The Perpetrator Pretends to Be a Victim
It’s a funny thing about fraud. It’s a bit like poisoning a well. Once you’ve done it, there’s not really any going back, either for the water or for you. I guess people wanting to use the well could conceivably purify the water after the fact, but that would take both an honest assessment of the poisoning, and expert knowledge of how to get poison out of water. Lacking either of those elements, the water is poisoned—that’s that. And regardless of whether well-meaning people clean up your mess or not, you’re a poisoner—and that’s that.
If, for example, you put cyanide into the town well every day for a week, and then some other bastard shows up in the dead of night and puts arsenic into it, you don’t suddenly become a victim of poisoning. You’re still the rotten schmuck who poisoned the town well. The fact that there’s more than one schmuck in the vicinity doesn’t make you an innocent victim. It just makes the poor schlubs in your town really unlucky.
And if, (just for example), you commit election fraud throughout the Democratic primary, and then, when you fraudulently advance to the general election clutching the ill-gotten gain of the nomination to your breast, your rival commits election fraud against you, that doesn’t make you a victim of election fraud. It just means there’s another schmuck as bad as you playing the same rotten game you are. The victims are the voters.
Yes, the voters. Those people you’ve been committing character assassinations on for months. The ones you’re trying to set at each others’ throats in an ideological war. The ones whose existing race war both you and your rival are trying to expand. They’re the ones who were the victims of the fraud that was committed, in ways both subtle and blatant, direct and indirect, to benefit Hillary Clinton’s primary campaign. And if Trump committed fraud in the general, those unlucky voters have now been robbed twice.
Ordinarily, it might be a time for the angry townies to ride both schmucks out of town on a rail. But something’s wrong with the Town Crier. He’s everywhere, he’s got the biggest megaphone ever seen, and he’s playing his own part of the rotten game. He’s pretending that the cyanide in the well never happened. Even when people were dropping like flies, he kept saying it was just a winter virus. When people said there was something wrong with the water, he ignored them. The really persistent ones he called crazy, or said they wanted to kill the Black people in town. The fact that this made no sense didn’t seem to bother him. Many in town suspected he’d been paid off by the Cyanide Schmuck. Later they found some letters confirming their suspicions.
Now that it seems there could be arsenic in the already-cyanided well, the Town Crier is going out of his mind with righteous fury. He preaches against the Arsenic Schmuck daily. Well, he was doing that already, but now he’s accusing Arsenic Schmuck of a serious crime. And he’s subtly turning Cyanide Schmuck from a danger to the community as bad or worse than Arsenic Schmuck into an innocent victim who should be given the keys to the city.
Unfortunately, by now the town’s entire water system needs to be overhauled. Some efforts have been made to get bottled water to the townsfolk in the meantime, but recently the gal with the biggest truck has been seen in town talking loudly about how it’s all Arsenic Schmuck’s fault and how we need to search his house to find evidence of the poison. And she’s not using her big truck to haul clean water into town anymore.
It’s starting to feel a little Invasion of the Body Snatchers around here.
While the town tries to come up with a plan, a few good basic rules:
- Don’t blame anyone who makes less than 250K/yr. They are, at worst, willing flunkies of one of the Schmucks.
- Don’t trust anyone who works with the Schmucks in an official capacity.
- Under no circumstances trust the Town Crier.
- Don’t kill anyone, especially not your neighbors.
- Be kind.
- Be generous.
- Forgive those who fall prey to deceit and manipulation, for you too, in your time, have been tricked.
- Don’t forget what just happened. Don’t forget what happened 5-10 years ago. Don’t forget what happened 20 years ago.
- Find new sources of water, and new ways to get it to the people.
- As Wendell Berry says, practice resurrection.
Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front
by Wendell Berry
Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion — put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
[Apologies for posting and running, like I've been doing for the past few weeks. My internet connection and I are currently living in two different houses, and I have to steal bits of time to come over here and post. I've been posting a lot fewer diaries on that account, because I don't think it's fair to dine and dash, but this latest development disgusts me so much that I really needed to write. I promise to get to any comments within 24 hours (that's what I've been doing with the Open Threads), and I really appreciate you guys' indulgence on this one. ]