Be No Second American Revolution: The Futility of an
By John W. Whitehead
standing military force, with an overgrown
Executive will not long be safe companions to
- America is a ticking time bomb.
remains to be seen is who—or what—will set fire to
poised at what seems to be the pinnacle of a
manufactured breakdown, with police shooting unarmed
citizens, snipers shooting police, global and
domestic violence rising, and a political showdown
between two presidential candidates equally matched
preparations for the Republican and Democratic
national conventions taking place in Cleveland and
Philadelphia—augmented by a
$50 million federal security grant for each
city—provide a foretaste of how the government plans
to deal with any individual or group that steps out
of line: they will be censored, silenced, spied on,
intimidated, interrogated, investigated,
recorded, tracked, labeled, held at gunpoint,
detained, restrained, arrested, tried and found
instance, anticipating civil unrest and mass
demonstrations in connection with the Republican
Party convention, Cleveland officials set up
makeshift prisons, extra courtrooms to handle
protesters, and shut down a
local university in order to house 1,700 riot police
and their weapons. The city’s courts are
preparing to process up to
1,000 people a day. Additionally, the FBI has
conducting “interviews” with activists in
advance of the conventions to discourage them from
engaging in protests.
mistake, the government is ready for a civil
government has been preparing for this moment for
2008 Army War College report revealed that
“widespread civil violence inside the United States
would force the defense establishment to reorient
priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic
order and human security.” The 44-page report goes
on to warn that potential causes for such civil
unrest could include another terrorist attack,
“unforeseen economic collapse,
loss of functioning political and legal order,
purposeful domestic resistance or insurgency,
pervasive public health emergencies, and
catastrophic natural and human disasters.”
reports by the Department of Homeland Security to
identify, monitor and label
right-wing and left-wing activists and military
veterans as extremists (a.k.a. terrorists) have
manifested into full-fledged pre-crime surveillance
programs. Almost a decade later, after locking down
the nation and spending billions to fight terrorism,
the DHS has concluded that the
greater threat is not ISIS but domestic
government has been amassing an arsenal of military
weapons for use domestically and equipping and
training their “troops” for war. Even government
agencies with largely administrative functions such
as the Food and Drug Administration, Department of
Veterans Affairs, and the Smithsonian have been
acquiring body armor, riot helmets and shields,
cannon launchers and police firearms and ammunition.
In fact, there are now at least
120,000 armed federal agents carrying such weapons
who possess the power to arrest.
out this profit-driven campaign to turn American
citizens into enemy combatants (and America into a
battlefield) is a technology sector that is
colluding with the government to create a Big
Brother that is
all-knowing, all-seeing and inescapable. It’s
not just the drones,
fusion centers, license plate readers, stingray
devices and the NSA that you have to worry about.
You’re also being tracked by the
black boxes in your cars, your cell phone, smart
devices in your home, grocery loyalty cards, social
media accounts, credit cards, streaming services
such as Netflix, Amazon, and e-book reader accounts.
All of this
has taken place right under our noses, funded with
our taxpayer dollars and carried out in broad
daylight without so much as a general outcry from
astounding how convenient we’ve made it for the
government to lock down the nation.
allowed ourselves to be acclimated to the occasional
lockdown of government buildings,
Jade Helm military drills in small towns so that
special operations forces can get “realistic
military training” in “hostile” territory, and Live
Active Shooter Drill training exercises, carried
out at schools, in shopping malls, and on public
transit, which can and do fool law enforcement
officials, students, teachers and bystanders into
thinking it’s a real crisis.
of recent years—the invasive surveillance, the
extremism reports, the civil unrest, the protests,
the shootings, the bombings, the military exercises
and active shooter drills, the color-coded alerts
and threat assessments, the fusion centers, the
transformation of local police into extensions of
the military, the distribution of military equipment
and weapons to local police forces, the government
databases containing the names of dissidents and
potential troublemakers—have all conjoined to create
an environment in which “we the people” are more
distrustful and fearful of each other and more
reliant on the government to keep us safe.
that’s the point.
powers-that-be want us to feel vulnerable.
us to fear each other and trust the government’s
hired gunmen to keep us safe from terrorists,
extremists, jihadists, psychopaths, etc.
all, the powers-that-be want us to feel powerless to
protect ourselves and reliant on and grateful for
the dubious protection provided by the American
strategy is working.
of liberty is dying.
be no second American Revolution.
