30 Pieces of Silver: How the Leaders of the America(ns) First Movement Have Sold it Out
by Brent Hamachek
Here is the strong opening: My observations over the past twelve months or so have led me to the inescapable conclusion that this thing that conservatives call a “movement” (which is more like the drunkard’s walk toward liberty) has been hijacked by people who have used their positions of leadership, positions typically bestowed upon them and not earned, to exploit the genuinely committed and hardworking people who are down on the manufacturing floor trying to make real change happen.
Patriotism has taken a back seat to power, privilege, prestige, and, most disgustingly, profit.
This is the sort of declaration that leaves the reader on the edge of their seat waiting for names. None are forthcoming. My objective in writing this is not to end up in court facing a libel suit brought by people who have used their positions of influence to make enough money to bury me in legal fees. Rather, I write this in the hopes of raising eyebrows and elevating discernment among the members of freedom’s “working class.” I want them to become critical thinkers who can evolve into critics when they take a close look at the people leading organizations and various “campaigns,” under the noblest of banners, that serve as nothing more than a veil to hide their own personal ambitions.
Let me start by explaining how we got to this point.
Leaders without ladders:
Over the past several years, America has experienced three seismic jolts that while we have seen each of them in type before, we have never seen them all happen at the same time. They are:
The weaponization of the criminal justice system to persecute political enemies.
The onset of a global pandemic that led to authoritarian, even totalitarian, power being exercised by politicians, members of the medical community, the media, and large industry.
An overtly corrupt 2020 election with evidence of virtually every form of tampering in every crucial swing state.
Taken by themselves, each of these events have historical precedent. The Spanish Flu of 1918, the excesses of Hoover’s FBI, and the 1960 election that Lyndon Johnson and Mayor Daley almost certainly stole from Richard Nixon. That said, in today’s vernacular this was everything, everywhere, all at once. This has been a nation in almost free fall when it comes to protecting individual liberty. Regular citizens have been forced to confront people behaving badly while operating within the very institutions that they had been raised to trust. They have been afraid for their Constitutional rights, and they have feared for their lives.
Some of them actually have died, either at the hands of their own doctor who refused to treat them for the Chinese coronavirus, or, as in the case of Ashli Babbitt, at the hands of an overzealous law enforcement agent. Those who have lived want to vote for change, but they have come to believe that their vote no longer counts.
This combination of fear, frustration, and anger has caused millions across the country to want to “join the fight” and get involved. These are applaudable aspirations that require courage and commitment. They also require leadership.
Need leadership? Not a problem. “Leaders” have crawled out from under every rock you can imagine. Name any concern and you can find someone (typically more than one) who has arrived at the forefront as either a not-for-profit President, a traveling conservative circus event organizer, or simply a public figure on a pedestal making their living by charging large fees and ginning up crowds. These people know what to say to motivate people and they attract a following of devotees who empty their hearts and wallets in order to follow them.
The problem with these newly arisen leaders is that they haven’t actually climbed the leadership ladder and arrived at their position of notoriety through effort. This leadership ladder isn’t standard in its height or in the spacing of the rungs, but nonetheless, it exists in some manner or form. George Patton rose through the ranks. Nelson Mandela suffered persecution and fought back for decades. Winston Churchill served Britain for nearly half a century. There was nothing about these men that was “sudden.”
To be sure there are exceptions. John F. Kennedy became a hero with the PT 109 incident because somebody sunk his ship. He then climbed a shortened ladder, a stepstool if you will, to leadership. There are many other examples of exceptions, but those exceptions only serve to prove the rule.
In large part, many of our current leaders are a cluster of exceptions. Strange times have elevated them to their respected role simply because something either happened to them (e.g., they were politically persecuted by the legal system), they became critics of the measures taken during the pandemic, or they threw their mouth or their money at challenging the 2020 election (perhaps they were themselves a victim of deceitful practices while running as a candidate). They were catapulted to stardom and when they arrived, they looked around and said, “Hey, I just might be able to take advantage of this.”
And take advantage they have.
It isn’t just those that we have identified as leaders who have not let the crises of the last few years go to waste, it is also those that they closely employ in their service, their useful idiots, if you will. Every con artist needs a shill to help them take their mark. There has been no shortage of shills from which to draw to assist in pulling off the great American sting.
Dr Seuss had this figured out.
For anyone seeking to find the true essence of the human experience, there are several different choices. They can read the classic Greek works of Plato and Aristotle. Alternatively, they might read both the Torah and New Testament for a more spiritual take. They might even just try to consume as much Oprah Winfrey content as they can find on cable and YouTube. As for me, I turn always to that great philosopher Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss.
In his classic tale of the Sneetches, Seuss narrates that there are Sneetches with stars on their bellies (the superior ones) and those without (inferior). This causes resentment and unrest until a fella by the name of McBean comes into town with a machine that put stars on bellies. Those without “stars on thars” line up quickly and pay for them to be added. Seeing their “star value” lessened, those that had stars originally wanted them removed. McBean could do that too! What ensued was a free-for-all of Sneetches running through the star-on and star-off machine until McBean ultimately pulled out of town having taken them for all of their money.
This is what has been happening in the patriotic movement with the opportunist who have road into town, like McBean, making promises to fulfill desires. They put stars on and take stars off in an effort to reach into the pockets or the hearts of patriots. Philosophers have warned us for centuries about man exploiting man, but their writings are complex. It takes them a while to get to the point. Seuss did it simply and eloquently…and with pictures!
