Stephen Hunter wrote the novel. Jonathan Lemkin, the screenplay. Shooter was good box office, with a hero that killed scores of American troops in a variety of ways — troops who were unfortunate warriors that obeyed orders of high ranking (corrupt) military and political leaders. But Bobby Lee Swagger had no choice. Innocent or not, these GI’s were pawns, as millions of your fellow citizens are in real life. And like real life, Shooter has one small segment of dialogue that defines it. Ninety nine percent of the film is gratuitous violence — necessarily so. The film was made to rake in bucks. But the film does have a serious message. In it, Hunter and Lemkin expose the truth of systematic government venality that is not fiction. As you hear or read the pivotal dialogue, one name, one event, storms through your memory — Benghazi. You remember the atrocity you’ll never forget. No one in power took responsibility. A crime was committed. No one was indicted. People in high places got away with murder. This exchange explains it:
” . . .nothing, no matter how horrible, ever really happens without the approval of the government. Over there, and here. The problem isn’t the doing. It’s the people in power having to admit that they knew . . . only the underlings go to jail. Their bosses knew. We know their bosses knew. But you don’t say it.”
Bobby Lee Swagger
“What exactly happened in Africa?”
“Somehow villagers didn’t think an oil pipeline was a good enough reason to move their village . . .
“So they asked them all nicely to move and when they didn’t, they just killed them all?
“No. They didn’t ask. They just killed them. So the next village won’t need to be asked. There is a mass grave with 400 bodies, men, women, children. . .”
“Who (is responsible)?”
“A senator. From Montana, I think. You don’t get it. There is no head to cut off. It’s a conglomerate. If one of them betrays the principles of the accrual of money and power, the others betray him. What it is, is human weakness. You can’t kill that with a gun.”
Worth repeating. “If one of them betrays the principles of the accrual of money and power, the others betray him. What it is, is human weakness. You can’t kill that with a gun.”
In that one sentence, you know all you have to know about Washington — about the Beltway Club, about Congress, about the Supreme Court and a massive, abusive bureaucracy. The Kavanaugh hearings provided all the evidence any fifth grader would need to understand the wreckage, the rot that comes with absolute power. And Washington — Trump included — is powerless to do anything about it. Newly elected lawmakers are powerless. If you think the GOP will vote to reduce Federal power, sign up now for the funny farm because you’re delusional. You are. You think The Constitution will protect your basic rights. Which Constitution? The one that established the Balance of Powers in 1789? Or the 2000-page one your vaunted Supreme Court has decided the Founders were too stupid to create in the beginning? As your country creeps methodically into socialism — regardless of who is president and what party has power — over 80% of the American people are fat, clueless and indifferent. Something like cattle. No, exactly like cattle. They chew their cuds and watch as the Federal Government mandates the education of their children, the regulation of business, the labor of people, the housing of people, the health of people, the marriage of people, the birth of people, the transportation of people and the energy and climate of a nation. These are responsibilities The Constitution gave to the States — in the beginning. Now States are irrelevant. Totally. Jumping when the Federal Government says, “Jump.” The result of absolute power is a $20+ trillion debt, a $140 trillion unfunded liability, inequality before the law, cheating, lying and stealing — all in the name of runaway greed.
So — you ask — why don’t the States exercise absolute power and convene the Convention of States and chop the Federal Government at its knees, restoring it to its Constitutional limits? It’s a fair question. You can only surmise an opinion. State Governments are smaller versions of the Federal Government — hostile to change. Their leaders? Terrified to rock the boat and risk their careers. And that’s the optimum word — careers. Not temporary public service. Careers. Cradle to the grave. Celebrity status. The accrual of money and power. You can’t kill that with a gun.
Even so, twelve courageous states think it’s time to act. You can only hope something will incite the cattle to stampede.