Saturday, April 23, 2011

Tea Party Slim & Sovereign Jake vs. Liberal Mike

I ran into Tea Party Slim at the downtown Starbucks. “Hey Slim,” I said. “Enjoying that Fair Trade Coffee?”

He peered at his grande coffee cup. "Slim” was printed on its side.

"It's just coffee,” said Slim.

I grabbed a colorful bag of beans from the rack. I read: “By working together and paying the prices that premium coffee deserves, we’re helping improve the lives of those farmers and their communities. Find out about additional ways we are working with farmers to ethnically source our coffee at”

Slim frowned. “I may have to go back to the doughnut shop. They have regular American coffee there -- and it doesn't preach at you.”

“Even Dave’s Doughnuts serves coffee made somewhere else," I said. "It’s sold by corporations like Folger’s or Nestle. The corporation gets more of the profit and small growers less.”

“Who’s the know-it-all?” Slim’s friend spoke for the first time. He looked a bit younger than Slim, maybe in his fifties. His hair was streaked with gray as was his bushy beard. He wore a striped western shirt, brown vest, jeans and Sunday-go-to-meeting cowboy boots.

“Meet Liberal Mike,” said Slim, “one of the few registered Democrats in Laramie County.”

“I’m Jake,” said the man. “Freeman."

We shook hands. His grip was firm; his eyes held mine.

"Jake Freeman," I said.

"No, my last name is, well, it's not important," he said. "I meant that I am a Free Man -- sovereign."

I'd heard the terms before and wanted to know more. “Let me get some shade-tree-grown Nicaraguan coffee and a whole wheat organic scone and I’ll join you gents.”

I did just that. I grabbed one of the easy chairs across from Jake. He and Slim stared at me. “Do I have a booger hanging out of my nose?” I swiped my hand across my face.

Slim laughed. “Jake doesn’t know any Liberals.” He turned to Jake. “It’s like going to the zoo, eh Jake? Looking at the strange creatures.”

“I have lots of company,” I said. "In 2008, 3,800 new Democrats registered in Laramie County. Many of them voted. That's how Obama won the majority of votes in this county."

"That was then," said Slim. "Where were they last November?"

"I don't vote," said Jake.

This time, Slim and I stared at Jake.

"Don't vote?"

"Don't need to," he said. "Why should I have to register to vote for a government I don't believe in?"

Jake erupted in a diatribe about what it means to be a sovereign. The united states of America (lower case u and s) is a republic based on the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution. The Magna Carta, too. And the Bible. The United States of America (capitalized) was corrupted following the Civil War. It became a centralized, profit-seeking corporation, its many laws and regulations just ways to keep the people in their place. States, on the other hand, are individual republics and make the only laws worth following.

Our coffee cups were bone-dry by the time Jake fell silent.

"I guess you don't pay taxes," I said, recalling the big check I just wrote to the IRS.

He chuckled. "I'm not a slave to the IRS. I believe in free enterprise. Me and my fellow sovereigns barter our goods and services."

"What's your skill?"

"Paperwork," he said with a grin. "In my previous life, I was a Certified Public Accountant with the State of Wyoming. I know all the tricks. I pay my filing fee and present reams of paperwork that some clerk has to input into the system. Clogs up the bureaucracy. Drives them crazy."

"Guerrilla tactics," said Slim the veteran.

"Same kind of tactics that anti-war activists used during Vietnam -- and right now," I said. "Don't pay taxes for the war machine. Or pay in bags of pennies that you haul down to the IRS office. File loads of paperwork to clog the system."

Jake stared at me. "You Liberals have your own causes," he said. "Mostly you believe in big government. An illegitimate government." He paused. "Our president doesn't even have a birth certificate."

"Now you're talkin'" said Slim.

I replied: "I thought you didn't believe in government. That's who handles birth certificates. Do you want government more involved in tracking our personal lives?"

Jake waved away my criticism. "State and local governments have some legitimacy. For instance, I register my vehicles and pay the fees. My truck needs a license plate."

"So some government is O.K.?"

"State and local. The county sheriff is the law of the land."

"If you're so sovereign, why would you take orders from any law officer."

He nodded. "Slim, your boy here is sharper than he looks."

"He has his moments," said Slim.

"There is one thing that we won't register, right Slim?" He padded his vest, lifting it up so I could see the Glock snug in its holster. Slim, in turn, lifted his jacket and revealed the SIG Sauer pistol he had showed off to me several times.

"No gun registration for these bad boys," said Jake. "It's just a way for the One World Government to track us down, take away our guns and lock us away in re-education camps."

The coffee was long gone, and the conversation had taken a bad turn.

"This government will fall, by peace or by force," said Jake.

I stood. "If you gentlemen will excuse me, I'm off to buy a gun."

"I thought you didn't believe in guns," said Slim.

"Hush, Slim," said Jake. "I think we talked him into joining us."

"No," I answered. "When the time comes, I may need it to protect myself and my family from the likes of you."

NOTE: Much of the information on the sovereign movement was taken from an excellent three-part series by Tom Morton in the Casper Star-Tribune. Joe O'Sullivan also covered some similar issues regarding city zoning laws. For some additional stories, read Tom Morton's blog at

No comments: