The world has changed much over the last fifteen years. When I wrote “Philosophy for the Third Millennia” back in 1996, the world was a very different place. The internet was in its infancy. Back then it wasn’t like today, where it seems every person with an opinion posts that opinion online for everyone to see. I perceived a need at the time, to speak what I considered truth and wisdom to as many people as I could. Nobody else was saying anything like what I was thinking. There was no blogosphere. There weren’t millions of people transmitting their thoughts to everyone else. It was a time where a strong voice might not have been drowned out by the sheer number of dissenting opinions. A powerful idea might have had opportunity to catch on.
The story of why I’ve waited until now to make these words public is not one I’m proud of. I’m sure that when made public there will be those who will call me a liar and claim that this story is not true. I am further sure that those people who dispute the truth of this story do not know me. I’ve no reason to lie about something which I’ve been ashamed of for fifteen years. I’ve shared this story with several people I’ve trusted over this time and any one of them will attest to the accuracy of this account. While I can prove that I wrote these words in 1996, my account of my encounter with The Man will need to be taken at face value. The actions, or rather inaction I’ve engaged in for fifteen years will have to be proof enough.
It was a cold night in early November 1996. In the weeks prior I’d finished work on something which I was certain was going to change the world. My aim had been to concisely and powerfully state my points, and write something to inspire people to get involved and do something about what I saw as negative trends which we were (and still are) facing. Somewhere between a book and a pamphlet, I’d intentionally not made it too long, as I wanted to get as many people as possible to read it. I’d printed out this powerful treatise and sent copies to many publishing companies. I was hoping to find a publisher to put this in as many hands as possible.
I was walking from my friend’s house to my car, which was parked on a side street just off the Ave in Seattle. To be exact, it was on 12th Ave NE between 51st and 52nd streets and it was just about 11:00. I approached my car and put the key in the door to unlock it. It was then that I heard someone say my name, “David Francis?” and I looked up and saw a man standing under a street light about two cars up. I replied, “Yeah,” and he glanced around for a moment (finding the street completely deserted) before he approached. By the time he was about one car length from me, I could see that he was pointing a gun at me.
As The Man approached he said, “I just want to talk to you for a minute.” I still remember staring at the gun, frozen with fear. He got to the car door and said, “Shall we get in the car?” In the absence of any better idea, I complied. I opened my door, hit the door unlock button and he opened the passenger door, and we both got in. He told me to close the door, and I did.
Throughout the conversation I had with The Man in my car that night, I can remember I barely looked at his face. I was focused on the gun that he was holding in his lap, pointed at me. I can remember he looked like an average white guy, with very short hair, and maybe 35 years old. I didn’t ever look him in the eyes though. I looked at the gun and listened.
The Man proceeded to tell me that I’d written an interesting book but that I was not going to be permitted to publish it. He said that I could live a long and happy life, and so could people I cared about, but only if I gave up on trying to distribute my book and got out of the changing minds business altogether. He also said explicitly that it had been easy to find me, and would also be easy to find any member of my family. He very calmly explained that not only would I not survive to see my book published, but nobody I cared about would either. After all of this, he asked me if I’d understood what he’d said and if I’d agree to comply. I assured him that I did understand, and that I would. At that, he simply abruptly got out and walked away toward the rear of the car. Shaking, I put the key in the ignition and pulled out, heading in the opposite direction.
Over the next weeks I can remember that I was really paranoid. I absolutely complied with what I’d agreed to, which also included severing ties and friendships with people who were very politically minded. I didn’t want any of my actions to be interpreted as anything other than what I’d agreed to in the car that night. I didn’t know what actions those might be, so I didn’t do much of anything except go to work and school, and didn’t really talk to anybody about much of anything not related to those two things. I had no idea who The Man was, who had sent him, or why, though I did have some ideas… I’m certain there are many interests that did not want to see a charismatic, long-haired, well spoken, intelligent, passionate progressive leader emerge out of Seattle.
It was about that time that my cousin Brenda came to my house for Thanksgiving. She lived permanently in Orlando but had been at that time been in Portland, Oregon as her husband had taken a short-term job there. At that time I’d never met her before, nor had I ever met any of the people on that side of my family. We spent the evening talking and she encouraged me to visit her in Orlando someday, and meet the rest of my family there.
