Halloween, 1976 was special. I had made princess outfits for the girls, then two and three. They were excited by the promises of sweets to be plopped into their own little plastic pumpkins. Dawn, the oldest, dressed as a small version of Snow White, asked what she was to do when the pumpkin was too full. I told her I would take a pillow case. Pausing, she told me to take two. Dawn remains an optimist today.
Trick-or-Treating was always fun. The kids and costumes always made you smile. But that Halloween we had a special added feature. Mom, that was me, had made special Halloween literature to pass out with the Trick-or-Treat announcement. The kids had that down cold. They had passed out their first literature with their first anti-tax rally the April 15th before.
Our Presidential candidate was Roger MacBride.
Roger was a jolly candidate. The adopted grandson of Laura Ingalls Wilder, he was then often in Los Angeles working on the TV Series from the Little House Books. He had promised to have the National UnVictory Party right there in LA if we got him on the ballot in California. The Party was planned for the old Ambassador Hotel. We all went.
This piece of literature was brown and the front read, Caught in the Web of Higher Taxes and Inflation?” It went on to urge you to vote for Roger MacBride for President. I knew the pieces would be read. No competition and the recipients were curious, you could see that; mostly they were reading while still dropping candy into the upheld pumpkins. We did well in that precinct.
My kids were raised Libertarian. That meant that Victory Parties never were held because of the hope anyone had won, but because the campaign was finally over. Dawn and Ayn, Ayn was just 13 months younger than Dawn, were 11 and twelve before they realized that sometimes candidates won. That was a shock.
When she was 12 Dawn would insisted that 'her' candidate, Ed Clark, be included in First Lutheran Northridge's Mock Presidential Election. Ed did better there than anyplace else in the county, coming in with 20%. Dawn was always eloquent. She remains so today, but today she has moved Green with Market Attitude. Ayn is still Ayn, which means I named her correctly.
The kids knew how to fold, staple and mutilate literature, how to sort mail for bulk mailings, how to lay out newsletters, and the rudiments of boothing by the time they were eight and nine. They also could unerringly choose the right answers for what is today known as the World's Smallest Political Quiz on line. Then, we knew it as the Nolan Chart, for its originator, David Nolan, the founder of the Libertarian Party.
A stalwart Libertarian Activist, Ed Ogawa, made up the box with electronic components and switches to be used at the L.A. County Fair. It was used there, but its heaviest usage was between times at home.
Dish washing was occasionally punctuated by questions because of the Nolan Quiz and literature, as the kids got older.
“Mom, what is drug legalization?” “Mom, why do you want to get rid of people after they eat?”
“What?” Actually, I knew Libertarians who had stranger views than that. “It says we want to abolish the FED.” Oh. Explanations were always forthcoming. Had to be.
Raising children is always a challenge, especially when you persist in being different. But sometimes that political experience came in useful for real life, for instance, one day when Ayn was in 7th grade.
Ayn had a tiny glistening tear just beginning to roll down her cheek when I picked her up from school that day. The year was 1986. Ayn had been attending First Lutheran School, Northridge near our home in California since she was two years old, beginning at their pre-school, for four hours a day.
At that point she was just a few weeks from graduating into the 8th Grade, which was as far as First Lutheran went.
“Honey, what's wrong?” I has always been the kind of Mom who wanted to know about all ouchies so I could fix them. If possible.
Ayn sniffed, wiped her eye and began. “They are having the election for school officers for next year. I want to run for Secretary, but I can't.”
A campaign! One of my favorite things.
“But Honey, why can't you win?”
Ayn was and is a very intelligent girl. She received excellent grades, was diligent, hard working, responsible and full of lots of other virtues that qualified her for election to a position of responsibility. She also managed to come back in from playing still clean, no matter what she and her siblings had been up to. Ayn always looked just perfect. With long gold hair that hung in ringlets that Fra Filippo Lippi would have wanted to paint and her startling blue eyes and perfect skin she looked like a little angel. All that biological capital would be a real asset when running for office. My mind leaped ahead to the possibilities.
“Because I am not one of the IN GROUP.”
I paused, considering for a moment what to say to this outrageous assertion.
