I remember in Elementary school learning about the Cold War. Hell, it was still going on. Teachers were patriotic and Republican–which happens when you live in a red state–and couldn’t broach the thought of someone whom they knew, or who they respected being a Communist.
Now, I’m not a Communist, but I might just be a Socialist. I believe in single payer healthcare, in bread and butter over guns (as the old economics trope goes). In the United States especially we should be able to provide everyone a roof, three squares, and a job. Instead we have the largest military in the world and continue interfering in parts of the world that don’t need or want us.
And imagine what would happen if the military shrunk a little bit. Maybe put a little more money into Homeland Security and their efforts to crack down foreign terrorists. Up the police force salaries, get the FBI to do its job. And what in the hell is the ATF for? Aren’t all of these things legal? Alcohol, tobacco and firearms? Then why have an organization–a law enforcement organization–for the enforcement of existing laws? Can’t the police, or the FBI handle that. If you want to get rid of useless programs there’s one.
The military. Let’s get back to that.
Back in the day, under Truman and Eisenhower and the longer list of presidents who represented leadership against a mythical foe, Communism was a citadel, a single bloc against which the policies of democracy and capitalism must prevail. But Communism was never a bloc, it was never an obelisk. (I’m sorry Dave, but I can’t do that.) Communism was as separate and apart as Capitalism.
The USSR had one type, China another, Eastern Europe wasted under USSR control and sought to avoid the internal pograms of Joseph Stalin, the purges, the late night trains to Siberia. China had Mao and the Cultural Revolution with its disastrous consequences for the Chinese peasant. And Indochina had a completely different system, all three countries facing different paths through corruption and nepotism on their way to Capitalism with a Socialist scent.
And the military, originally built up under Roosevelt during WWII got even bigger. All the wars we fought before that and the military shrunk when they finished. That’s what mobilization is for. We have a standing army that numbers near 1.5 million people. That’s a lot. That’s almost as many soldiers who lost their lives in the Battle of the Somme in the First World War.
We don’t need that. We don’t need to be armed for second strikes, we shouldn’t even be armed for first strikes. Though I grew up a Republican, cleaning out the closets of my mind has produced a very different person than the one who used to be me. I’m proud to be for peace, and I’m proud to be an American (ask me again in 2020). But I also think that there is real value in helping the poor and the suffering, the ageing and the mentally ill. Hope in reviving the waning spirits of Social Security and Medicare.
Now that doesn’t prevent me from pushing my books–which are thoroughly capitalist and democratic. I’m glad for the system that allows us to vote in and out politicians, though I would prefer more than two parties (that’s a conversation for another day). So if you’re looking for something light and fluffy, with some action, some wit, and some adventure, go on over to my authors page on Amazon.
Image courtesy of Archives New Zealand.