I made it the next several months through work and school, always looking over my shoulder and keeping my head down, staying out of trouble. I cut off my long hair and got a respectable corporate-friendly haircut. When school ended for the summer I took Brenda up on her offer to let me stay with her, and I drove to Orlando for the summer of 1997. It was that summer that I met all the other people in my extended family, finding a group of people and culture that I really enjoyed. And I didn’t feel like I had to look over my shoulder all the time.
At the end of that summer I did make my way back to Seattle to start school again. I did stay in Seattle for another year and a half, paranoid and alone. I happened to come into a small amount of money from a class action lawsuit at the end of 1998 and I decided to move to Eugene, Oregon. Though I’d cited geophysics and nuclear destruction as a reason not to live in Seattle in my book, it was worry about The Man that really drove me out of Seattle. That chapter on geophysics (though completely accurate) I’d really meant as an aside and for dramatic effect to show how at any moment it could all be over. Especially for a city which had previously been on top of everything.
I took my last quarter of classes at the University of Oregon, and upon graduation I decided to move to Orlando. I moved in with my cousin, got a job, got my own place, got a girlfriend, who eventually became my wife, and then I had a daughter. And I continued to live my life for years, all the time mindful of my promise to keep my opinions to myself. And as time went on, it became harder and harder to keep that promise. Bush happened.
I never did stop staying informed. I spent a lot of time reading the various blogs, as I knew the mainstream media wasn’t telling me the truth. It was one day around June 2006 when I read on Bradblog about a guy named Clint Curtis. I found his story intriguing, and read that he was running for congress in FL-24. I can remember fishing out my voter registration card, unsure about what district I lived in, and being overjoyed to find FL-24. I looked up his calendar on his website and went to meet him one night at a public library in Lake Mary. I volunteered to help his campaign in any way I could, and I did become involved in his campaign. I changed my party affiliation from Green to Democratic so I could vote for him. This was the first time since 1996 that I’d done anything remotely political, but I thought it was important. I was tired of hiding.
The night before the primary, the entire campaign staff met at my house to plan how we would deploy on Election Day. Clint did win that primary, and then had to face “Teflon” Tom “The Fiend” Feeney in the general. I saw how he was marginalized by everyone in the media and not given a chance to win. And yet, when the election returns came in, it was clear that malfeasance was used to secure his opponent’s victory. Clint (a computer programmer by trade and election integrity advocate) had found particular precincts which upon analysis did not seem to make any sense. We then canvassed these and were able to obtain affidavits from more people who swore they’d voted for him than he’d gotten votes. Despite the Democratic Party victory of 2006 the Democrats in charge of the House Administration Committee refused to even look at any of the evidence that we had collected. Clint Curtis never conceded defeat. I respected his courage then, and still do. He is a good man who I’m proud to call a friend, and exactly the kind of person we should have representing us in Washington, and thus the kind of person who faces a very uphill battle to get there.
As an interesting aside, I’ll point out that around this time I read the autobiography of my great-great-great grandfather, William Adams Hickman. I found his story amazing and fascinating, and though some historians have sought to discount his confession as nothing more than the lies of a bitter murderous old man, I knew as I read it that what he said was true. I could see myself in him, and in what ultimately became the tragedy of his life. Though his was one of the most fascinating lives of the 19th century, many people have spent a lot of time and energy to ensure his life and story is forgotten by time. I’d highly recommend anyone read his autobiography, “Brigham’s Destroying Angel”. He doesn’t need to be your kin to find it absolutely amazing. Though I could write an entire book on this subject, (and actually have seriously considered it) this is not the place for the discussion of this subject, so I’ll leave it at that.
I continued barely paying the bills and occasionally contributing a comment or two on various websites and blogs, until August 2007. It was then that I knew that we’d reached the beginning of the end economically. I’ll admit that I thought at the time that the wheels were about to completely fall off economically. I didn’t have any faith in their ability to stave off the inevitable any further. It was shortly after this time that things with my wife went south. I guess that things with her had been less than ideal for quite some time… I was obsessed with politics and current events, while she wanted absolutely nothing to do with the whole enterprise, finding it completely irrelevant and useless. I got divorced, and shortly thereafter I met Mel. Where previously I’d been discouraged to engage in things I found interesting, Mel did the opposite. Though I tried to help him, Clint Curtis lost the primary in August 08, so I switched my party affiliation back to Green. In my opinion, in the absence of somebody worth voting for in the Democratic primary, there is no reason to be part of the Democratic Party. They are just as much part of the problem as the Republicans. They are the enablers.
