspective of a morally straight Mexican cop or soldier. Here’s, acre for acre, one of the most squalid cities in California festering under the jurisdiction of a police force whose officers are smug about being “believers.” It’s another case of bottomfeeding religious establishmentarians setting up shop in a poor, misgoverned city in order to concern-troll the locals about getting right with Jesus. This is exactly the sort of bullshit that many places in Latin America have suffered at the hands of self-righteous gringo missionaries. It gets dumped in hearty portions on the Global South (and, from time to time, on Third World parts of the United States). When I was living in San Diego a few months ago, there was a segment on the local NBC affiliate about a church group that had recently returned from a mission trip to “minister” (nah, probably “outreach” or “witness,” in either case as a verb) to sex workers in Costa Rica, under the theory that they were being grievously exploited and probably “trafficked” by virtue of their involvement in the “shocking” industry of sex tourism. Never mind that the diddling of mercenary chicks is every bit as legal in Costa Rica as is the watching of nonmercenary birds, the real kind, which, as Jesus said, don’t worry about how they’ll be fed or clothed. (I paraphrase less eloquently, and less gayly, than King James. Now that’s a chap who, to use the parlance of one of the custodians at Heathrow, liked to suck down a fag.)

The Costa Rican authorities, however, don’t particularly worry themselves about the un-Christian anxiety or sexual laxity of the local hookers relative to the local parrots. That they leave to meddlesome foreigners, who are strange birds, indeed. It’s some edgy shit. Our flakier nondenominational churches in particular have a way of sending useless bougies with useless skill sets on useless missionary trips to poor countries that frankly don’t need us around to preen about our own righteousness. These are not service trips in any meaningful or legitimate sense. Concern-trolling foreign whores in the hope that they’ll take up less lucrative trades is a foolish, condescending, and provocative interference in the functioning tourism and service sectors of developing countries. It’s rich kids who were brought up in an echo chamber going slumming in order to fuck with one of the most reliable and mutually agreeable sources of income that these poor communities have at their disposal.

Latin American cops, not being sexually repressed puritanical nutjobs, know better than to do anything of the sort. They’re sensible enough to figure that if a girl is working the streets, she probably doesn’t want a job in a garment factory right now, and that if she were interested in the religious life she’d be over at one of the convents inquiring with mother superior about the novitiate, not standing on a corner in a miniskirt and a halter top. There’s a lot that’s wrong with Latin American cops, like beating the shit out of people for no good reason and extorting indigent children for safe passage (God willing) to the US border, but second-guessing the career decisions of strangers is not one of them. These are law enforcement officers who would be in complete agreement with one of the hookers interviewed for the HBO special on the Atlantic City sex trade, even if they aren’t in agreement with her wide-rim Bono-style sunglasses: “I ain’t Captain Save-a-Ho. I can’t save a ho….Man, it ain’t easy bein’ a ho now.” It ain’t easy reproducin’ the pharmacopeia that I omitted from her comments, either. But do you think meatpacking is any easier? Factory garment work? Gringo please.

As a country, the United States easily looks like Captain Save-a-Ho to its southern neighbors. We have a political and religious mainstream that is simultaneously officious and incompetent. Our religious and political leaders are unable to attend adequately to serious domestic problems, are too arrogant and ignorant to admit to their own incompetence in basic social services, and yet are willing to butt into the affairs of perfectly competent foreign sex workers on the false premise that their decision to work in the sex trade is prima facie evidence of incompetence or coercion. This situation won’t precipitate an international showdown on its own. The worst-case scenario for American missionaries concern-trolling Latin American hookers is that probably that one of the latter will flag down a beat cop to abate the harassment: “Hey, is there any way you could get this crazy gringa out of my face? I’m trying to work, and she won’t shut up about this religious shit.”

If this were the extent of undue US interference in Latin American affairs, all we’d have to worry about is the police giving the bum’s rush to our worst religious crazies for bugging the town hookers and scaring away their customers. I get the feeling that the Tijuana police nip that kind of nonsense in the bud when (or if) it pops up in la Zona Norte. If true, this would offer yet another indication of the sort of abject dysfunction that concern-trolling missionaries need and seek out in the mission field. If Tijuana is too well policed for these buttinskis to function, wow. But it’s entirely possible.

