An Evening with the Freemasons

Chameleo

This was originally published on Cryptoscatology:

This past Tuesday evening I delivered a lecture about my book Chameleo: A Strange but True Story of Invisible Spies, Heroin Addiction, and Homeland Security to a group of Freemasons at The DeMolay Masonic Anaheim Center, specifically Santa Ana/El Toro Chapter No. 250 of The National Sojourners Organization.  Assisting me with this presentation was Richard Schowengerdt, the visionary scientist featured in Chapter 19 of Chameleo.

 As everyone in Southern California knows very well, Orange County has long been a conservative stronghold.  Some might say little has changed since Richard Nixon was born “behind the Orange Curtain” in 1913.  For example, just yesterday three counter-protesters were stabbed during a Ku Klux Klan rally at Anaheim’s Pearson Park.  Clearly, therefore, right-wing reactionaries have maintained an undeniably powerful presence in the county.  On the other hand, as evidence that some progress has indeed been made, it’s crucial to note that there was a time not long ago when someone who had written a book as incendiary as Chameleo would not have been welcome among a group of Caucasian Masonic retirees in the very heart of Orange County to discuss the dangers of a National Security State run amok.
 The telltale signs of the attendees’ traditional values were evident throughout the meeting.  At the very beginning of the event, everyone in the room stood and recited the Pledge of Allegiance.  On the front of the podium hung a large red sign that read, “REMEMBER BENGHAZI.”  At the conclusion of the meeting, everyone in the room joined together in a Christian prayer.  Many of the attendees were former members of the military, including the Navy (a branch of the military that doesn’t exactly come off smelling like gardenias in the pages of Chameleo).


Despite all of this, however, not one Mason in attendance expressed skepticism about the events chronicled in Chameleo.  The members of the audience clearly thought the story was strange, needless to say, but not at all unbelievable… perhaps not even unlikely.  In 2016, forty-two years after Yorba Linda’s homegrown golden boy, Richard Milhous Nixon, resigned the Presidency, a random sampling of Orange County citizens (as traditional and down to earth as any group of Americans could possibly be) had no problem whatsoever comprehending the full implications of what Schowengerdt and I were saying, how very deeply the country had been plunged into outright authoritarianism.  

How many mainstream Americans are already aware–at some instinctual level–of the precarious situation in which we all find ourselves?  How many of them will get so fed up with the increasingly blatant unconstitutional strictures of a Democracy-turned-Cryptocracy that they will soon have no choice but to begin upending the Machine, dismantling the damn thing piece by shiny piece?   

How many indeed?

Robert Guffey is a lecturer in the Department of English at California State University – Long Beach. His most recent book is Chameleo: A Strange but True Story of Invisible Spies, Heroin Addiction, and Homeland Security (OR Books).

Robert Guffey

Robert Guffey is a lecturer in the Department of English at California State University – Long Beach.His most recent book is Chameleo:A Strange but True Story of Invisible Spies, Heroin Addiction, and Homeland Security (OR Books).