Getting to know Maureen personally has been an incredible experience. She’s one of the bravest, strongest, and most determined women I know. Are you coping with ovarian cancer or know someone who is? Please tune in to Writestream Tuesday on September 30 at 1 p.m. Eastern. During the interview, Maureen and I welcome your calls at (347) 945-7246.
‘Question Authority’? More like ‘Submit to Authority Without Question’.
Once upon a time, the Flower Children passionately exhorted us to “question authority.” Somewhere along the road to the 21st century however, their mantra transformed into “submit to authority without question.” Carried out to its extreme, the latter philosophy ultimately leads to the tyrannical, dystopian society brilliantly described by author Tracy Lawson in her debut novel, Counteract.
Although classified as YA fiction, Lawson’s fast-paced narrative, well-defined characters, and spine-tingling plot combine for a perfectly paced ride through a world in which rugged individualism, free will, and individual liberty have been all but eradicated by central authorities wielding an agenda of control. And what better way to control the masses than through the installation of irrational fear of an undefined, unseen external enemy?
In the oppressive society of Counteract, the United States as we know it has been fundamentally transformed into a series of quadrants, each run by a government agent known as a “Quadrant Master.” Gone is the rich diversity of 50 states bound together by the United States Constitution. In this freedom-killing society, the President and an oppressive government create a false enemy, followed by a government-created solution. In response to the threat of airborne chemical weapons which may or may not exist, the Office of Civilian Safety and Defense has mandated an antidote to “protect” and “save” the American population.
This final and most insidious step is the last in a series of top-down mandates including the banning of cars (for anyone but government-approved individuals), grocery stores, sporting events, travel and virtually anything that makes life a more rewarding and beautiful experience.
Yet as Lawson proves, there is no antidote or restriction that can fully eviscerate the human spirit. The character development of her two main characters – teenagers Tommy and Careen – dovetails nicely with the plot as they ultimately find each other and begin to unravel the mystery of what’s actually happening versus the propaganda that invades their consciousness on a daily basis through Orwellian-named devices like “PeopleCam.”
In Counteract, Lawson creates a depressing, joyless, and paranoid world but she also provides readers with glimmers of genuine hope in the form of all of the characters that comprise “The Resistance.” Expertly juxtaposing plot and characters, she makes it nearly impossible to put the novel down until the very end — which left me wanting more. Good thing she has a sequel planned for release in early 2015!
As a freedom-loving patriot, determined activist, and voracious reader, it does my heart good to know there are authors Like Tracy Lawson who can fuse entertainment and information into a compelling fictional narrative like Counteract – which has more power to affect the culture and the ultimate direction of our country than a dry, non-fiction book most people will never even bother to pick up, let alone read.
In less than a week we’ll celebrate one of my top three favorite holidays – Independence Day. I purposely refer to it as Independence Day — not the 4th of July or July 4 — because it’s not the date that’s important but the significance of what transpired on that hot, humid summer day in 1776. And every American needs a reminder.
The dangerous thing about freedom is that it’s so intoxicating it can easily lull those who enjoy it into total complacency. Especially after 100+ years of deliberate cultural, moral and intellectual assault upon every worthy American institution from education to pop culture to academia to media to government (the utterly corrupt, excessively overweight, tyrannical present-day version of which is undoubtedly causing our Founders to roll over in their graves).
A few years back I attended a Tea Party rally on Independence Day in West Palm Beach, where they host the annual event, The 4th on Flagler. After our rally in a more secluded section, we decided to mingle with the crowd and watch fireworks. That’s when I heard a typical, condescending, better than you liberal male call out in a voice dripping with contempt: “You people politicize everything!” (Ponder the irony there….then remember lefties are masters of projecting their behaviors and attitudes onto constitutional conservatives).
Anyway, I couldn’t let that go without a retort so I asked him “What exactly do you think we’re commemorating today? The writing, signing and presentation of the Declaration of Independence was a political act. The bravest political act in the history of the world.”
He just gave me a smug look and went back to whatever he was doing. I knew then that freedom-loving Americans fighting to restore the gift of a free nation truly did have our work cut out for us. Doesn’t it feel as if we’re in the midst of a second American Revolution most days? Except this time the monarchy is within in the form of an entitled, entrenched political class comprised of two despicable parties made up of men and women whose only concern is their own self-interest (with a few exceptions).
To paraphrase Mel Brooks as King Louis in History of the World, it’s good to be part of the Beltway elite. And to rewrite another famous saying, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t become career politicians and punish those who do with excessive taxes and regulations.”
Still, I look upon Independence Day as a way to reflect upon the founding of the greatest country in the history of the world and to recharge my batteries to continue to the fight for liberty. They put it all on the line for freedom. Will you?