While commuting to my law office temp job in San Francisco the other day, I met a gang member on the BART train. I could tell he was a gang member. He had gang tattoos and gang insignia and a gang Survivor buff. So I started asking him about gangs and turfs and stuff.
"In Oakland," he told me, "in the Twenties" -- that's Twentieth Avenue through Twenty-Ninth Avenue -- "you got the Murder Dubs. In West Berkeley, you got the Nortes and the H2o. Then in North Oakland there's the KOB" -- Knock Out Boys -- "and the GEB" -- the Get 'Em Boys. "Then there's ESO" -- East Side Oakland.
Originally, according to my new gangsta hook-up, gangs were formed to protect the neighborhoods from -- gasp -- the police. "Like in New York when the Italians came over, the police would try to extort money out of them and the Mafia would execute the corrupt cops that preyed on their territory." I didn't know that.
"Then the Mafia got greedy and became corrupt too. But our gang isn't like that. Our gang protects our neighborhood. If some punk comes on our block and tries to rob someone, we take them out." Figuratively? Literally? "You gotta fight violence with violence. There is no other way." Hummm....
"But what about the Bush gang?" I asked him. "The Bush bureaucracy has moved in on America's turf and, like the corrupt police in the old days, are using their positions of power and authority to put the squeeze on us little guys. Is using violence the only way that we can stop them?"
"Yeah. You got to shoot them. You got to take them out." No! The Bush gang is armed to the teeth. They are bullies. They use strong-arm techniques to get their way. I don't want to do that too. I DON'T WANT TO BE LIKE THEM!
"There is no other way," said the gang dude. The conversation ended at that point because he got off at his stop but I thought and thought about what he had said. Was there no other way except violence to keep the corruption of the Bush bureaucracy in check? Didn't those dudes in the Washington-Jefferson Gang, the original turf protectors of 1776, give us the U.S Constitution so that We the People could control our own turf nonviolently? Do we have to become as violent and evil as the Mafia in order to keep ourselves safe from being preyed upon?
Then I read an article by an Israeli journalist named Uri Avnery. "On the classical battlefield," he wrote, "the main force was located in the middle, with the flanks secured by lighter forces. The enemy's aim was to break the center, often by turning the flanks. But even if the flanks collapsed, as long as the center held, the battle was not lost." That gave me hope. Because, in America, the Bush bureaucracy's center -- the average American Joe like me and you -- is no longer holding. The Bush bureaucracy can no longer count on rank and file Americans to fight their battles for them because the Bush bureaucracy IS NO LONGER PROTECTING OUR TURF. And, for this reason, the American center is no longer holding.
Hundreds of thousands of Americans circled the White House on September 24, 2005 in order to express their disgust with Bush bureauocracy ineptitude -- an up-to-now un-heard-of situation. Can you imagine that many Americans wanting to circle the White House in protest when, say, Washington or Jefferson was President?
And millions of other Americans are angry too! As my friend Jon told me, "If Katrina had hit Texas instead of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, the head of FEMA would have been drag-hanged up I-45 behind a pickup truck if he had dared to acknowledge that he had been unaware of thousands of citizens holed up in a convention center for three days." This isn't very nonviolent-sounding but you can see that the anger is definitely there.
Nope, the Bush bureaucracy's center is definitely NOT holding.
The gangs of Washington DC have become too corrupt and greedy and have gone too far -- and there is a very good possibility that, like the Washington-Jefferson gang did in 1776, we Americans WILL take back our own turf.
Newsflash: Texas just indicted the Bush mob's top bagman, Tom DeLay. That's a great place to start. "Real soon, the WHB" -- the White House Boys -- "are gonna be changing their name to the BHB" -- The Big House Boys!
PS: I just heard from my friend David -- aka New Orleans' famous Flaming Liberal! He escaped the hurricane and the flood okay but is still in grave danger of being strangled by FEMA red tape. Some church group, however, has fixed him up with an apartment in Atlanta, Georgia and the company that makes audio software for the blind is gonna give him a free program so he will be back on line as soon as he gets to Atlanta and gets a computer. Whew! "But I have lost everything I own," he told me on the phone today, "and my apartment is still under four feet of water."