Post Separation Syndrome
Well I was the chairman of the Maryland Libertarian Party. How could I actually subscribe to a newspaper that would not cover political candidates who were not first vetted and approved by the establishment who were always screwing things up just like today? Besides, we had the Moonie paper - the Washington Times. The Washington Times actually published lots of my letters and even had a few real American independent, Constitution supporting, Jeffersonian type commentators like Paul Craig Roberts, Joseph Sobran and James Bovard. I'm telling you - when you can read commentators relating examples of how in every case legalizing liberty is the best thing to do over all...it's refreshing! The problem then more so than now was that the vast majority of Americans were confused about the definition of liberty. They confused it with absolute freedom...to say - piss on your lawn or crap in your driveway. Liberty, if I may remind everyone just in case, is responsible freedom. In different words, liberty is engaging in any individual or group activity of free will that pleases you which does not infringe on the rights of others to do likewise. Dig?
How the devil is any public school educated American supposed to understand these American concepts when all the newspapers and the growing number television and cable networks never even acknowledge that there is any other way to go than to let the government do it and oversee it? I began subscribing to the Times and stopped reading the Post. It was the early years of the 90's decade and my wife and I bought a house in Prince William, Virginia. This was a big mistake for many reasons including having the bad luck to move right next door to a criminally insane woman who terrorized my family for almost the entire seven year sentence that we lived in Prince William county. Well...it felt like a sentence anyway. Prince William county is like P.G. county Virginia. Washington region life-long residents will know what I mean. What your government local central planners in both counties in their respective states of Maryland and Virginia across the river for the most part have designed is a high density region. Using zoning laws they cram as many people in as possible with tons of apartments, town homes and condos. No roads but lots of tiny domiciles. All the other counties pretty much ban apartments, town homes and condos. Under this central planning, the riff raff working class Joe Six Packs are crammed into these counties while the elites can live in the richer counties complete with adequate living space and even luxuries like plenty of nice roads and not having a strip mall every third traffic light. And speaking of traffic and lights, P.G. and P.W. both have plenty of each. In these counties it is all about control. The elites believe that the working class residents of both counties require micro management because most never made it to community college much less Harvard. So we're too stupid to mind our own affairs. If we have children then we must all have special oversight by the child protective authorities. One of the tactics used by my crazy neighbor was to call socialist services on me saying I was abusing my children. She had it backwards. My children were abusing me as they still do today somewhat even as young adults. It's what all kids do to their parents until one day they have kids themselves and must eat the crow they fed to their parents. But my wife and I were the subjects of bi-yearly investigations. Each time fortunately found innocent.
The fact is I picked up politically in Virginia from where I left off in Maryland. The Virginia Libertarians tried to get me to be the Virginia state chairman. But my home owners association had just elected me President so my time would be precious. However, I agreed to be Vice Chairman. I was reelected President of my association two more times - unanimously. I had to force out the old board who was squandering the owner's association dues. I fired everybody except the garbage company who were the only contractors doing a competitive job. I ended up running for the Chairman of the Prince William Board of Supervisors, which is the head of the county government. I was getting lots of letters printed in the local papers because they seemed to enjoy my libertarian Georgist perspective. A Libertarian Georgist by the way is an individual who loves freedom and agrees with Henry George on how to share the earth so we don't have to fight over it all the time for the rich guys. Read "Progress and Poverty" for more details.
Though I lost the election I was shaking things up locally and making politicos nervous. Hilda Barge, my local supervisor accosted me while I was gathering petition signatures to get onto the ballot for my race. She shouted at a person who was signing my petition, "Don't sign that petition! It's for Gerry Cleary!! That was her Republican opponent in the upcoming election. I said, "No it's not, Hilda. It's for me. To get me on the ballot." She replied, "For what?" I said, "Chairman of the Board of Supervisors." She grabbed the petition clipboard from the shocked person who still hadn't signed it. She took a look then threw it on the floor in absolute contempt and walked away. How dare I run for the top county position!
