And during that time I received the first of three comprehensive revelations delivered by motion picture. Blueprints to save the Republic.
The first film’s historic backdrop was the war for Central America.
Ronald Reagan had won the battle of ideas in America, on behalf of freedom against socialism. America had voted twice on the issue of Statist government, both at home and abroad, and the socialist philosophy went down in flames to landslide defeats at the hand of the Gipper. America did not want bigger but smaller government. America would not capitulate as the Soviet Empire took over the world, but would prepare defenses.
By his second term, Reagan’s influence dominated the nation’s political thinking. The economy had recovered. Soviet Expansion had stopped cold. America and Washington State BOTH had philosophically conservative majorities among the electorate by actual polling. All that was needed was a conservative political party to press forward the advantage the President had created, to contest the seats in Congress and state government with compatible candidates on the same ideological basis. We could have taken the country back. Instead, that Party’s leadership waited for his departure so they could change direction.
But before he left office, I received the first Revelation, Predator.
Public perception is the stock in trade of the political pragmatist. No clarity in the expression of his positions or policy, no qualifications or concrete accomplishments can substitute for a well-graven image. Public Perception can be created and the mechanisms to do so are available. Indeed, the mechanisms are for sale from the gatekeepers—the media and their artisans, the pimps of airtime and column inches. From clips and bites and crafted phrases they fashion the idols of popular democracy.
I knew all this before Predator.
Predator was about something new.
You knew from the opening scene something else was going on: an unfamiliar spacecraft shot through the stars and jettisoned a landing pod at a target on Earth. But that plot thread was dropped and ordinary viewers were already occupied, waiting to discover what role Arnold Schwarzenegger would play.
In 1987 Schwarzenegger’s acting career was red hot. It was in the rising phase of what I think was destined to become an industry biography as interesting as that of Ronald Reagan.
Arnold had first worked himself into personal fame as a “sports” figure (bodybuilding), launched into movie acting, and following Predator and even bigger hits, leveraged his film fame, body image, and political contacts into two terms as the liberal Governor of California. But he was, amazingly, only one of two such physically-imposing (then future, now past) State Governors on the cast of Predator. What are the odds? Ex-professional wrestler Jesse “The Body” Ventura had also snowballed his fame and musculature as a sports entertainment figure into an acting career and eleven years after Predator Jesse would ascend to the office of Minnesota’s Governor.
In Predator Schwarzenegger played Dutch, the leader of an elite team of special forces mercenaries, all Viet Nam combat vets at the height of their skills. Carl Weathers played Dillon, an unprincipled Establishment sell-out and Dutch’s former teammate, who using false pretenses, had helped deceive Dutch into taking the mission and went with them. He called Arnold’s team “the best,” the only men alive who could get the job done.
The “job” as it had been sold, was “to rescue a Central American diplomat and his aide who had been taken hostage by guerrillas.” The real mission, as they progressively discovered, was to secretly take out the headquarters of an invasion force, complete with Soviet advisers, on foreign soil, with complete deniability. And there were complications.
Dropped into the jungle by helicopter, we see the casual camaraderie of the men quickly replaced by their dumbfounded reaction to finding first, the crashed helicopter of a previous mission and then the bodies of the previous team… strung up like game… gutted… and skinned.
They cannot fathom what is afoot, but the mood becomes deadly serious.
The jungle is extremely dense and we see that they are being watched by something that somehow sees in some other spectrum of light. The film audience sees brief scenes from the perspective of the watcher’s mysterious technology. When the team break camp, the creature inspects the remainders left on he ground. We watch as it records their voices.
When the team finds the guerrilla base they swing into action and we get to see seven experts take down the entire Communist operation with a variety of weapons.
Dutch begins the assault by stealing into the camp, placing a bomb in a running truck then single-handedly lifting it off the blocks that kept its rear wheels from touching the ground and sending it exploding into an enemy meeting place.
Blain, played by Jesse Ventura, uses the fictional hand-held XM214 Minigun, a version of the incredible (and real) vehicle-mounted GEelectric Gatling that can fire as many as 10,000 rounds a minute. He calls it “Ol’ Painless,” and uses it to devastating effect. During combat a teammate warns, “You’re bleeding!” to which Blain replies, “I ain’t got time to bleed.”