I married Mel in October 2008. Where previously I’d hardly touched my guitar in years, Mel encouraged me to pick it up again. And she understood my interest in current events and politics and largely shared my views. Given an environment where I was encouraged to engage in creative pursuits, I started learning covers and writing my own songs, and slowly collecting the music gear I needed. First I got an acoustic electric guitar, then a PA system. Then Mel got me some recording studio time for Christmas 2009. In January 2010 I made an appointment and went in and recorded 14 songs in those three hours, most in one take, and playing and singing at the same time. I called that album “My Car My Clothes and My Guitar” after a line in the song ‘Melalovely’ which is pretty much the entire list of all my possessions post divorce when I met Mel and was lucky enough to be taken in by her. I did this for myself, as a hobby and for creative expression rather than for profit. I was trying to write songs of varied styles and topics, so there were only three of the fourteen which were political in nature. At this writing I believe there are less than 50 copies in existence, and I’ve still got a dozen of those. I just gave copies to friends, family and coworkers.
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work a lot of overtime in mid-2010 and was able to obtain through my extra hours, a Fender Stratocaster and then in September a digital recorder. And I kept writing new and politically powerful songs. I hold no illusions as to my talent as a singer. I know I’m not good. And my guitar playing is amateurish on a good day. But I do think that I’ve written some songs that have potential, though probably more so in the hands of other people. Bob Dylan couldn’t sing either but was widely seen as the poet of his generation. That’s where my talent lies, as a writer. In a world where everyone is voicing their opinions to everyone else, a simple blog is unlikely to be noticed by anyone. Every moron with a computer and an opinion has a blog. Music however, seems to me a more feasible way to reach people. The lack of politically minded music in pop culture is somewhat amazing, given our current state of affairs. The time has come for me to come out of my self imposed cocoon.
So why now? Why after fifteen years am I going public with my story? The answer to that is complicated, but it comes down to two main reasons. It comes down to my refusal to be cowed any longer, and the fact that now we are experiencing exactly what I warned of in my book. These are scary times, and I believe that my opinions and ideas have value and can make a positive impact on the world. I’ve seen how the people with the courage to speak the truth are treated in today’s world. They’re vilified, marginalized, and demonized and their characters are systematically assassinated. And there are few who continue to do so. The world is sadly in great need of more, so I cannot and will not ignore that responsibility. I am the man who wrote the songs, ‘Zombie Revolution’, ‘Magic Beans’, and ‘Pussification of America’ and I realized the massive contradiction between these ideals, and the fact that my book and my secret remained hidden.
The Man told me I could live a long and happy life that night back in 1996 and I have. I witnessed the birth and growth of a beautiful daughter, saw Pink Floyd reunite for a concert in London, and I’ve married the love of my life. I’ve enjoyed the hell out of most days, though the knowledge of my cowardice never truly left my consciousness… Though it is likely that by speaking out I could be jumping into the proverbial fire, I can find no justification to remain silent. I know that I did not descend from fearful men, and I will no longer let fear factor into my decisions. The situation we find ourselves in today has grown far worse than what we faced fifteen years ago, has grown that way in the absence of my active participation, and for that I am truly sorry. I’m releasing, “Philosophy for the Third Millennia” with this introduction and an updated conclusion, and designing a web site. At the time of this writing, I know my time on the sidelines is very nearly over. In the final analysis, I wish to be counted as among the men who had the courage to stand up for what was right even in the face of overwhelming opposition, among those who refused to quietly submit to having the yoke of tyranny placed around their necks, and among those who’ve tried to use their gifts less for their own personal enrichment than for the betterment of mankind. Should this decision come to cause harm to myself or my family, I trust they and whatever higher power may or may not be looking down on us will know that my intentions were pure and my struggle righteous.