I had at that point been politically active for a long time. Starting when I had barely put down my copy of Barry Goldwater's “Conscience of a Conservative,” when I was eleven I had been on one continuous and unending campaign. The campaigns came in various kinds. I passed out literature for Goldwater, later for any candidate I thought stood for the principles of freedom, free markets, and civic rectitude. I had left the Republican Party, along with thousands of other people in 1971 because of the outrage of Nixon's Wage and Price Controls, announced on August 15th of that year. I found the LP a short while later and joined, reregistering Libertarian, while I was actually pregnant with Ayn.
Losing causes obviously did not faze me. An election that was winnable was impossibly intriguing.
Ayn thought she could not win because of a few erroneous ideas. She had accepted those ideas as true because the other kids did. I knew the four girls she was referring to. They were not stupid but neither were they particularly intelligent. One always seemed to need lots of extra tutoring. They were all blond, not ugly, and had no visible infirmities; their parents did spend a little more money on irrelevancies, like buying them far too many toys over the years. One, I recalled, had gotten no fewer than ten Cabbage Patch Dolls that she displayed to her less fortunate friends from school.
Like all cliques their 'in power' depended on ideas linked to 'things' that represented status and the assertion of same. Human social ordering is very changeable if you understand the underlying principles. Changing ideas is like changing your underwear. Easy if presented persuasively.
“Honey, you are going to run and you are going to smash the opposition.” Ayn looked up at me doubtfully. The election proved me right.
The girl Ayn ran against cried when she lost. Changing the usual practice school officials refused to announce the vote totals.
Ayn had run her campaign against the bullying presence of cliques with my help as her campaign manager. Fortuitously, this tiny clique had been very obnoxious for many years. Like I said, the kids had known each other from the time they had been in pre-school together. Voting for Ayn became an opportunity to give those in 'power' a slap down. That is irresistible to oppressed majorities.
I injected humor, picking a campaign graphic of the ugliest old woman you can possibly imagine.
Every day Ayn took a few campaign buttons to school using variations of this graphic and a joke and gave the buttons away. She reported that people were buying the buttons from each other.
Check. Attention was riveted on Ayn, the installer of a new school paradigm.
I had tried to persuade Ayn to run for School President but she had resisted the idea she could be elected to such a lofty office.
The whole election was very disturbing for the school administration; they changed the rules for elections immediately. Not that it would have mattered if I had wanted to do it again. More rules create more opportunities.
That election did persuade Ayn that she was not consigned to the nameless mass of betas. Ever after, through High School and college and today, Ayn is an alpha.
The lesson I was trying to illustrate was that ideas can change and when ideas change so does everything else, immediate circumstances and the prospects for the future.
Ideas hold lots of things in place over time. The idea that some small group of people are inherently destined to rule is just an idea a small group manged to sell to the majority. The more recent idea set wholesaled by Bush Co. and the corporations have lot to answer for. The assertion that they have some kind of special decoder ring and are therefore destined to rule are just as silly as Ayn's IN GROUP.
Change the ideas, you change the outcome. Naturally, making Bush Co., their friends and employers, cry because we eliminated their streams of income and power will be just a little more complicated but it can be done.
Project: Installing better ideas. Better ideas are those that let each of us hold our own power and build our own futures.
Doing that is not rocket science.
Centralizing all power and money through streams of income that delivered money into the hands of a bunch of people who act like cases of arrested moral development was a scheme that it took generations for them and their employees to work out. But changing it can be pretty quick.
You need to lose your illusions.
Those illusions are many; they all take you to the mind set that allows others to control you.
“Baffle them with your bullshit.” That is the strategy they have been using for longer than you can imagine.
Those who want to control you will always assume the robes of authority. Question ALL authority. That is how they sold so many trusting people on the idea that a nation founded on the idea that each of us have an absolute right to autonomy somehow ended up being subject to a government that acts like a monarchy.
Silly when you really think about it.
We can in fact change our ideas and so change the whole structure of how we organize ourselves. Doing so will cost less, leaving much more for the things we want to do for ourselves and our communities.
The tools are readily available and more are coming on line all the time.
Start looking for the alpha within. It is there, you just need to recognize it in yourself. Ask Ayn.
And this Halloween, do your own Trick-or-Treating for Ron Paul.