Dutch literally pins one of the guerillas to a wall by throwing a huge machete and quips, “Stick around” in that famous Austrian accent.
The “hostages” turn out to have been captured CIA agents. They have been executed just prior to Dutch’s ambush. The camp is obliterated, weapons destroyed, intelligence intercepted, no casualties suffered and there is only a single enemy survivor, Anna, a woman whom Dutch and his men take prisoner for their own safety until they can make their way to the extraction point to catch a helicopter out.
“The jungle came alive…”
When Anna makes an escape attempt, Hawkins gives chase. When they do not return, the team follows and finds Anna, paralyzed with fear, covered in what turns out to be Hawkins’ blood. She makes no further escape attempts and when queried (in Spanish) about what happened says “The jungle came alive and took him.” What follows challenges their perception of the real world.
They find what remains of Hawkins—bloody internal organs.
Then Blain is inexplicably killed standing right next to his close friend, Mac (Bill Duke) and Mac goes ballistic. In fact, Mac’s reaction could have made “going ballistic” a figure of speech had it not already been one. Picking up Blain’s minigun, and joined by other heavily armed team members, Mac literally levels a city block’s worth of jungle. In several ways reminiscent of America’s reaction to Islamic Jihad, it’s heart-warming…
… and almost totally irrelevant.
“Nothing could have escaped!”
But, once again, they return to being dumbfounded. Their massive response has killed nothing. There is no evidence of opposing guerrillas or troops of any kind, no bodies, no weapons, no tracks. When they inspect Blain’s body there is no trace of a bullet or powder burn and the wounds are cauterized. It is as if he were killed by a lethal laser surgeon working at the speed of light and absorbed magically back into the vegetation. The surgical use of lasers was only about five years old at the time.
However, Anna discovers something on a leaf. It’s green, but turns out to be the killer’s blood.
And Dutch’s response presages the eventual turnaround in the struggle:
“If it bleeds, we can kill it.”
There then ensues a debate, openly between Dutch and establishment turncoat Dillon, and quietly in the minds of the remaining survivors, as to the nature of what they are facing. Nothing makes sense in the context of their current body of knowledge. No known enemy or technology explains what has happened.
Dillon holds fast to simply ignoring the evidence to choose a familiar explanation (the conventional wisdom): “it’s guerrillas,” but Dutch insists on following the evidence to its logical conclusion no matter how incredible the conclusion seems. Something was hunting them, taking body parts as trophies, and killing the entire team, for sport, one at a time. It moved unseen, in and out of their circle, at will.
In fact, as the audience sees, it is an alien creature over seven feet tall, muscled like a body builder and possessing advanced-alien-technology offensive weapons. But the key to the plot is the creature’s camouflage. It can turn off and on a cloaking-device that projects, or bends, light from one side of its body to the other, so that whatever angle you view it from, what you see, instead of the alien, is on the other side of it. Except for slight distortions as he moves (like heat waves) he is almost invisible. He is depicted, crouching, (on the right of this text) with the device engaged. Directly above the center of the photo you can make out his (yellow) light-emitting eye orifices. To their right are the three points (in red) of his laser weapon’s sighting device on his shoulder.
And at that point in the film it hit me.
This is what had happened to the Conservative Movement in Washington.
As “combat teams” emerged from the grassroots, candidates and activists, with talent and commitment and high ideals to take on and win the political war with the forces of collectivist government (the Communist guerrillas), they had been slaughtered by something invisible, something that had moved in and out of their circles undetectably, and had slaughtered them politically. And it wasn’t the Democrats.
In the film, the team passes through four stages.
The first is being completely unaware of the real enemy. Hawkins is literally disemboweled and strung up like game because he is completely unaware of the Predator. Blain is killed instantly, as one completely defenseless, though holding the most powerful hand-held weapon ever conceived, because he has no idea what he is facing. As long as they believed that they were still fighting the Communists, they were sitting ducks.
- Billy, the team’s scout, is a Native American, who has unexcelled tracking skills and intuitive instincts verging on the supernatural. (He is beautifully played by Sonny Landham who, incredibly enough, won the 2010 Libertarian nomination to run against Mitch McConnell for U.S. Senator from Kentucky). Billy senses the alien’s presence while leading the team and stops, remaining dead still for a long time, attempting to see it. As he gradually realizes its capability he quips, unemotionally, “We’re all gonna die.” Eventually, he prepares for an honorable last stand, discarding his firearms and facing the creature alone on a log bridge, with his knife. He gets his heroic death.
