By David Glenn Cox
We live in strange times, but then, you don’t need me to remind you of that. We are dissipated and scattered, sermonized and patronized and intellectually euthanized. These are revolutionary times though some don’t believe it; some won’t accept it and some will only whisper about it in the dark.
We are no longer what we once were; we have become something which our past would despise. I remember in that halcyon little Chicago suburb of my youth buying cigarettes in a local liquor store during the Vietnam War. On the back of the cash register facing the customers a sign read, “Draft beer, not students.” A private store owner expressing his personal displeasure at American foreign policy, a small statement certainly, but it was open and public.
At the same time when the local church a minister gave a sermon in support for the Vietnam War the congregation answered him with angry shouts of “then send your son!” Some got angry and walked out, never to return. These were the symptoms of a society in conflict, but a society functioning in conflict.
In those long ago days our soldiers were referred to as our brave boys serving their country, today they are called only heroes. The irony has not escaped me that some of my friends served in Vietnam and now my son’s friends who serve in Iraq / Afghanistan and they return home damaged and broken just as mine did. This is generational carnage of puppets pawns and policy, of fighting commies or Islamic revolutionaries for nondescript illusionary national goals.
The dead, the wounded, the carnage and the cash matter, but even more so let us look at what has become of us as a people. In the recent Republican debate Ron Paul was booed into silence as he attempted to tell the faithful why we must end these wars of aggression. What Democratic candidates would have such courage? Yet Paul doesn’t believe in the Department of Education either. He believes in the insane notion that if you just leave corporations alone we could achieve a national nirvana. Noam Chomsky agrees with Paul in this foreign policy point just as Barack Obama now channels George W. Bush in his war talk of terrorists.
Last month the defense department tested a “Hypersonic Technology Vehicle” this is a high speed glider which sits atop an intercontinental ballistic missile. The program was originally the brain child of the Rumsfeld Pentagon; ostensibly the idea was to load the glider with a conventional warhead which would be able to strike any point on planet Earth in 60 minutes. Even during the Bush administration this project was controversial within the Pentagon because adversaries or potential adversaries would have no way of knowing for sure the destination or the payload of such a weapon.
This weapons system’s purpose is clearly offensive and not defensive; it is by definition a first strike nuclear weapons delivery system. America’s nuclear policy for over forty years was never to be the first to use nuclear weapons. That national policy of nuclear deterrent was changed under the Bush administration and continues now unabated under the Obama administration. It is no longer the policy of this nation not to use nuclear weapons first.
What would we think of China or Russia building such a weapons system? But this is from that other America, the one that doesn’t look in the mirror much any more, an addict who hides its addiction to violence in flags and homilies. I asked a Catholic Priest once about why he didn’t speak out against the war and he answered, “We are forbidden to speak about it by the Bishop.” Curiosity and anger compelled me to ask, “Would Jesus have listened to the Bishop?” Later the following year I attended my wife’s church on Easter Sunday. On the altar directly behind the minister was an American flag on a staff. I was morally offended by that, as god plays no favorites. Then as the minster began his sermon he spoke of our heroes defending our freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan. This was his message on Easter Sunday and I realized then that good atheists are not born– they are made.
A co-opting of church and state and even of language but more devastating is the co-opting of thought. When I first saw this news story I thought that perhaps it was a joke. Then when I realized that it was not a joke I thought of the Crosby Stills and Nash tune “Teach your Children.”
Stars & Stripes – “The publisher of a new children’s coloring book, called “We Shall Never Forget 9/11: The Kids’ Book of Freedom,” says it is the latter. Really Big Coloring Books Inc. publisher Wayne Bell says the book is intended to be educational.
“It’s really designed for older kids, not preschoolers,” said Bell in a phone interview. “It’s designed to be a teaching and learning tool for parents and teachers to use with their children.”
