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and according to the provisional Republic of Texas constitution. White Eagle says he is not afraid to die for the Republic of Texas, but in life, his mission is to represent to the new nation the interests of all Native Americans. The Republic already has a treaty with one tribe, the Washitaw de Dugdahmoudyah, who have been trying for years to get the United States to honor an 1848 treaty granting the tribe 65,000 acres of land. They are a former moundbuilding culture currently based in Monroe, Louisiana and their leader is a woman named Empress Verdiacee “Tiari” Washitaw Turner Goston El-Bey. The Washitaw are, for all physical appearances, African American. They distribute tee-shirts with messages of love and Kwanzaa-like symbols; one hangs on the Embassy’s wall. Some Republic of Texas members are not pleased with this binational relationship: they intimate that the Empress is a welfare queen. But others support it. I also learned that the Republic’s vice president, a Dallasite named Steve Crear, is black. One of his aides is of Vietnamese descent. There are Mexican Americans in the leadership, too. And the Ambassador to the Middle East, a schoolmarmish and decidedly Scandinavian-looking woman named Karen Joy, Coffey Kosier, who was also at the embassy, considers herself Jewish after doing genealogical research stretching back to the Twelve Tribes. T, he three-room embassy was buzzing inside with the anxiety ‘ of the standoff and with holiday cheer. A few old armchairs lay around, as well as a coffee maker, disposable cups and a big plate of colorful Christmas cookies. Mostly, though, the place was given over to desks, state-of-the-art computers, phones, walkie talkies, filing cabinets and book cases bursting with texts and legal documents. The screeching whistle of a modem was constant, along with the humming of a copy machine. A fax spit out endless transmissions, including a list of Secret Service radio frequencies and passwords \(did you know that Hillary Clinton’s code name is I bite into a bell trimmed in red icing and a star done up in green. Then I sit down to meet the other embassy personnel. One is David Blackmon, who packs a 9-mm pistol in a prim little canvas folder not unlike an eyeglasses case. “I’m accurate at a hundred yards,” Blackmon tells me, and I can hardly understand him because he says “M accurt” and “hunnerd.” His voice is East Texas near Oklahoma, but he currently lives in Odessa. He and his wife run a scrap business there, and not long ago city authorities ordered him to get a permit for a sign he’d had hanging for years. He refused and spent three days in jail. His wife, who is also at the embassy, shrugs gamely when he tells this story and says she spent the three days running the business, with no regrets that he was jailed. She wears a pastel tee-shirt that says, “I Have PMS and I Have a Gun.” David Blackmon is an activist in the Patriot movement and leader of a group called the Texas Militia. \(According to Chip Berlet, an authority on the militant right, some five million Americans are influenced by Patriot politics, which lie somewhere beHe is in his fifties, with a pot belly and heart trouble but a fine head of gray-white hair, styled like the early Elvis. “I’m strictly oil field trash,” Blackmon says, “that’s all I am.” He is a gentle, almost be THEY DESCRIBE DESPAIR AND DISILLUSIONMENT AFTER RETURNING FROM VIETNAM, THEN YEARS OF WHAT THEY NOW SEE AS SOLITARY CONFUSION BEFORE DISCOVERING THE CLARITY AND COMMUNION OF THE FAR, ARMED RIGHT. know why he kept by himself so much. Then a couple of years ago he discovered the Patriots and the militias and finally the Republic of Texas. “My daddy always told me Texas wasn’t part of the United States,” Blackmon reminisces. “Said it wasn’t lawful that they made it a state but he didn’t know what to do about it. Now we do.” His wife is also a dedicated citizen of the Republic of Texas, and when I ask her why, she goes into litanies of complaint: about public schools that don’t allow kids to learn anymore, about her six-year-old grandson, whose mother was convinced by a teacher and a school-recommended psychiatrist to give him Ritalin, which has turned the little boy into a “zombie.” “It’s all a U.N. plot,” she says, “to take over our children’s minds.” Two other guards at the Embassy, one from near Tyler and the other from Palestine, Texas, have accents as strong as David Blackmon’s. Like him, they describe despair and disillusionment after returning from Vietnam, then years of what they now see as solitary confusion before discovering the clarity and communion of the far, armed right. They talk of being jobless, about friends losing work, about cousins jailed for minor drug deals after government agents set up stings, about false accusations of child abuse, and real abuse that the child protection people let go unpunished. They are rife with conspiracy theories: the German Nazi government secretly moved to the Western Hemisphere after the War and Hitler is still alive; the AIDS virus was manufactured; the International Monetary Fund has every American’s birth certificate on file; the Nature Conservancy is a U.N. plot. Amid these heated and paranoid grievances, arms are everywhere: on the belts of the men, in their pockets, atop the desk by the phone, and under a drafting table, where mounds of rifles and hand guns are squirreled into what embassy staff laughingly dubs the atific man, much like the father in Mary Karr’s The Liar’s Club, but unlike Karr’s dad, a teller of tales that he thoroughly believes are true. One concerns Franklin Roosevelt declaring in 1933 that Americans are enemies of the United States. Another is that every time an American dies, the International Monetary Fund pays the U.S. government $40,000, since we have all been ceded to the IMF as collateral to One World Government. We munch our Christmas cookies and sip Yuletide wine out of Styrofoam. I ask Blackmon to tell me about the events in his life that led to his present activities and beliefs. What he dwells on most is his two years in Vietnam and about how, as he was coming back, a superior asked him to do something, the specifics of which he is afraid to have me publish, except to say that it was highly llegal and in his mind, immoral. He refused, returned home, and didn’t want to be with people anymore. “I’d leave my wife for a week and just go out on the plains and drink,” he says. “Come back and for years, nights I’d wake up screaming and she’d throw cold water in my face to get me out of it. I don’t know what I was dreaming but it just ended not too’ long ago.” Between Vietnam and now he doesn’t 10 THE TEXAS OBSERVER JANUARY 17, 1997