- Enraged by the loss of his friend, Blain, Mac grabs Ol’ Painless and heads out in hot pursuit of the creature… and actually finds it, cloaking device off, in a tree, tending to its wound. But he does not know its capability and falls, instantly, to its laser weapon.
- Dillon, who witnesses Mac’s demise, attacks similarly, in rage and vengeance, and looses first, his right arm and then his life, impaled on an alien melee weapon.
All these died in faith, believing they faced a high-tech interplanetary alien, not having obtained the promise of victory. Their deaths, like their comrades’ only added to the knowledge base of what doesn’t work.
Once he becomes the last survivor, Dutch is primarily occupied, for a time, with fleeing. Falling and then sliding down a steep embankment, he ends up cornered, caked in mud, and realizes, by accident, that the creature (because it sees heat) can’t see him so covered. He has become as invisible to it as it had been to his team.
This is the turning point.
Because he recognizes the enemy, because he is fighting to win, because he does NOT lose his head and charge wildly, because he does NOT accept defeat and make a “heroic last stand” but stays true to the goal of defeating it, Dutch begins to find means, first, of survival, then, of fighting back.
Finally, Dutch fashions an offense tailored to the battle as he now understands it. Discarding weapons that create heat, he gets medieval on the alien with spears and arrows and swinging rams and lethal snares, hiding his devices. In his final victory he confronts the beast and then uses himself as bait in a series of planned traps.
Lessons for Conservatives
These are the phases through which our movement must also pass to win the war to return Freedom to America.
Newly dis-apathized grassroots actvists enter the Republican Party all the time, to fight the destructive Democrat expansion of Socialist tyranny. They come in Blind. They came in with Goldwater, with Reagan, with Robertson, Buchanan and Ron Paul. They came in to fight abortion and outcome based education and Growth Management and massive bailouts and socialized medicine. They are the Tea Party. And most of them go back out again within 2-4 years as their candidates are slaughtered by the Republican Predators. They didn’t expect an internal adversary that could move in and out of their circles at will, that destroys wonderfully, surgically, instantaneously and takes trophies. Bob Williams, Ellen Craswell, Linda Smith and Reed Davis are among many such trophies. Some, like Dillon, argue against any theory that the problem is not the Democrats. And as long as they remain convinced of that, effectively Blind, they are hopeless. Sitting ducks.
Large numbers, today, have become aware, I believe for the first time, of the treacherous nature of the GOP left and their domination of the RNC and all Republican politics at the national level. The same is now true in Washington State. Hundreds of Party activists are fully aware that WSRP Chair
Chris Vance Diane Tebelius Luke Esser Kirby Wilbur is a political Predator. But the reaction to that fact is crucial. Ellen Craswell, herself, insisted in 1996, Dillon-like, on ignoring the Republican Predators til it was too late, until her gubernatorial candidacy had been destroyed, and then, also Dillon-like, she and husband Bruce, in the political equivalent of rage and vengeance, went third-party and were politically incinerated. Others, like Billy, have pronounced the situation unwinnable and are preparing their final stand as they wait for the Republic to fail. These are, at bottom, self-defeats.
III. Learning Defense
Only those who understand the Republican Predators and their strategic advantages, only those who are, further, determined to survive and fight to win have begun to build answers, to find defenses, equalizers in the war for the heart and soul of the Party.
A turning point.
In 2004, for the first time the Reagan Wing began to reveal the Predators, to name names, to expose their stratagems, to prevent, by that simple revelation of the truth, their continued secret destruction of the conservative movement. We began to reverse their devices. We can now point to a series of successes.
We paid a price but we drew blood. And it was green.
IV. Constructing Offense
What remains is to go on offense. To elect conservatives to statewide offices, to secure a conservative nominee for President (for the first time since 1984), to secure, in legislatures, significant spending cuts and tax DECREASES, to crush the black banksters and resurrect the Constitution.
And we know how to do it.
2011 is the beginning. And we will begin, again, as we began in 2004…