Of course, this missionary concern-trolling is just the tip of the bullshit iceberg. It’s nowhere near the heart of the cowpie. When the Mexican authorities look north at our awful combination of moral posturing and growing haplessness in the provision of rudimentary social services, there’s no way that they like what they see. You’ll find very few people in Mexico, officials or private citizens, who appreciate being lectured about human rights by a neighboring country that has the highest incarceration rate on the face of the earth, an additional network of extraterritorial (and mostly secret) prisons, an ongoing collapse into Third World economics, and a long history of malicious interference by its military or clandestine services (if not both) everywhere from Mexico to Chile.

The bottom line about US interference in the Latin American sex trade is that it will be considered as one of a number of aggravating factors should Mexican authorities seriously consider occupying the US Southwest. It speaks to the incompetence of the American government and electorate to manage their own affairs in areas that are near Mexico and home to millions of Mexican nationals. The effective disinterest in the glorious Reconquista on the part of Mexico’s non-chattering classes is contingent upon American government in the Southwest knowing what the fuck it’s doing and having the sovereign agency and will to do it. Mexican noninterference is contingent upon at least one level of government in the border states being able and willing to maintain civil order, if need be literally at gunpoint. Tolerance for our meddlesome moralizing is a function of our ability to hold our shit together at least roughly as well as Mexico can. If all levels of government in any part of the Southwest go into a state of total meltdown, even temporarily, the Mexican authorities may get fed up enough to mount an invasion. They won’t do this so that Pancho Villa will smile down on them at the sight of their patriotism; they’ll do this in the interest of forcing peace on crazies in their backyard at a time when the US authorities aren’t up to the job of pacifying them.

What I’m describing here is nothing more than state actors asserting sovereignty over feral non-state actors in a neighboring country whose government has ceased to assert its own sovereignty. We’ve already seen a failure of sovereignty at the Bundy Ranch. Our duly constituted federal law enforcement agencies caved in the face of a private militia that was acting as an unpaid mercenary force for a cattleman who was squatting on federal land. The implications of this official weakness are serious. American cops are routinely willing to don balaclavas and use military-grade tactical assault gear to slaughter people and pets in the course of warrant service for drug offenses, and yet no agency in federal or state law enforcement–not the US Marshals, not the FBI, not the National Guard, not the Nevada Highway Patrol, not a specially deputized contingent from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police–had the wherewithal to systematically detain armed members of a private militia and remove them from an illegal paramilitary encampment on public land. That’s exactly what the “Bundy Ranch” encampment was: legally, this ranch is a fiction, a nebulous property to which Cliven Bundy has never held a title or a claim, on which a private army of gun nuts and “sovereign citizen” types had encamped for the purpose of tacitly advertising their intent to shoot federal law enforcement officers if they weren’t given their way.

Ain’t we got fun if this show goes on the road to the Rio Grande. Many of these same people are incensed about what they consider the failure of the Border Patrol to assert its sovereignty over the southern border, even though its agents are merely processing a growing number of Central American asylum seekers in accordance with existing an existing federal law specifically dictating that asylum claims by citizens of Central American countries be adjudicated more fully than claims by citizens of other countries prior to deportation. The Border Patrol agents stationed on the Rio Grande appear to be doing their best to maintain US sovereignty in spite of a serious manpower shortage; even if this shortstaffing has been contrived by headquarters officials or field commanders, as some accuse, it has clearly not corrupted the rank and file.

The impressive sense of duty on the part of rank-and-file Border Patrol officers, however, may not be enough to keep the militia yahoos away from the border. If they bring their gun show to the Rio Grande, Border Patrol officers will have to make an immediate choice: force them into submission or risk a border war. The people that the militia vigilantes are likely to piss off by firing on asylum seekers include gangs that run entire prisons in Central America (and damn near run prisons in California) and Mexican drug cartels that have no compunction about leaving a bag full of police officers’ heads on the roadside.

Punks be feelin’ lucky.

Fortune won’t smile on the United States forever. It certainly won’t if we keep allowing rogues with no sense of civic duty to usurp power because they’re intractably rapacious, like the clandestine services, intractably hateful, like the citizen militias and the coal rollers, or intractably officious, like so many of our popular churches. This is a country worth cherishing. This is a country worth defending. That’s exactly why I want to defend it against these internal enemies who want to destroy it in furtherance of their hideous parochial interests. But if all we have left are constituencies whose meaning in life comes from ruining others, from depriving them of freedom and self-determination, from blowing diesel exhaust in their faces out of nothing but nihilistic spite, I’m game to activate the escape hatch.

If we’re the land of the free and the home of the brave, we should damn well be expected to prove it.

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