This idea was actually given to me by Nessa in one of his great below-the-fold comments and links.
I’ve written before about the power of musical theatre in moving a political agenda. But for uplift, a better story comes from Moses Sands. In all the years I knew him, he only deferred to two people. One was his high school football hero, named Jim, who died in Italy. The other was an Army flier name Henry Roberts who had been assigned to him as a liaison in Japan while doing work there during the Vietnam War. His work held him over the holidays, so, with nothing really to do he went a New Year’s party at Maj Robert’s quarters.
Moses says the party broke up around one, and he was driven back to his billet, where, barely asleep, there was knock at the door, and there stood Maj Roberts, in a tux and tails and a long Army overcoat. He said, Hurry, come on, I need some help. Moses threw on some pants, and away they went to the depot where they picked up a deuce-and-a-half loaded with wooden choir stands and some boxes. Then, they drove to the post commissary parking lot, where they unloaded the two stands, and set up a reel-to-reel player, an amplifier, four huge speakers, and a movie camera on a tripod. Roberts then unfolded a long table, where he sat out a couple of quarts of Vodka, tomato juice, Worchestershire sauce, limes, and ice and glasses.
By this time a few friends from last night’s party began to drive up, plus a few who, from their dress had been to other more formal functions. One of the wives was still in her bathrobe and curlers, while one of the officers was in dress blues and his wife or date in a formal gown. A motley crew at 3:30 AM. The air had icicles , but Roberts began fixing Bloody Mary’s as if it were July. Then he turned on the Akai, and what came out of it was the last movement to Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, known to everyone nowadays as the “Ode to Joy”.
Everyone knows this piece, but probably not all of it, which runs close to 13 minutes. The first few minutes is an orchestral lead-in, so, while the music was starting up everyone was having a shivering toast, as the first dim light of New Year’s morn was peeping over the horizon. (It got early, early in Japan in those days. Moses said.)
A few more people straggled in and a couple of MP’s stopped across the parking lot on the main road to take in this sight and to check out the loud music blaring out across the open area…at 4-damned-o’clock in the morning. Roberts waved as if he knew them, then looked at his watch, took off his overcoat, tapped his baton and told everyone one minute, then handed out sheet music as they climbed the stand. A young blond lieutenant, the one in the dress blues, stood at the bottom, center. His solo lines came first, so while everyone straggled to their spots, he lip-synced the opening lines…in German. Then Roberts pointed to each group, guys and gals, as a cue up upcoming lines. He knew this movement by heart. Just listen to the full movement yourself and you can imagine how the show and parts were played by everyone, over a dozen singers after all was said an done. Moses said that just as they came to the part where the high sopranos come in (around minute 8, I’ve found) the sun actually peeped over the horizon in perfect unison, right on cue. A new year!
But unknown to Moses, across the lot and street, and behind a rise, sat the tiny huts for local nationals that looked like “motel bungalows down Route 67 from the 40s where you could just barely turn around before falling into bed” This was where many of the Japanese gardeners, domestic help and nannies lived. They began coming out of their little huts to stand or squat at the edge of road to listen to this music. They also knew it.
The rest of story. For you see, Beethoven’s 9th is the national song of New Year in Japan. So, at the end of the song, they stood and applauded, and Roberts turned and bowed…then waved them over. Then from the bowels of the deuce and a half he produced three large bottles of sake that had been sitting in warm water, and several sake cups. And they all bowed and drank and brought in the New Year together as friends, not a one of them understanding much of the other, but definitely not master-servant…as the Obamailis seem to imagine is their destiny.
Moses said Roberts was the most civilized man he’d ever known, and sadly, many years later, helped bury him…in the process baring to me some great stories of heroism which someday I hope to publish. But if you ever need a local fund raiser, get all your city and media notables and do this one thing, stage a video. Beethoven’s 9th is good.
Stations of the Congress…and Open Invitation to a project
I wish I could do this, but it takes more money and tech support than we can come up with. Probably $25,000-$35,000 over six months. But it’s a sure winner if set up right, and might even pay for itself if it catches on. (if there’s a chance for a profit, maybe O’Reilly, Limbaugh, Beck might jump on it. Maybe even the sainted Eagle will stick a crowbar in its wallets and fund it. Then again, there’s the GOP, who, it’s reported, is already pretty loose with the petty cash account. If i sound cynical here, I am.)
The idea is simple: Place a group of people, 6-12, with sheet music and CD player, at all the known points of ingress and egress that members of Congress use, at the Capitol and their office buildings. Not a lot of placards, no loud music, no angry slogans, only dirges, songs of penitence (Fanny Crosby is nice) and patriotism, and every time a member of Congress passes by, pipe up a special song just for them.
This is how I’d do it.
Targets: Every Congressperson who voted for this monstrosity, as well as their key staff. I’m not a fan of placards but one with their name(s) on it should be held high as they walk by. Drawing staff into it creates all sorts of commotion in the office as they are not always afforded various alternate routes of retreat for Members. The same for their district office managers and key go-to folks back home. Make them all sweat and hunker down.
The stations. These are the places where members of Congress show up in the Capitol and in their office building. I can see four or five stations, on three-four hour shifts, including the Capitol steps. There are also the places where they will retreat to once this “gauntlet of goodness” begins to annoy them. There are underground connectors between many of the buildings, so look for those points of exit and entry.