As I mentioned the socialist services kept investigating us even though our family was a typical Beaver Cleaver type family where I went to work while my wife stayed home and trained the children to be adults one day. At this writing I can say we are getting close to that ultimate goal after which my wife and I plan on making our kids miserable using the standard parental revenge - guilt. Still, it is scary, humiliating and stressful to be investigated by these local kid welfare Nazis. Then Tom Shultz, my neighborhood friend who was on the board with me and was well connected with local politics gave me a warning after hearing me complaining about another investigation. In essence he said I talk too much. Running for office I made a lot of local politicos look stupid and amateurish and I had too many of my ideas being printed in the papers. I was rocking the boat but I was real popular with the locals. So investigating us was like a weapon. We're talking about my children who now numbered four.
One of the last investigations is typical. I get home from work in the evening only to find a couple of cops and a socialist services worker sitting in my living room for another parental inquisition. They were there for me to explain myself about an allegation of me locking my children in my shed. After a couple minutes of polite chit chat the socialist worker got down to business. "We have information that you may be locking your children in your shed to discipline them." The disgust on my face was apparent as I hesitated then smiled. I let out a loud laugh because this was so stupid and easy to refute. I replied, "Of all the baseless accusations that your agency has leveled at my wife and I that you have always found us innocent of - this is the most ridiculous allegation I've ever heard. Come with me please. You too Mathew." I told the group and my son. We walked out to the small backyard and I continued to explain myself to the inquisitors for the county. "You see folks, this is my tool shed. The reason I have this lock on the door is to keep children out of my shed." I unlocked the shed, removed the pad lock, pulled the bolt back on one door away from the other door. Then I reached in and grabbed the metal rod on the inside that secured that door from opening making sure it was secure. "Okay Mat...get in." My son got into the shed and I closed the door, slide the bold into position and put the pad lock back on and locked it. "Okay Mat." I said at which point my son grabbed the metal rod holding the doors in position on the inside, lifted it out of its hole, pushed the doors open and walking out of the shed. "You see ladies and gentlemen...you can't lock a child in my tool shed. You can only lock them out. I'm locking children out of my tool shed because tools are valuable as well as dangerous." They glanced at one another sheepishly and I must say they looked the fools. Of course everybody wanted to go home now and make a quick escape but I punished them with polite conversation. I was talking them to death. After about an hour of them sitting their doing their best to be polite while I rambled and joked they said, "Well...we've got to be going." But I was still talking as they walked down my path and got into their cars. I knew right then that, while I could be investigated at any time in the future by the socialist services, it probably would not be this browbeaten group just freshly escaped from my conversational death grip.
I took my friend's advice and shut up though. I couldn't risk my children. I left the Presidency of the home owners association and I quit writing letters. But this was during the Clinton administration and my separation from the Washington Post was stretching into several years at that point. I was working for a company in DC called The LanguagExchange which later became Language One. It was Fall of 1998 when one of the temp companies I had worked with years earlier called to ask if I would work for the Washington Post proofreading at night. The economy was roaring so they were having a hard time filling the position since the hours were seven PM until two-thirty AM. However, for me this was perfect. I could still work my day job and work at the Post too. I needed the extra money because my wife and I were planning on buying another house outside of Virginia, moving there and turning the one in Prince William into a rental. We needed to escape my crazy neighbor who was throwing flammable liquids on my front door then cutting our phone line, shooting her pistol off in the back yard and I was to find out later held that gun to my five year-old son Andy's head on the playground and said, "Die!" My kids couldn't play in the back yard until I built a huge shed that got me into hot water with the homeowners association. The new President sited us for having a fence that was too high. I showed him the association's by-laws, which I had recently rewritten then had it ratified by the homeownership membership. So I knew what was legal. I pointed out that the document says fences should be approximately 6 feet high. Cortez our new President asserted that approximately meant less than six feet. I can't say enough for that public school education system. My new fence made it more difficult for Lynn the crazy neighbor to throw bricks over the fence and kill or maim one of my children.
So the extra work would facilitate our plans to flee. Let me say that plan turned into a fiasco when it ended in us losing the property after our renters turned into squatters. The Bank of America confused my credit with my father who had just passed away and we even ended up living in a hotel for several weeks and with friends until we could secure a rental. The stress damn near killed me and I got very sick. I started looking more like Ickabob Crane and less like big Bubba.
I had stopped working for the LanguagExchange by then and was solely working with the Washington Post. However, I was only a temporary surrounded by a floor full of old-timers still in the union. I was bound to have conflicts being a scab but I must say the money was great and I was working in the worker's paradise.