By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
Perhaps 1995 was not your year. Maybe you missed out on the run-up to the 5,000 Dow, or possibly the Oilers' impending departure has left your life without shape or purpose. You may even have suffered the misfortune of having your job "restructured" right out of existence, or perhaps it was just that the thousand and one everyday disappointments we all sustain piled up to the point that you sought refuge in drink or drugs or fundamentalism or took even more desperate measures -- like deciding to obtain a journalism degree or enrolling in law school.
But look on the bright side -- you're not the Honorable U.S. Representative Steve Stockman of the 9th Congressional District of Texas.
I had occasion recently to muse on my own good fortune as I was driving home from Vidor after rendezvousing there with a man who had identified himself to me over the phone only as "Kenneth." He had instructed me to meet him in the parking lot of the McDonald's off of I-10, where, he explained, he had something important he wanted to give me. "Kenneth" turned out to be a grim, non-descript white male with no distinguishing marks, and he drew hard on a non-filtered cigarette as he handed me a sheaf of computer printouts. "You don't know where you got this," he said tersely, before climbing into the cab of a rusted-out F-150 and driving east.
After using a wet napkin to wipe away the ketchup stains that encrusted the printouts, I discovered that what I had been given was the working manuscript for a book entitled Restoring Virtue in America: A Diary of My First Year in Congress by Steve Stockman.
I drove straight home and proceeded to devour the entire document, reading hungrily until dawn. As "Kenneth" had promised, Restoring Virtue in America is a riveting story of one man's valiant struggle against the unseen forces that beset our nation, and the steep price he's paid for that struggle. Now, as we all resolve to face the challenges 1996 will bring, I would like to share some selected excerpts with you in hopes they will prove an inspiration.
Of course, I can't personally vouch for the authenticity of the manuscript. However, like Steve Stockman, I believe. And I will place my hand on the Bible, or any other holy writ you may offer, to attest to one unassailable fact: truth is always stranger than fiction.
January 4 -- What a year this is gonna be: I'm a congressman! It's a real job, where they withhold taxes from my paycheck and everything. Hey, it beats collecting unemployment, or going to college for eight years.... Never had so many free feeds -- got gravy stains all over my new suit. If some of those jokers I used to get high with could see me now.... God Bless America!
January 14 -- Met Newt again today, and he told me we're taking no prisoners. YOU SAY YOU WANT A R-E-V-O-L-U-T-I-O-N? I'm not sure about this term limits thing, though. I'm thinking that if I stay here long enough, I could get as rich as Jack Brooks. I'd even be able to pay off my student loans. (On second thought, nah....)
March 10 -- Got a fax from [name deleted] of the [name deleted], telling me that the feds are about to unleash Task Force 6 from Fort Bliss to carry out raids on the [name deleted] militias. This is it, it's about to come down: the jackboots are coming to take our oooguns .... Instructed [name deleted] to send a letter to Janet Reno, warning her to call off the dogs. (I've got to remember to buy myself a gun to defend my family.) (I guess I've got to remember to have a family, too.)
March 11 -- [Name deleted] sent over the draft for Guns & Ammo piece. It really tells it like it is -- what the lapdogs of the "mainstream media" won't print. Especially liked the part showing how Clinton and the ATF cooked up the whole Mount Carmel conflagration just to justify their ban on "assault weapons" and pay off Sarah Brady. This is gonna be big -- better than some snoozer in Foreign Affairs, that's for sure.
April 19 -- Gotta fax this morning from [name deleted], something about Oklahoma City. Can't really make it out, but something big must be going down.
May 10 -- Guns & Ammo is about to hit the newsstands. I'm gonna be a published author! "Congressman Stockman Assaults the Assault Weapons Ban." Wow!
May 15 -- Getting no end of grief for the Guns & Ammo piece -- I guess I should have read the thing first. Okay, maybe the timing wasn't so hot, but I stand by the story. Well, most of it.
May 26 -- Can't believe Guns & Ammo would use my good name just to sell magazines!
June 3 -- Woke up this morning with a massive headache. Heard "Satisfaction" on the radio while driving to work, though, and it cheered me right up. Never could get that riff outta my head: bum, bum, bum, Bum, bum, bum, bum, bum ....