Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot...
After the horrific mass murder in Tucson yesterday I had trouble sleeping last night. When my mind gets overloaded, I can't sleep. I came downstairs at 3:30 am and for some reason decided now was the time to watch the movie V For Vendetta . Many people had recommended this movie over the years, but I had never gotten around to it. Well, on the day after the attempted assassination of a Congresswoman and murder of six others, including a Federal Judge, this movie provided a vision into what could happen next in this country.
The 2006 movie centers around a man wearing a Guy Fawkes mask who refers to himself as V. He is a bold, charismatic freedom fighter driven to exact revenge on those who disfigured him. The film is an allegory of oppression and coercion by government. It is a declaration against government intervention into the lives of the citizens. He blows up the Old Bailey on November 5, Guy Fawkes Day. He promises to blow up Parliament one year later on the 5th of November. His speech at the beginning of the movie, broadcast to all of England, explains what happened in a fictional England and what is happening here:
"Good evening, London.
Allow me first to apologize, for this interruption. I do, like many of you, appreciate the comforts of everyday routine, the security, the familiar, the tranquility, repetition… I enjoy them as much as any bloke. But in the spirit of commemoration, whereby those important events of the past, usually associated with someone’s death or the end of some awful, bloody struggle, are celebrated with a nice holiday, I thought we could mark this November the 5th, a day that is certainly no longer remembered, by taking some time out of our daily lives to sit down and have a little chat.
There are, of course, those who do not want us to speak. I think that even now orders are been shouted into telephones and men with guns will soon be on their way. Why? Because when the truncheon maybe used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who would listen, the enunciation of the truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn’t there?
Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression, and where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission? How did this happen? Who’s to blame? Well certainly there are those who are more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again, truth be told, if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror.
I know why you did it. I know you were afraid! Who wouldn’t be? War, terror, disease… There were a myriad problems that conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic, you turned to the now High Chancellor, Adam Suttler. He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient, consent.
Last night, I sought to end that silence. Last night, I destroyed the Old Bailey to remind this country of what it has forgotten. More than 400 years ago, a great citizen wished to embed the 5th of November forever in our memory. His hope was to remind the world that fairness, justice and freedom are more than words, they are perspectives. So if you’ve seen nothing, if the crimes of this government remain unknown to you, then, I would suggest you allow the 5th of November to pass unmarked. But if you see what I see, if you feel as I feel, and if you would seek as I seek, then I ask you to stand beside me, one year from tonight, outside the gates of Parliament, and together we shall give them a 5th of November that shall never, ever, be forgot."
The movie's central theme revolves around the 1605 Gunpowder Plot to blow up Parliament. The plot was a failed assassination attempt against King James I of England by a group of provincial English Catholics led by Robert Catesby. The plan was to blow up the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament on November 5, 1605, as the prelude to a popular revolt in the Midlands during which James's nine-year-old daughter, Princess Elizabeth, was to be installed as the Catholic head of state.
Guy Fawkes, who had 10 years of military experience fighting in the Spanish Netherlands in suppression of the Dutch Revolt, was given charge of the explosives. The plot was revealed to the authorities in an anonymous letter sent to William Parker, 4th Baron Monteagle. During a search of the House of Lords at about midnight on November 4, 1605, Fawkes was discovered guarding 36 barrels of gunpowder – enough to reduce the House of Lords to rubble – and arrested. He was hanged shortly thereafter. November the 5th has been celebrated ever since this event with celebrations and fireworks.