From the text of “The Kid’s Book of Freedom”
“Being the elusive character that he was, after hiding out with his terrorist buddies in Pakistan and Afghanistan, American soldiers finally located the terrorist leader Osama Bin Laden. Many people had helped secure his safety for nearly 10 years.
Dubbed code name Neptune Spear, the operation lasted 38 minutes, included 23 SEALs and a dog named “Cairo,” no one wanted detainees. Once the American military confirmed and identified Bin Laden, President Barack Obama had previously issued a kill order to SEAL team 6 to shoot Bin Laden. In Bid Laden’s house in Pakistan Osama used his wives and children as shields as he tried to escape from the American military. But the coward Bin Laden could not escape. He was killed hiding behind the dress tail of a young woman. On May 11, 2011, Bin Laden was shot dead and the American military wrapped him in a white blanket and buried him at sea by throwing his body overboard. Throwing his body into the sea showed him more respect than he showed to the people who died on 9/11.
Children, the truth is, these terrorist acts were done by freedom-hating radical Islamic Muslim extremists. These crazy people hate the American way of life because we are FREE and our society is FREE. We must be prepared to know and understand the truth, America is FREE. Ask you mother and your father, your teacher, your preacher what this really means. What does it mean to be FREE? Why are we a FREE people?
We are free to think, free to be honest, free to write, free to live as we wish. We are America. America does not hate other people in the world, but we love the world in which we live and will defend our way of life.”
“America…just a nation of two hundred million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable” – Hunter S. Thompson
These are the things that our children are being taught today, that it is men with guns who give us our freedoms. No mention of law, justice or court systems in “The Kid’s Big Book of Freedom” and the President had ordered Bin Laden killed.
What is going on here, who are we really? We cannot claim to be the good guys when we act no differently than the bad guys. These behaviors are corroding and dissolving the ideals our nation was founded upon and these things flow like a river into the future. How far down stream is it from “President Barack Obama had previously issued a kill order” to police shot the man dead because he was a criminal?
The policies, parties and principles become muddled and erode our path and make slippery the slope. Democrats favor tax cuts and free trade and Republicans favor tax cuts and free trade. Democrats wish to continue the wars and cut social spending and Republicans wish to continue the wars and cut social spending.
We are a hostile nation at war, at war with public employees, at war with public education, at war with the poor and at war with the sick and elderly. This is the battle ground and these are the hostilities which none, none of the candidates will address. Wages are falling in almost every employment category, with schoolteachers and staff among the fastest growing unemployment categories. The President proposed money in his jobs bill to wire more schools to the Internet but offered no money for the computers. Who will benefit from such a program other than Comcast and Time Warner? He has offered more money to build science labs in schools but no money for the teachers or supplies.
The President’s plan is not much different than the “The Kid’s Book of Freedom,” solutions based on imaginary issues and laced with phony propaganda. Trying to save the system by destroying the system, cutting employer tax rates while cutting social spending still claiming that it will help protect the system in the end–and this is from the left! On the right we have calls to end Social Security and Medicare entirely, calls to end the minimum wage and even to roll back child labor laws.
All because they don’t dare to tell you the truth, and the truth is, that you can’t compete with workers who earn five dollars a day. They can’t tell you that, and they can’t tell you that any job which can be taken away will be taken away. The three Free Trade pacts before Congress right now all enjoy bipartisan support and will ensconce forever the prerogatives of corporate power and low taxation. The President and his rivals talk much about creating jobs when what the people need is income.
“Unhappy events abroad have retaught us two simple truths about the liberty of a democratic people.
The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is Fascism—ownership of Government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.
The second truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if its business system does not provide employment and produce and distribute goods in such a way as to sustain an acceptable standard of living.
Both lessons hit home.
Among us today a concentration of private power without equal in history is growing.
This concentration is seriously impairing the economic effectiveness of private enterprise as a way of providing employment for labor and capital and as a way of assuring a more equitable distribution of income and earnings among the people of the nation as a whole.”– Franklin Delano Roosevelt