By Charlie Johnston
I am one-eighth American Indian. My great-grandfather (yes, the one who handled snakes) was full-blooded from a Georgia tribe. Most say Creek, though a minority opinion is Cherokee. He looked every bit of it. He claimed once, to a friend, that he fled his reservation and came to western Alabama because he had killed his father for molesting his sister. Could be, but I know of several contradictory tales he told on his murky origin. Understandable, if he was trying not to let anything concrete get back to tribal authorities about his location. He could not hide his iconic Indian features, though.
I never lived as an Indian or pursued anything about that heritage other than general study of some of the tribal cultures. Get past the romanticization and you discover that the variety of tribes was almost as varied as the variety of nations in the world. Some exhibited startlingly noble characteristics, others were senselessly aggressive, starting wars of extermination against other tribes just for the heck of it. Before the Trail of Tears, the Cherokees owned a lot of slaves in Georgia. If the “woke” crowd knew this actual history, I reckon it would trigger some serious cognitive dissonance. Every ethnicity and culture on earth has had its turn in the box as both oppressor and oppressed. And every ethnicity on earth has had things to be proud of and things to be ashamed of. It is the human condition.
My Indian heritage has only had an impact on me in three ways I can think of. When I was a kid and we would play “Cowboys and Indians,” I was more often leader of the Indians than of the Cowboys. I am absurdly pleased on those occasions that a stranger has looked closely at my facial structure and asked if I had some American Indian in my ethnic heritage. I love that so many sports teams use Indian imagery and names to signify their prowess and courage. Now, the woke mob has decided that never again shall a sports team use Indian imagery as a symbol of courage, passion and prowess. And this is supposed to be done in the name of ending racism?! I doubt I will be watching the NFL again, but if I did, I would certainly not be rooting for the Washington Pajama Boys (formerly Redskins) – and I certainly will not think any name change an advance in human tolerance and dignity.
Back when I was doing radio, I was speaking of my Indian heritage one day when a caller corrected me: “You mean ‘native American,’” he said. I angrily retorted that, “I am a native American because I was born here. I am part Indian in my ethnicity – and I’ll thank you not to tell me what to call myself, paleface.”
The inset photo from my radio days was sent to me by the photographer, Mary Carmody, a month ago when she discovered it while doing what she called some “Covid cleaning.” Carmody was an award-winning photographer for Copley Press – and the most gifted spot news photographer I have ever known. (Spot news photos are candid shots of action
unfolding as news happens). She had an incredible instinct for getting a shot at just the right moment to tell the tale. We were great friends back in the day. Of course, in those days, I was hot, young and happening. But I’m not young anymore.
Like the coyote in the roadrunner cartoons, a lot of state and municipal officials who thought they were going to get Trump – their prey – with the draconian lockdowns, are finding their clever machinations blowing up in their own faces.
I try to think of vivid ways to illustrate to people the vast difference between wealth and currency. Here is another.
Imagine two large sets of people are sent to establish colonies on Mars. The first group is given $50 billion in currency, but no supplies. The second is sent with no currency but an abundance of supplies – food, water, tools and raw materials and machinery. Which will thrive and which will quickly perish?
Currency has next to no intrinsic value. If you are stranded on a desert island with $50 million and no supplies, you are a pauper – while the guy stranded with three months of supplies to start out is rich. All wealth comes in the form of goods and services. Currency is just a means devised after a society is organized for facilitating the ease of exchange and distribution of the wealth that already exists.
This is why tyrants so quickly reduce their nations to beggary. They strangle the production of wealth in its cradle (because they are control freaks – and cannot control individual initiative) while expanding the printing of currency – which they think is wealth. They are so economically illiterate they might as well have been born on Mars. Wealth is neither created nor owned by governments. Like fields of corn and other crops, it is cultivated by millions of real people exercising their own industry and initiative, one at a time. Of course, government always lines up to take its cut, but once government deludes itself that it is creator of this wealth, a society is already on the road to ruin. Maybe half the Republicans understand this (I am being VERY generous here) and none of the Democrats I listen to. We think we have created some economic problems because of the shutdowns, but that is not the case. We have blown the engine – and have not even begun to see the consequences yet.
I suppose that, in some ways, the manufactured panic over this hamster of a crisis called Covid is a good thing. It helps prepare us for the real dragon of a crisis that, even now, is snorting and belching its way towards us.
I have mentioned before that I am not terribly fond of the philosopher, Plato. In many ways, I think he was the first socialist. However…
Book 8 of his “Republic” is an assessment of the sickness that always overtakes and ultimately kills democracies. It is creepy to read it and realize he couldn’t have written it with more accuracy if he had been here to watch American society unraveling. Don’t be intimidated: it is only about 35 pages. If you have got a copy of his “Republic,” pull it down and refresh yourself.
The ancients considered democracy the most unstable form of government devised. It rarely lasted more than a decade or two before descending into chaos and, ultimately, tyranny. Ever since the late 70’s, I have wondered if the achievement of the American founders was not to craft a form of democracy that works, but to craft a form in which the onset of the fatal symptoms are long delayed. Either way, it is an amazing achievement.
The essence of a successful democracy is not that people vote, but that basic rights (which precede the existence of the state) are protected, no matter what the people vote. Otherwise, democracy is nothing more than two foxes and a rabbit voting on what to have for dinner. It was during the Woodrow Wilson administration in the early years of the last century that we started systematically dismantling the safeguards of stability that the founders so carefully erected around our little Republic. Now we are reaping what we so gleefully and ignorantly have sown.