Anarchy Has Arrived
There's no certainty - only opportunity. V - V For Vendetta
As I watched hour after hour of coverage about the ambush and assassination attempt on a Congresswoman from Arizona, I couldn't help but think this could be the spark for something bigger. There were almost immediate reactions from the MSM that this murder was instigated by the Tea Party. The liberal ideologue Paul Krugman blamed the Republican Party for the murders. Apoplectic left wing faux journalist Keith Olbermann described conservative commentators as those "who have so irresponsibly brought us to this time of domestic terrorism". The local sheriff, an Arizona State Senator and the Congresswoman's father all blamed the Tea Party, either directly or indirectly. Based on my reading of the murderer's writings and youtubes, he appears to be a mentally deranged psycho. Somehow, every liberal MSM "journalist" has concluded that this was due to the contentious political atmosphere in the country. This is code for "we need less dissent". Stop disagreeing with the Obama agenda. If you disagree, you are dangerous.
The scene in the movie that made me think of yesterday's events was toward the end of the movie when Inspector Finch, who is trying to capture V, has a feeling about what is going to happen:
Finch: I had to see it. There wasn't much left. But when I was there it was strange. I suddenly had this feeling that everything was connected. It's like I could see the whole thing, one long chain of events that stretched all the way back before Larkhill. I felt like I could see everything that happened, and everything that is going to happen. It was like a perfect pattern, laid out in front of me. And I realized we're all part of it, and all trapped by it.
Dominic: So do you know what's gonna happen?
Finch: No, it was a feeling. But I can guess. With so much chaos, someone will do something stupid. And when they do, things will turn nasty. And then Sutler will be forced to do the only thing he knows how to do. At which point, all V needs to do is keep his word. And then...
[Dominoes collapse with TV footages showing conflicts between rioting citizens and the anti-riot police]
The line that hit me like a ton of bricks was, "With so much chaos, someone will do something stupid." As Inspector Finch was speaking these words a scene of a policeman shooting a 10 year old girl with a Guy Fawkes Mask on is shown and then an angry mob surrounds and kill the policeman.
Yesterday, someone did something stupid. The question is what happens next.
Already, a fringe religious fanatic pastor and his followers, who have previously picketed the military funerals of Americans killed in Iraq, issued this press release:
"Thank God for the shooter - 6 dead! WBC will picket their funerals!" It continues on to condemn what it condemns as violence unleashed on WBC by a "hateful nation...hoping to silence our kind warning to obey God and flee the wrath to come."
There is one thing I'm sure about. This will not result in more civil discourse. Opposing ideologies will become further entrenched in their positions. Those who attempt to be peacemakers will be shouted down. Passions will rise as they did in the 1850s when another member of Congress was badly injured as national passions flamed over slavery. On May 19, 1856, Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, a prominent voice in the anti-slavery movement, delivered an impassioned speech denouncing the compromises that helped perpetuate slavery and led to confrontations in Kansas. Sumner singled out Senator Andrew Pickens Butler of South Carolina. Butler, who had recently been incapacitated by a stroke and was recuperating in South Carolina, was held to particular ridicule by Sumner. Sumner said that Butler had taken as his mistress “the harlot, slavery.” Sumner also referred to the South as an immoral place for allowing slavery, and he mocked South Carolina.
Preston Brooks, a member of the House of Representatives from South Carolina, was particularly incensed. Not only had the fiery Sumner ridiculed his home state, but Brooks was the nephew of Andrew Butler, one of Sumner's targets. Brooks walked to Sumner’s desk in the Senate chamber, and reportedly said: “You have libeled my state and slandered my relation, who is aged and absent. And I feel it to be my duty to punish you.” With that, Brooks struck the seated Sumner across the head with his heavy cane. Brooks continued raining blows with the cane upon Sumner, who tried to fend them off with his arms. As might be expected, northern newspapers responded to the violent attack on the Senate floor with horror. Southern newspapers published editorials lauding Brooks, claiming that the attack was a justified defense of the south and slavery. Supporters sent Brooks new canes, and Brooks claimed that people wanted pieces of the cane he used to beat Sumner as “holy relics.”
This attack was a foreshadowing of what was to come - the deaths of 600,000 Americans in the space of four years - over 4% of the male population. Yesterday's tragedy is another step deeper into this Fourth Turning. Every Fourth Turning has proven to be a decisive era of secular upheaval, when the values regime propels the replacement of the old civic order with a new one.