There is no
place in our nation for the kind of armed revolution
our forefathers mounted against a tyrannical Great
Britain. Such an act would be futile and tragic. We
are no longer dealing with a distant, imperial king
but with a tyrant of our own making: a militarized,
technologized, heavily-financed bureaucratic machine
that operates beyond the reach of the law.
being sent to the citizenry is clear: there will be
no revolution, armed or otherwise.
believes that they can wage—and win—an armed revolt
against the American police state has not been
paying attention. Those who wage violence against
the government and their fellow citizens are playing
right into the government’s hands. Violence cannot
and will not be the answer to what ails America.
instigated by the government or the citizenry,
violence will only lead to more violence. It does
not matter how much firepower you have. The
government has more firepower.
It does not
matter how long you think you can hold out by
relying on survivalist skills, guerilla tactics and
sheer grit. The government has the resources to
outwait, out-starve, outman, outgun and generally
government of wolves will not be overtaken by force.
Unfortunately, we waited too long to wake up to the
We did not
anticipate that “we the people” would become the
enemy. For years, the government has been warning
dangers of domestic terrorism, erecting
surveillance systems to monitor its own
classification systems to label any viewpoints
that challenge the status quo as extremist, and
training law enforcement agencies to equate
anyone possessing anti-government views as a
government failed to explain was that the domestic
terrorists would be of the government’s own making,
whether intentional or not.
endless wars abroad, by bringing the instruments of
war home, by transforming police into extensions of
the military, by turning a free society into a
suspect society, by treating American citizens like
enemy combatants, by discouraging and criminalizing
a free exchange of ideas, by making violence its
calling card through SWAT team raids and militarized
police, by fomenting division and strife among the
citizenry, by acclimating the citizenry to the
sights and sounds of war, and by generally making
peaceful revolution all but impossible, the
government has engineered an environment in which
domestic violence has become inevitable.
What we are
now experiencing is a civil war, devised and
instigated in part by the U.S. government.
for this particular conflict is already foregone:
the police state wins.
objective: compliance and control.
strategy: destabilize the economy through endless
wars, escalate racial tensions, polarize the
populace, heighten tensions through a show of force,
intensify the use of violence, and then, when all
hell breaks loose, clamp down on the nation for the
good of the people and the security of the nation.
does that leave us?
fact that communities across the country are, for
all intents and purposes, being held hostage by a
government that is armed to the teeth and more than
willing to use force in order to “maintain order,”
most Americans seem relatively unconcerned. Worse,
we have become so fragmented as a nation, so hostile
to those with whom we might disagree, so distrustful
of those who are different from us, that we are
easily divided and conquered.
been desensitized to violence, acclimated to a
military presence in our communities and persuaded
that there is nothing we can do to alter the
seemingly hopeless trajectory of the nation. In this
way, the floundering economy, the blowback arising
from military occupations abroad, police shootings,
the nation’s deteriorating infrastructure and all of
the other mounting concerns have become non-issues
to a populace that is easily entertained,
distracted, manipulated and controlled.
of police clad in body armor and gas masks, wielding
semiautomatic rifles and escorting an armored
vehicle through a crowded street, a scene likened to
military patrol through a hostile city,” no
longer causes alarm among the general populace.
We are fast
becoming an anemic, weak, pathetically diluted
offspring of our revolutionary forebears incapable
of mounting a national uprising against a tyrannical
If there is
to be any hope of reclaiming our government and
restoring our freedoms, it will require a different
kind of coup: nonviolent, strategic and grassroots,
starting locally and trickling upwards. Such
revolutions are slow and painstaking. They are
political, in part, but not through any established
parties or politicians.
all, as I make clear in my book
Battlefield America: The War on the American
People, for any chance of success,
such a revolution will require more than a change of
politics: it will require a change of heart among
the American people, a reawakening of the American
spirit, and a citizenry that cares more about their
freedoms than their fantasy games.
Whitehead is an attorney and author who has written,
debated and practiced widely in the area of
constitutional law and human rights. Whitehead's
concern for the persecuted and oppressed led him, in
1982, to establish The Rutherford Institute, a
nonprofit civil liberties and human rights
organization whose international headquarters are
located in Charlottesville, Virginia. Whitehead
serves as the Institute’s president and
spokesperson, in addition to writing a weekly
commentary that is posted on The Rutherford
Institute’s website (www.rutherford.org)