I know that the TNRS Leaders Forum, to which I have directed volunteers, is not particularly user-friendly. (Ha! Sometimes I can be a master of understatement.) I am working with a company for a method of communicating by mass emails (to which you can respond to a real person), which will be much more efficient and quickly responsive. I expect to send the first such email out in the week following my talk in Limon, Colorado next Sunday.
The database we are forming is not so much a management tool as it is an informational and organizational resource for the Regional and local coordinators and me. The filters are being built in to allow for quick and easy location of how many people are in a region, state, city or suburban area and put them into contact with each other. It also has a list of skills and interests to help find the closest person to a need with that skill quickly – and put them in touch with people where the need is.
I HATE bureaucracy. I just hate it. I am convinced that people respond to people – not emails and such. So the key is to get people working together with each other so they become friends with a shared history. Do this right, and you get an organization that, after three months, begins to have explosive growth – which begins to gain great visibility and notice in the fifth month, which is almost always too late for enemies to stop its momentum. My method is founded not on telling people precisely what to do, but unleashing their enthusiastic creative capacity in acting to meet their needs and priorities. Following is an excerpt from an email on my method that I sent to someone who wanted more detail on my plans:
“While I have never organized a national group before, I HAVE organized several statewide groups in a hurry and had them operate efficiently – in two cases toppling an entrenched establishment that was united against us. While my method is not the only method possible, it has worked for me… Following are the steps in that method:
1) Identify the willing and their broad areas of skills and interests by laying out some fundamental principles and what sort of skills you are looking for. That is the step I started with. We have gotten over 500 volunteers in the past two weeks.
2) Categorize those who come forward, both by interests and geography and get them into a usable database from which local leaders can build on. That project is ongoing right now and will be in workable form within two weeks.
3) Deploy all those people into actual working groups and get them working together…the “getting to know you” phase, encouraging them to offer suggestions for their particular geographic area, even as you put people in charge of specific ongoing concerns. I have already identified and got commitments from four of the 15 eventual Regional Coordinators we will need to be effective. They need me to have this database operative so that they can actually do the things you speak of.
4) On an ongoing basis, assess what works and what doesn’t – using the regions as individual laboratories on that assessment whose successes can be shared with all other regions. If this is done well, everything grows organically and often, very fast.
There are two things that usually kill a large organization in its cradle. The first is under-planning – just getting people to go out and do something with no coherent agreed-upon philosophy or foundation. These degenerate quickly into chaos and quickly disintegrate. The second is over-planning. This tries to micromanage every detail before getting started and creates two problems of its own. The first is that it leaves little room to unleash the creative capacity of those in the field – they become cogs in an entirely centrally-run machine…and quickly lose interest and commitment. Second, it is slow to get off the dime and do anything, so focused with coming up with the perfect plan it never really gets started. Frankly, I ran rings around this type of organizer who usually came up with marvelously elegant plans long after I already had a vibrant, committed, enthusiastic team running at almost full strength – and it grew organically rather than springing forth fully formed.”
There are more than a few Priests and ministers who have volunteered to help. I am making a private list of these, which I will make available to individual Regional Coordinators when a need arises. I am also working, in conjunction with one of our board members, in establishing a network of Priests who can make plans for delivering the sacraments to people in extremis should the persecution of religious entities get worse.
I had mentioned that I am assembling and going to connect people for ongoing prayer teams for our work and steadiness. There are several monasteries of Nuns who have stepped up – and I look to work with them to coordinate this vital role.
Once I get going, I am constantly reaching out (and encouraging coordinators to do the same) to groups that are good fits to join in the activity. Sometimes these groups can be counter-intuitive to a lot of people. As I have mentioned, I have always worked well and closely with Biker Clubs. They are passionate advocates for freedom.
I believe that little victories are the mother of big victories – but there are no victories until people start working together as friends on little projects in their own area. For me, it is very labor intensive. I expect to spend half my time on the road once we are well-started, encouraging the groups around the country and sharing in their little victories, while laying the groundwork to make them big victories for us all. But I will do it as their buddy, Charlie, who celebrates with them and their group in their family rooms or VFW halls after a successful initiative, not as some email from Denver – and I expect them to live a similar ethos with the people in their region, state, and cities.
Again, my talk in Limon, Colorado will be next Sunday, July 26 as follows:
Sunday July 26, 2020 (12 Noon)
- Lincoln Theatre, 245 E Ave., Limon, CO
- 12:00pm: Divine Mercy Chaplet
- 1:00pm: Talk by Charlie Johnston
- 2:00pm: Lunch & Discussion Session (Lunch will be provided)
Limon is 1 hour east of Denver and 1 hour east of Colorado Springs.
Interesting history of Lincoln Theatre: http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/7595
Contact Mary Lapchak at email@example.com for further information.
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org you are coming from out of town. The theatre holds 200 people. I am actually expecting around 80 to show up, but we are getting a lot of people from out of state coming. Once, at a presentation on the east coast, we expected 50 people and got a room for 85. The crowd was actually 140, so many were left standing in the hall. I don’t want anyone flying in and being denied entry if the crowd is bigger than we expect – so if you RSVP you are guaranteed entry.