Words Matter, Ideas Can Change the World
People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people. V - V For Vendetta
The prior Fourth Turnings in U.S. history (American Revolution, Civil War, Great Depression/World War II) all proved to be secular upheavals of immense proportions, tore apart the existing civil order, but had numerous moments of danger and uncertainty about the future turn of events. We are six years into a twenty year Crisis saeculum. Every Crisis intensifies as time progresses to an ultimate crescendo. The initial financial crisis built to a dramatic peak in September 2008 as the government and Federal Reserve have taken extraordinary and immoral actions to protect Wall Street banks. Since September 11, 2001, the government has used fear as its primary means of controlling the American population. Fear of terrorists, fear of flying, fear of WMD, fear of mushroom clouds, fear of the axis of evil, fear of economic collapse, fear of a Great Depression, and now fear of the Tea Party movement. This attack by a crazy man will lead to further losses of liberties and freedoms. That is a certainty.
Americans have been lulled into a false sense of security. V's speech to the people of England invokes Ben Franklin:
"I know why you did it. I know you were afraid! Who wouldn’t be? War, terror, disease… There were a myriad problems that conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic, you turned to the now High Chancellor, Adam Suttler. He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient, consent." – V – V For Vendetta
Those who would give up Essential Liberty
to purchase a little Temporary Safety,
deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
- Ben Franklin
This country has not reached the level of control and fear seen in Orwell’s 1984 and V For Vendetta, yet. We are moving relentlessly in that direction. Surveillance, monitoring, spying, censorship, secret prisons, predator drones, and conforming to state rules and regulations put citizens further under the thumb of an all powerful state. The freedom to dissent, the freedom to be left alone, the freedom to speak out against injustice, the freedom to disagree with your government, and the freedom to present your ideas without fear of retribution or penalty are essential in a democratic society. The next phase of this Fourth Turning will surely include another downward spiral in financial markets as un-payable debts accumulate to a tipping point level. When ATM machines stop spitting out twenties, food shelves are bare and gas stations are shuttered, social chaos will ensue. The government will react with further command and control measures. In V For Vendetta, the government creates a terrorist incident in order to gain unquestioned control over the population. Americans will need to be more vigilant than they have been over the last ten years in keeping an eye on their government.
In the movie, Parliament is the symbol of government power. The thought of destroying this symbol provided the people with a renewed sense of purpose and power. By V’s destruction of the building, the people regained their hope for the future. The symbol of America is the Statue of Liberty. The pedestal at the base of the statue states:
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The idea of America is still alive. Whether it is kept alive is up to us. Words matter. Ideas can change the world.
"I know of no reason why the Gunpowder Treason should ever be forgot... But what of the man? I know his name was Guy Fawkes and I know, in 1605, he attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament. But who was he really? What was he like? We are told to remember the idea, not the man, because a man can fail. He can be caught, he can be killed and forgotten, but 400 years later, an idea can still change the world. I've witnessed first hand the power of ideas, I've seen people kill in the name of them, and die defending them... but you cannot kiss an idea, cannot touch it, or hold it... ideas do not bleed, they do not feel pain, they do not love... And it is not an idea that I miss, it is a man... A man that made me remember the Fifth of November. A man that I will never forget." - Evey Hammond - V For Vendetta
THE IDEA OF AMERICA - THE CHOICE IS OURS
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By James Quinn
James Quinn is a senior director of strategic planning for a major university. James has held financial positions with a retailer, homebuilder and university in his 22-year career. Those positions included treasurer, controller, and head of strategic planning. He is married with three boys and is writing these articles because he cares about their future. He earned a BS in accounting from Drexel University and an MBA from Villanova University. He is a certified public accountant and a certified cash manager.
These articles reflect the personal views of James Quinn. They do not necessarily represent the views of his employer, and are not sponsored or endorsed by his employer.
© 2010 Copyright James Quinn - All Rights Reserved
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