Also, there will be a need for a late shift, a flying wedge (named after Redvers Buller in the Zulu War, or maybe Amos Alonzo Stagg at Yale, I can’t remember which) to “fly” on-call to places such as bars and restaurants where members go for dinner and boozing after hours. (Nothing like peesing off the restauranteurs who purvey to these vermin…especially with funeral music at the front door during happy hour.)
Intelligence. Some Intel is required, in determining where those “stations” are, as well as finding out the legal requirements for standing around and pretending to sing songs eight hours a day.
Staff: Volunteers are easy to get. There are thousands within a metro-ride to the Capitol. And just imagine the pickups among the tourists. Tea Parties will come en masse, if you do it right. (We’re selling a theme here…Dante’s Inferno, i.e, Hell is for Democrats…if you haven’t picked up on it yet…a thing they can never do to us, by the way. They can tax us, terrorize us, even enslave us, but only we can make them feel like they’re in hell. It’s one of our natural advantages.) But we have to make hay while the sun shines.
It just takes some organization and dispatching and an initial reach-out to get these people to their stations. But trust me, once in place, just regular tourists are going to want to join in. A website will have to be set up. A good, clever one, possibly with live-cams running all day long, like that eaglets’ nest I recently watched. (I’m no tech guy, but it takes one to set this up, plus a good manager on-site.) To start, 30-40 “vocalists” a day, especially as weather improves. Just from the word of mouth there will be many more by late Spring, and really who cares, if instead of a dozen, we have a choir of fifty humming Barber’s Adagio as Jesse, Jr walks by. The project will need 1-2 full time people on-site (management), and a need for cameras to record the events as they progress. You’ll also need spotters to give the groups head-up’s as an Aye-Sayer is coming near. Tip him off and he’ll go other way (small victory). Cell phones or beepers required.
Song selection: (I have my own, but I leave that open to whoever makes the undertaking.) The point is to play music that conveys to the crowd who will hear it (the public) who are the real judges as they watch the member react to the seriousness and sense of shame of his/her sin. Funeral-like, dirge-like, melancholic and sad. “Kathleen Malvourneen”. Goodness, just check out the “lost cause” music of the South circa 1865. You’re much better at this than I am. I’m so 19th Century. Just don’t use the soundtrack to “Ghost”.
2 CD’s, app 30-32 songs minimum, with pre-selections such as “America the Beautiful” to start the day, or end the day, plus nice instrumental music for “down time” (when no member is around) and special “target music” when an Aye-voting Democrat comes around, and maybe even an uplifting one when a Nay-voting Republican comes around. And yes, the whispered prayers of repentance, “May God have mercy on your soul”. Make every Congressman think he/she is walking to the scaffold as they walk by. You’ll want to print out several “prayer” cards.
The idea is to make John Lewis whistle, just like he did as a little boy, walking past a graveyard. But while they will think we are trying to embarrass them in public, in fact, they will give us what we want…and that is to drive them underground. To deny them the street. The free air. The haunts of free men. They will be our captives. They will be afraid to be seen in public, and be looking over their shoulders everywhere. That will be our victory. And we did it all with a song and a prayer.
And yes, i can write all this, as they say in the Intel business, “in the open” because there’s not a thing they can do about it. No hate speech, only hymns of sorrow, only prayers or repentance.
In short, with a few bucks and assets, you can turn the entire social and political scene in Washington upside down, letting them know, it is not business as usual.
Do all this and they will come.
Signage. I’m not a big guy for placards, but you do need to tell folk who you are what you’re doing. A flag or banner. Just don’t be ostentatious. Remember, it is a funeral. Really. Certainly T-shirts (which you can also sell.) XXL and bigger so one can throw it over regular clothes. Within only a few hours, Lady Penquin aka/ Senora Penguini, our consiglieri, came up with a great name: the Patriot Sorrow Project. You can change it if you wish, but she does know people…named Vinnie and Augie.
Cost, i.e., paying for this. T-shirts, CD’s, and tin cups, a command post with computer and cot. (What’s that cost in DC these days?) The initial cost will be to keep the field staff and website active. Legal formation may also be required. (Legalzoom.com, under $400. Even a cave man can do it.)
Making it work. It will grow slowly. The press will not be there at Day One. Not even at Day 30 in all likelihood. But local media will…your local afternoon talk radio guy is very good at getting the word out…and will pick up on it as members of local tea parties decide to drop in and have their pics taken. Every tourist will take back home photos, maybe a T-shirt and CD. You will be bigger in Omaha than you are in Washington…for awhile.
Blowback If you are any good at this, expect some, from rent-a-thugs to Capitol police. The Enemy has friends. Have a plan to deal with them. Record it all.
The objective isn’t to make money, but make them sneak. Deny them the places they like to frequent, deny them the free run of the city.
Back Home And just like Washington, deny them a free run of their district offices. Every congressional district could/should also have a choir of 10 in front every day. Find out their haunts. Their meeting places. Make them sweat. And in Clyburn’s or Conyer’s district, or Philadelphia, wear a flack jacket.
Finally, I’m putting this in the public domain for anyone who wants to grab onto it. Any comments, and all are invited, will also be a part of this “package”, so I appreciate any and all suggestions to complement this sketch of an outline. Someone will grab it and make it happen, I hope. It’s just too easy. And like I said, if Limbaugh could make anything off the CD sales…
Oh, and yes, on this, the most Holy of weeks for those who follow our creed, as the majority of the people of America still do, never forget that This is the other baton we carry when we fight for human liberty…and the greatest right…the right to say “no” not only to God, but also to tyranny. God will oblige us that choice, the tyrant will not. We will win on this account alone.