Anarchy in the U.S.A.

Remember, remember: People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people. The quote comes from Bites’ favorite 21st century film, V for Vendetta, and was put to stunning effect by Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul on November 5 when he raised $4.3 million in 24 hours using a Vendetta-themed Internet ad campaign. Paul, a libertarian Constitutionalist from Texas who is considered a long shot by the mainstream media, suddenly has emerged as a force to be reckoned with.

For those who haven’t seen V for Vendetta, November 5 marked the 402nd anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot, in which Guy Fawkes and a group of disenchanted Catholics attempted to blow up Parliament and overthrow the Protestant regime of King James I in 1605. The English holiday Guy Fawkes Night celebrates the failure of the plot, but the film turns that dynamic on its head, positing the anti-hero “V,” an anarchist who wears a Fawkesian mask, as the necessary antidote to a corrupt, totalitarian government.

The film is set in the near future, but as far as Bites is concerned, the future is now. Our government condones invasion of privacy, torture and illegal acts of aggression against foreign countries. It has ceased to obey and enforce the Constitution. In short, our government is corrupt to the core. It no longer fears its people. It no longer fears us.

Ron Paul aims to change all that.

Tortured logic: Anyone who believes the Democrats are somehow going to save us from all of this has another thing coming. Front-running candidates Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards, to varying degrees, are all for maintaining troops in Iraq and—incredibly!—support pre-emptively attacking Iran, despite the fact that there’s not one shred of evidence that the latter country has a nuclear-weapons program.

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s vote in favor of U.S. Attorney General nominee Judge Michael Mukasey this week demonstrates where the Democrats are really coming from. The judge refused to go on record condemning the barbaric practice of waterboarding as torture that is illegal under both U.S. and international law. No problem for DiFi, whose husband, financier Richard Blum, has pocketed millions from military contracts since his wife and the rest of Congress approved the Bush administration’s illegal invasion of Iraq.

Rotten to the core: Don’t get Bites wrong. Not all the members of Congress are corrupt war criminals such as Feinstein. There are some reasonable human beings serving on Capitol Hill; some of them are even running for president. In addition to Paul, there’s Rep. Dennis Kucinich, whose opposition to the war and commitment to social justice is second to no one. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, although not a member of Congress, is also solidly antiwar. Problem is, neither Democrat has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning his party’s nomination.

That leaves Paul, the libertarian physician who’s earned the nickname “Dr. No” for vetoing virtually every spending bill—social, military or otherwise—that comes before Congress. He’s an unabashed supporter of the free market and an opponent of popular programs such as Social Security. In other words, he’s the kind of politician who normally drives Bites nuts.

But these are troubling times, and Bites couldn’t help feeling a glimmer of hope when Paul appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno last week. The Sex Pistols were the musical guest, and the band launched into a searing version of “Anarchy in the U.K.” “Don’t know what I want, but I know how to get it,” singer Johnny Rotten screeched. Then the song ended and Ron Paul did something unimaginable by virtually any other U.S. politician.

He walked across the stage and shook Johnny Rotten’s hand.