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Suspense Thriller Fiction by John T. Cullen

Jean-Thomas Cullen writing as John T. Cullen

=  On Thriller Street  =

CON2: The Generals of October (Autumn of the Republic) About twenty-five years ago, when I set out to write my first 'big' mainstream novel, I came across a theme worthy of my efforts. In the U.S. Constitution, I spotted Article V, which deals with amending the Constitution. If you read it carefully, you'll find that we can either amend it one little amendment at a time, which means sending the amendment around to each of the fifty states for them to separately approve it (by a 2/3 majority, very difficult to achieve). We could theoretically also hold a convention and have all the states approve that one amendment.

But Wait, It Gets Worse. Or, and here's the terrifying aspect, we can hold a Second Constitutional Convention (which I call CON2), and amend one or all of the articles in the Constitution. In fact, as I figured out, we could scrap the entire Constitution on which the United States of America as a republic is based—and replace it with who knows what. How about a Biblical Constitution that makes us a neo-Christian theocratic terror state like Iran? Or a tyranny not much better than that like our allies in the Arabian Peninsula, where women are chattel property of their male relatives, and beheading is a common public entertainment. Then too, a large element of society seems to always prefer brutal demagogues with an iron fist and stupid answers that usually resolve to "I am the nation; trust me and you never need to think again." We came close with Donald Dump in 2016. Usually, those types of characters appear in history as antecessors for the real magilla (e.g., Marius, Sulla, Cinna, Pompey, Crassus, et al. as heralds for Caesar and the end of Roman democracy.

First To Think It Through. Sadly, because my novel was not released by the Big Five Non-Traditional Anomaly in New York City, it has gotten no coverage. It's almost as if it has been suppressed. In real life, calls for a CON2 have become ever more frequent in recent decades. For example, there are those who want to make us a theocracy under (what else?) Protestant Fundamentalist sharia law, with the entire Timothy McVeigh hate and violence that threatens to make us a Third World country. If you lived through the nasty 2016 election cycle, you have only the barest taste of how horrifying CON2 would really be. In my novel, I've thought it all through. The thousand delegates from the states, meeting in Washington, D.C., have diplomatic immunity. That means they are effectively outside the law, untouchable by the three branches of Constitutionally created government, including their police and military agencies. CON2 convenes with a carefully scripted ten amendments that we expect will be ratified in less than a week. The convention will be over and we all go home.

But no. What happens is that radical elements start proposing all sorts of new amendments, each crazier than the last. Pretty soon CON2 starts to fall apart, and nobody can do anything about it. At this point, the 1787 Constitution has been weakened, and its replacement is hanging in the wind. Now a group of generals step in, at the behest of all sorts of cynical talk show hosts, Evangelical mullahs, corrupt politicians, ruthless billionaires, and other nightmare creatures. The Generals of October ostensibly will restore order (just as Augustus promised to restore the Roman Republic but made himself a tyrant for life). The end result is civil war, with bloodshed in the nation's capital. The top general seizes power in the White House. When a press agency calls the President's office, the general answers the phone and speaks the immortal words of Alexander Haig back when Ronald Reagan was shot: "I am in charge here."

Misunderstood. Over the years, a few persons have read the book, and of those about half failed to grasp the point. I was not writing a treatise here. I had a very strong, correct strategy. I felt that the events of CON2 were so overpowering that I would be best off letting them play out in the background. I therefore wrote a fast-moving thriller and a love story, with a murder investigation in the foreground. If you read the novel with an open, inquisitive, and thoughtful mind, you will get the whole drift of my message about CON2. I don't need to hit you over the head. It's all there. I hope my novel will serve as a silver bullet to kill this thing before it ever happens. There must never be a CON2 in our future, or the United States as we have known it will be a thing of the past. Of course, people need to read my novel and think about its implications, or frankly if we're such sheep that we only go for the bread and games of the circus, and never think about serious issues, then we are doomed anyway.


Amazon Kindle e-book Edition CON2: Autumn of the Republic - 25th Anniversary Edition of The Generals of October: Classic Political Thriller about the Second Constitutional Convention (Progressive Thriller Series Book 1)

Amazon Quality Paperback Edition (6x9") CON2: Autumn of the Republic, 25th Anniversary Edition of The Generals of Octobe: Classic Political Thriller about a Second Constitutional Convention (CON2)

Barnes & Noble. You can order a print copy at B&N online or order in a B&N bookstore.

NOTE. The original title in 1992 was CON2. Friends advised me to pick a title with more resonance, so I chose The Generals of October. Several major law school libraries accepted copies as case studies for their law libraries. Overall, the novel never moved (no word of mouth, no hype). And I'm lousy at marketing. In 2012, I reissued it under the title Autumn of the Republic: The Generals of October, 20th Anniversary Edition.

We seem to be oblivious about history, not to mention current events. I will have more to say about these matters in a venue to be announced soon. Meanwhile, remember the chaotic politics in recent decades, including the bitterly contested election of 2000 (which created a Constitutional crisis that has not yet been addressed, much less healed); and then consider the near-violent election cycle of 2016. It is entirely within the bounds of possibility (not necessarily reason) that we may face a CON2 sometime soon in our lifetimes. Read my novel and be terrified. Article V is a time bomb ticking in our Constitution. When that trigger gets pulled, it will be far worse than the 1861-5 Civil War.