by Norman Spinrad

If something isn't done, and done fast, a civil war in the United States is just a shot or a Molotov Cocktail away. But how and by who? 

 If there is one American who could stand up before the protesters and be listened to it is surely the one and only former President of the United States, Barack Obama. Live before the largest crowd possible and of course well televised.  What should he say?

He should speak the hard truth to the leaderless protesters that what they are doing is counterproductive to their own confusion of diverse and general causes which if even possible would take decades of legislation to accomplish. What is needed  immediately is a strong significant and reachable demand.

Demand that the head of all police departments in the United States--cities, towns, states everywhere--be elected by the  people their police are mandated to protect and serve. Open elections with terms of no more than 4 years. Don't call them bureaucratic "commissioners" call them the Sheriffs.  

The Sheriffs voted for the people, of the people, for the people, chosen to be the commanders in chief of the People's Police. Thus creating true People's Polices.

This is a just and democratic demand that is simple, concrete, localized and would bring the protesters solidarity and even the support of traditionalist Americans almost all of whom have seem films and televisions of the good old small time Wildwest sheriffs. 

How to cause towns, cities, and states to pass the necessary legislations with the needed warp speed? 

Think Ghandi. Think general strikes. Think not as amorphous national protesters but as citizens of the cities, towns, and states of which you are citizens.  Think sitdown strikes.  Think nonviolent warfare. Shut them down locally one by one. Block the roads. Block the streets. Close the police stations. Close mail delivery. Close everything you can. But only do it once a week until this concrete demand is legally met.


And if they don't, don't vote for the  incumbent Sheriff  in the next election.

(Disclosures: I and Gene Roddenbery, who had once been a cop, tried to create a tv show along such lines, but never got anywhere with it.  I more recently wrote a novel called THE PEOPLE'S POLICE in much the same spirit and then some. Published but shitcanned by Tor, but still available in my own self-published versions on Amazon.)

A long article  by Mary Mary Reinholz



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  2. Thanks for writing, Mr. Spinrad. I discovered your books only recently, but I'm thrilled I've got them ahead of me.

  3. Fifty plus years ago a friend of mine and I were backpacking in the middle of the Beartooth Wilderness Area of Montana when we got caught in a blizzard. We found some boulders to crawl under for shelter. On a ledge there was a plastic sack with a copy of The Last Hurrah Of The Golden Horde inside. That night we took turns reading the book out loud to each other to keep from freezing to death. I think we read that book four times by the time the sun came up and the storm broke. I've kept that book ever since and refer to it as the book that saved my life. Over the years I've tried to buy and read every Norman Spinrad book in honor. I'm 73 now and have read that book to both my son and grandson.

  4. Yeah I think a people's police as you describe it is a good idea. It'd have to be done in some graduated way. But yeah. I see you're in the next Asimov's Norman. That's reason enough for me to pick it up! Wanted to say hello. Sorry to have lost touch.


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