When people are in conflict, they are open to suggestion. That’s because conflict brings with it desperation. The patriots in this country are in an almost permanent state of conflict in an eleventh-hour fight to save the Republic and it seems as though McBean is making machines on an assembly line. The exploiters are everywhere, and the evidence of their mischief abounds.
What I’ve seen has turned my trust to stone:
Here is just some of what either I, or someone close to me, have witnessed in the movement from its leaders and their shills during the not-so-distant past:
People being hired to work on behalf on some respected leader or organization and then being denied full payment for their agreed-to service.
An event being stolen away from the organizing group by an unscrupulous planner who kept the permits, and the event, for themselves.
Monies being taken from patriotic individuals in exchange for promises of speaking engagements and other opportunities that never materialized and the money never being repaid.
Deliberate misrepresentation of news content by a major conservative media platform with a large and trusting following simply to get “clicks” and generate misplaced discontent.
People willing to lie on behalf of organizations and change their recollections by 180 degrees simply to secure a paycheck.
The outright hijacking and stealing of the efforts and ideas of honest patriotic citizens by someone simply to take the credit for themselves and profit.
Individuals starting tax exempt organizations as a means by which they can launder money, self-profit, or both.
Public figures with loyal followings telling those citizens not to vote because the elections are rigged which effectively surrenders that election to the other side.
One movement “leader” asking another movement “leader” to lie under oath because their testimony would prove inconvenient for their own narrative.
Religious leaders exploiting their flock by telling them that “what Jesus would do” would be to hate their enemy and worship themselves.
You want names? I have them. You aren’t getting them. Pay attention. You can find them yourself if you are just willing to open your eyes and look.
This political movement world has become infested with the lowest form of bottom feeders. They exploit the passion and patriotism of people for their own personal benefit. They “do” nothing but they “take” anything and everything. The business world is filled with the same kinds of people, but they are constrained by the realities of the market. Business requires some notion of value in an exchange and there is there is still at least a connection to “earning” what you get. The political movement world is funded largely by donations, some retail, some wholesale. People give their time, their talent, and their treasures because they believe deeply in that for which they are fighting. Their commitment makes them vulnerable.
And there are plenty of folks willing to do whatever they can to take advantage of that weakness born of love for country.
What can you do?
Servant leadership has become a trendy phrase in business. It means just what it says; a leader who acts in that role as a servant to those they lead. You will hear these carnival barkers and their agents use a variation of this phrase everywhere you turn. “I am her to serve the people.” “I am serving my country.” “I stand in service to the Constitution.” I’m known to use profanity in my speech quite frequently, but I never use it in my writing. I’ll use it here as I throw the bullshit flag on nearly all of them.
At the outset I said my goal was to make the reader think more critically. I implore you to be less trusting. It isn’t a comfortable way to live, but if you really care about changing the course of the country, then you need to force yourself to gaze upon those around you, those professing to lead you, with a jaundiced eye. Here are some tips:
Do not surrender your group’s mission or vision or let it be compromised over the promise funding from some large benefactor or organization.
Be careful about buying products where you are led to believe that some portion of the proceeds are going to a cause in which you believe. I can assure you it isn’t necessarily true.
Those who talk in platitudes generally lack gratitude and carry a bad attitude. If you like the clever rhyming, use it as way to remember to avoid those who talk the loudest and who present the boldest. They are often just leeches in wolves clothing.
Avoid people who use their own martyrdom in order to promote themselves. Remember, martyrs typically don’t live to tell their story. Be wary of those that have.
Beware of people encouraging you to take risks on their behalf while they sit upon a safe perch. Don’t let them pick you up by your ankles and use you to beat their nemesis over the head.
Don’t put anybody on a pedestal. You might like what someone appears to be doing or what you hear them saying but don’t transgress into idol worship. Too many of these leaders in the movement have built a cult-like following. That was bad in Guyana and its bad here, too.
Listen very carefully when someone starts to tell you what your “duty is as a Christian.” Often times those who wear Christ on their sleave carry something else, something darker and manipulative, in their hearts. If you are truly a Christian, you don’t need somebody to tell you what Jesus wants you to do. You already know.
You’re better than this!
There is a great expression that goes, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” Great expression. Bad idea, at least in this case. I hope everyone reading this takes a step back, if for just a moment, and checks their premises about everything they are doing and everyone they are following. If you see the signs of corruption in someone in this movement, especially in leadership roles, trust your instincts. Step back and step away. Resist the siren’s song filled with inspiring chords and lofty lyrics. It is just a song. Nothing more.
Backstage those performers are laughing at you. They are calling you suckers and planning on how they can fool you with their next trick.
They are legion and they are powerful. The good news is that you give them their power so you can take it away. Stand as we the people, not we the sheep. These political parasites and snake oil salesman don’t deserve you. You’re better than this. You’re better than them.
There is no limit as to how low they will stoop or to what lengths they will go to take advantage of your oft-blinding love of country. We all know what Judas did for thirty pieces of silver. There’s a whole lot more than that to be had in 21st Century America.
Brent Hamachek is an author, speaker, and consultant whose most recent work, Zelenko: How to Decapitate the Serpent, is available in all formats on amazon.