Foundation Vile Center—I should like to see, instead of anrnAmerica First Party, a cluster of 75 or 180 smaller entities: arnWest Kansas First Partv, a Rhode Island First Partv, a SouthernrnOregon First Partv, and so on, representing every nook andrncranm of all 48 states. I say 48 because the revolution’s got tornstart somewhere, so at our house we flv a 48-star flag, honoringrnthe contiguous United States, not those grating pretendersrnAlaska and Hawaii, rotten fruits of empire given statehood inrnthat burst of insanity known as the Cold War.rnThe most thoughtful opponents of stitching the 49th andrn50th stars on the flag were Senator John Stennis, the courtlyrnMississippian, and Senator}. William Fulbright, the Confederaternanti-imperialist. In the Alaska statehood debate, Stennisrnasked if, after admitting this frozen expanse to the I’nion, wernwould then have to “admit Hawaii? And then are we going tornadmit the Virgin Islands? Are we going to admit Puerto Rico?rnAre we going to admit Guam? Okinawa?” (In time. Senator, inrntime.) Stennis wondered “whether we shall take a disconnectedrnarea, whether it be in the Pacific, in South America, inrnAfrica, or anvwhere else . . . in the bosom of our nation?rnWe are changing the pattern of our Union once we launchrnout on this program.” And so Old Glory was defaced bv therncosmopolites.rnBut lo and behold, a liveK native nationalist movement hasrnarisen in Flawaii (members identified by “Kingdom of I lawaii”rnlicense plates), and the crustier Alaskans hac long favoredrnsecession, so to the dispossessed sons of Queen Liliuokalanirnand in atonement for in’ rapacious landsman William SewardrnI recommend the policv laid out b’ the New Zealand bandrnMidnight Oil in its song about Maori land claims:rnstarving me.”rnWe are not starvelings, and we know whom to shoot. (Figurativelyrnspeaking, of course—we should obey the example ofrnSaint Dorothy Day and leave murder as an instrument ofrnpolicy to the United States government.)rnThe new American populism has 1,000 offshoots, but arnSouthern League partisan in Alabama and an anti-nuclearrndump activist in Allegany County, New ‘Vbrk, are comrades inrnthe nascent movement that is opposed, as Jerry Brown saidrnin Chronicles (November 1994), to “a global focus over whichrnvc have virtually no control…. We have to force larger institutionsrnto operate in the interest of local autonomy and localrnpower. . . . L,oealism, if you really take it seriously, is going torninterrupt certain patterns of modern growth and globalism.”rnPlentv of us do take localism seriously, not in its denaturedrnform (block grants! expedited FIHS waivers! hoo boy!) but inrnthe way our fathers understood it, which is to say the octopusrnmust be slain, starting with its most dangerous tentacles (abolishrnthe FBI and CIA, slash the war budget, strip absentee ownersrnof TV and radio licenses, and then in the second h o u r . . . ) .rnThis train may not be bound for glory, but at least we’re not goingrnto Pyongang or Port-au-Prince or Kuwait City.rnWhat began with Henry James shall end with Pete Townshend.rnI ley ou patriots of all bloodlines, you lacoma sons ofrnWobblies and Nebraska sons of Grangers and Tuskegee sons ofrnWashington and Chicago daughters of America Firstcrs: let’srnget together before we get much older. crnThe time has comernA fact’s a factrnIt belongs to themrnLet’s give it backrnAnd in what has become a hackneyed phrase—but one thatrncan ne’er reallv lose its tang—let’s take back our own countrv.rnThere is a famous scene in John Steinbeck’s I’he Grapes ofrnWrath in which a tenant farmer confronts the man exacting himrnfrom his shack:rn”It’s mine. I built it. You bump it down—I’ll be inrnthe window with a rifle. You een come too close and I’llrnpot ()u like a rabbit.”rn”It’s not me. There’s nothing 1 can do. I’ll lose mvrnjob if I don’t do it. And look—suppose vou kill me?rnThc”‘ll just hang vou, but long before you’re hungrnthere’ll be another gu’ on the tractor, and he’ll bum]) thernhouse down. You’re not killing the right gu.”rn”That’s so,” the tenant said. “Who gae ou orders^rnI’ll go after him. I le’s the one to kill.”rn”You’re wrong. He got his orders from the bank. Thernbank told him, ‘Clear those people out or it’s vour job.'”rn”Well, there’s a president of the bank. There’s arnboard of directors. I’ll fill up the magazine of the riflernand go into the bank.”rnThe drier said, “Fellow was telling mc the bank getsrnorders from the Fast. The orders were, ‘Make the landrnshow profit or we’ll close vou up.'”rn”But where does it stop? Who can we shoot? Irndon’t aim to stare to death before 1 kill the man that’srnDriving in Winterrnby Harden HeadrnTimes are hard—hard like falling ice tappingrnOn nw hood and windshield. The broken bitsrnConstitute an awkward arced mosaic.rnLike San Vitalc drained of green and goldrnAnd life. I ,ikc winter. The blades are trappingrnConstellated tesserae, and each fitsrnCompacted in an angle. ArchaicrnIt seems to dream of times before this cold . . .rnBelisarius sails with flags flapping.rnOut of the east where Justinian sitsrnCodifying laws in tomes prosaic,rnI lis image fixed b’ God knows who of old . . .rnBut random patterns of ice on machinesrnSuggest that, es, we might return to dreams.rnMARCH 1996/19rnrnrn