April 22, 2009
(Note: Around here, we are not permitted to say “2009;” we must say, “0001, in the Year of The One”)
I’ve been here for about a week now. Communication of any type with the outside is forbidden, but I managed to give this note to a sympathetic produce delivery man. I didn’t think I could print so small.
Here’s the story.
When I heard the knock on the door, I peeked through the window and saw the same two young, twenty-somethings outside my door. They call themselves “The Messiah’s Witnesses.” They had been coming to my house about every two weeks since the election last year and even more often since January, each time wanting to discuss my “aberrant” politics and to explain to me the wisdom of The Change.
The first few times they showed up I politely told them I was not interested in talking with them, but more recently, I had become more adamant in my refusal. Since their most recent visit, I had resolved that the next time they came knocking, I was going to tell them for once and for all to stay the hell off my property.
I opened the door, prepared to tell them to get lost, but before I could say a word, two men, each the size of an NFL lineman, leaped from the bushes on either side of the door, pinning my arms behind me and placing me in handcuffs. Once I was cuffed, another man, well-dressed and appearing to be in his forties, appeared from behind one of the bushes.
“Who the hell are you, and what the hell is going on here?” I screamed.
“My name is not important. My purpose is to advise you that, by order of Secretary of Education, William Ayers, effective immediately, you are directed to report to the Education Center in your Sector. We are here to transport you there.”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“I believe I spoke clearly. We are here to transport you to the Education Center in your Sector.”
“And what if I refuse?”
“Refusal is not an option.”
“Precisely, what have I done wrong?”
“You have done much wrong, starting with your failure to vote for The One, and, worse yet, your writing and saying things that question the wisdom of The One, not to mention your obvious resistance to The Change.”
“Are you out of your mind?”
“I assure you that my mind is sound. It is your mind that needs work. You are to come with us now, and I mean right now. There is no need to gather any belongings, as The One will provide everything you need.”
“What about my family?” I asked. “Do you plan on kidnapping them too?”
“Your family will be permitted to remain in place, provided you cooperate with those who will guide you through your Learning Program. And, I must say that your use of the term ‘kidnapping’ is not a good start.”
“Well then, how about ‘Kiss my ass’ for a start.”
“Your attitude will not serve you or your family well. Let’s get moving.”
With that, I was hustled across my lawn to a school bus that seemed to appear from nowhere. The only thing that distinguished it from a regular school bus was the blackened windows. Upon being shoved into the bus, I saw other people I recognized, several of whom I knew to be veterans. When I tried to speak to them, the driver shouted that talking was not permitted. Everyone looked as dazed and confused as I felt.
The trip took a bit longer than an hour, but because of the blackened windows and my generally bad sense of direction, I had no idea where we were headed. Only when the bus arrived at its destination and we were herded off, did I recognize where I was. I remembered the place from 1968. It was the Fort Dix Reception Center, only now there was a sign over the entrance that said, “Camp Alinsky,” under which was written, “Embrace The Change.” Yes, this is the very same Fort Dix that Secretary of Education Ayers conspired to bomb in 1970, only now it was surrounded by razor wire and guard towers every two-hundred yards.
After our names were checked, we were led into a large auditorium for our “Initial Orientation.” In each corner of the large room stood men who were built like the goons who handcuffed me at my home. I later learned that they were called “Order Keepers” or “Ordners.” They looked menacing as they glared at the audience with their muscled arms folded over their massive chests. One of them broke his silence long enough to admonish the audience that speaking was not permitted.
Once the room was silent, a man in his fifties took the stage to address us. He said, “My name is Kwame Ondinga, and I am the Principal of Camp Alinsky. I would like to welcome you to your Education Program. I trust that you’ll find your initial orientation to be helpful.
“Each of you has been identified by Secretary of Education William Ayers as persons requiring education in order for you to fully embrace The Change.”
A few people, myself included, grumbled at such a notion, but the Ordners lowered their arms from their chests, signaling that grumbling was unacceptable.
“Your course of studies here is eight weeks long, and we encourage your active and enthusiastic participation.”
At that point, Ondinga instructed us in the proper method of recognition and and greeting. “You are to hold your arms chest-high, parallel to the ground, make two fists and press your knuckles together. You then separate your hands, thrust them forward and then bring them smartly to your sides. The proper and only acceptable form of greeting while executing this movement is to say, ‘Praise The One.’”
A few of us snickered, only to result in the Ordners screaming, “Silence!”
Ondinga continued, “I know that you all are anxious to know what is in store for you here, so let me briefly hit some of the high points. First, we will be spending a lot of time teaching you to deal with your racism.”
The room erupted in objections that even glares from the Orders couldn’t quell. Cries of “You’re crazy!” and “Bullshit!” filled the room.
One guy who was wearing a Marine Corps tee shirt stood and said to Ondinga, “I’ve about had it with this shit! I fought and bled with Marines who are black, and your claiming that just because I didn’t vote for, as you call him, ‘The One’ makes me a racist is pure bullshit, and I’m not about to sit here and put up with it.” The Ordners sprung into action and removed the guy from the room. I haven’t seen him since.
Another voice from the audience shouted, “What about the African Americans who also didn’t vote for ‘The One?’ Are they racists too?”
Ondinga, clearly annoyed by the question, replied, “We deal with them in a separate section of the camp.”
That remark dispelled any lingering doubt I might have had about how this was all going to work.
Ondinga continued, “Once you have come to terms with your racism, we will educate you in the wisdom of The Change. You will learn that we constantly strive to achieve what is best for the Common Good. Most of you will also be instructed on the subject of Global Warming and why it is counter to The Change to continue to be Deniers. That is basically the Core Curriculum here an Camp Alinsky. I’ll take some questions now, but, rest assured, most of your questions will be addressed in the next few days.”
One man stood up, and began to ask a question.
Ondinga cut him off saying, “I thought I just instructed you on the subject of the proper greeting.”
The man sat down, but Ondinga commanded him to stand and preface his question with the proper greeting. The man remained seated. Ondinga gave a signal to two of the Ordners, who ran to the man’s seat and dragged him to his feet.
“You will execute the proper greeting!” Ondinga said.
The room was silent, as everyone stared at the questioner, who was staring at the floor. Finally, the man looked up, raised his arms, placed his knuckles together and said, ‘Praise The One.’”
Ondinga returned the greeting. “Very good. Now, ask your question.”
“I was told when I was arrested that my family would be left alone. Can you confirm that?”
Ondinga replied, “First, we don’t use the term ‘arrested’ for helping you with transportation to the Education Center. As for your question, the answer is yes, as long as you successfully complete your Education Program, your family will be left alone.”
“What happens if at the end of the eight weeks you don’t think I successfully completed your Education Program?”
“In such cases, we give everyone a chance to repeat the program.”
“And what happens if, at the end of the repeat program, you still don’t think I’ve been successful.”
Ondinga answered, “We are confident that you will be successful.”
After a few more questions, about letters and telephone calls to the outside (None permitted), food (You’ll get what you need) and healthcare (We have a State Clinic on the premises), we were lead to another room to be issued our uniforms.
Each person was issued underwear, three grey shirts, three pairs of grey trousers, socks and black shoes. The shirts bore a name tag and the “O’ logo on the left sleeve. I noticed that my shirts all had a one-inch red “B” sewn on the front in the region of my chest.
I asked the person issuing the shirts why mine bore the letter “B.” He responded, “You must have been a Blogger.”
I said that I was indeed a blogger.
He smiled and said, “Bloggers get special attention.”
I knew I was in deep shit.
I’ll write again when I can.