Minority Rule and Military Memes.

Well, we recently had two events of national significance: mid-term elections and Veteran’s Day. The mid terms were cloud nine nirvana for the right-wing faction of the GOP (more “tea baggers”, science-deniers, anti-union, pro corporate, deregulating-crazed free market zealots, and other icky add-ons to our already dysfunctional congress). For those who did vote and were hoping for some gains among seats whose cushions would contain the tushes of more moderate voices (those who actually speak to “we the people” rather than “we the special interests”) it was a rather gloomy day.

Into the abyss.

Well, as it turns out, the turn out, as in the number of registered voters who actually took time to vote, was very low. 36.4% to be exact. So if of those who supported the GOP candidates outnumbered those who sought democrats or even independent or “green” candidates by say, 22-14% or 20-16%, then about one-fifth of all potential voters got to dictate the coming congressional make-up for the other 80% of us who either voted for the left of center, or didn’t vote all. Remind me again of exactly how the U.S. is a democracy?

Of course it’s not a democracy. It’s not a dictatorship or a totalitarian enterprise, but it’s not quite a open, transparent, democratic representative government these days. After Citizen’s United being ruled 5-4 by our current Supreme Court in favor of “corporations are people and money is free speech” and with about 5-7 billions dollars having being spent on the recent mid-term elections, statewide or national offices, I’d say we are pretty much an oligarchy. Want to run for dog catcher? Better get a war chest of at least several hundred thousand dollars. Money may be “free” speech, but it’s not at all free in the political arena. It costs a fortune if one wants to speak as an elected official. Money corrupts? I’ve heard that somewhere. Ah, it’s probably just me and those silly cynical voices in my head. And if corporations are “people” can they get the flu, or sexually transmitted disease, high cholesterol, hypertension or migraines, among other afflictions common to we homo sapiens?

Hello, IBM and Monsanto! How’s the wife and kids today?

Well bully for the righteous righties.. They sold that snake oil–again! Such masters of deception! They successfully repressed the vote (“red state” voter i.d.requirements that reek of keeping minorities, elderly, college students, you know, those who tend to tilt toward democrats or independents). Their byzantine voter requirements make it hard  for wannabe voter-citizens to meet the i.d. “hoops” through which they’d have to jump in order to find themselves in front of the ballot box). Also, and even more sinister is their systematic decrying of the dysfunction and gridlock in congress (which they created!) that leaves many (those who have short memories) thinking a change is needed (and, hey, with a rigged two-party system, the implication is the GOP will make things work better). And a pig will fly out of my ass, too! The lack of real choice then implies for many that it doesn’t matter if one votes or not. Success! Thus, a small faction of voters win the day! Now, we can all sit back and watch more gridlock and listen to galling pontificating tumble from the mouths of obstructionists and bufoons, some of whom openly deny climate change, or who consider homosexuals “sub-human” and believe the earth is only 6,000 years old. It’s like looking at congress in a fun house mirror. What the hell is that weird looking thing?

We get the government we deserve. And when things get worse than they are right now, consult another mirror, folks. No, not the one in the fun house. The one your bathroom!  If you work for a living, living is about to become less workable, as in wages, benefits, job security, workplace safety, organized labor, not to mention women’s reproductive rights and public education, or infrastructure repair.  Care about the environment? Better enjoy it while you can. Go out and admire a bird’s nest and how well structured and functional they are, because the only nests that will be given protection by the critters coming to congress in January are those nests already fiercely fortified by well-funded fat cats who lay only golden eggs.

*     *     *

Now, about Veteran’s Day. Your humble narrator here is a vet. Vietnam era. Medical Corp. Drafted. 2 years active, four years reserve. Discharged honorably. Hated every minute of the experience. Why? Why?! What were we fighting that war for? It certainly wasn’t about protecting the USA and it’s “freedoms”. If you know it or not, after about ten years and the loss of nearly 59,000 military personnel, half a million wounded, and heaven knows how many dead Vietnamese civilians, we bailed out, let the North take the South, letting the dreaded commies take what we went there to prevent from happening in the first place. If we were fighting to defend the American way of life, or for “our national interests,” our values, economy or ability to walk about like a free people, then I guess all that really was just so much flag-waving folderol.  I came home (thankfully), and nothing about the American way of life changed. Not one bit of it. Zip. Zilch. Nada. So, why did we fight it? Who’s interests were served by all that bloodshed and horror?

Perhaps it was fought for the same reason we fought the Korean War in the early 1950s. Another fiasco. Again, no effects on life in the U.S. of A. except for the egg on our military’s face.  We gave up on that conflict and it was still baseball, ma’s apple pie and Chevrolet. Same same. Korea. Nam. Gulf I, and the tragic pretense of needing to invade and occupy Iraq. We have not had to literally fight to guarantee the American way of life since WWII. Hitler and Hirohito had a bloody agenda, and they weren’t going to stop at the borders of either Asia or Europe. We lose that war, and I’m not blogging right now. And you aren’t reading it either. You think that’s an exaggeration? Know history. Watch it, as I did not long ago, in a PBS series tracing the events of WWII, and the dire and desperate battles that determined the outcome of a  truly “good versus evil” confrontation that had real dire consequences for the losers. Hitler lost. Germany was left in ruins, bombed and burned out. Not to mention Japan. Two atomic bombs dropped on a mostly civilian population! If either of those countries got the ultimate weapon first, who doubts they would not have used it on us? All war is hell, but not all wars need to be hell because not all wars have to be fought. WWII had to be fought.

Iraq, as is supremely clear now, was a daily dose of disinformation at best and a pack of lies at worst. But Bush sold it and the American press and public bought it. And though we at first needed to go to Afghanistan after 9-1-1, it’s been years since we killed Bin Laden, but 13 years since first sending troops there, our soldiers continue to fight for…for…well. Who knows why?

As where the Vietnam vets were scorned by the public after the media consistently showed body bags and the carnage taking place there, then documented the atrocities committed by some of our war-crazed troopers (as though Nam was the first war to have atrocities be part of the insanity that is inherent in warfare). Now, however, through the new media “spin” of “freedom fighters” and “wounded warriors” that connote the Gulf and Afghan incursions, the regular dose of hyped up news segments fawning over the vet surprising a wife or child back in the states, and “thank you for your service” mantras and memes that seek to sell the notion that something, something was at stake by having these volunteer soldiers placed in harm’s way, to serve is to be a “hero” ipso facto. Is it a pitch to love the sinner this time, but hate the sin? No one’s spitting on these vets at airports. No way. Vet’s Day now has a flurry of freebies awaiting those who served. Free haircuts, meals,  massages and more. But make no mistake, it’s a selling of ignore the sin, then love the ones who were exploited by it.

Please don’t think I’m not respectful every veteran. They serve, honorably. Follow orders. Cover one another’s back, and are never out of the fight, in spirit at least. We do need a military in this sick and twisted global battle of radical ideologies, religions, egos and economic shape-shifting. Or at least the military industrial complex does. WWII was truly a fight for our freedoms and the soul of a country (along with the other Allied nations). That was stark reality to the troops and the populations back home. No slick media spin was needed.  And save the world for democracy these bona-fide  freedom fighters did. They saved our country so that it can now have all the warts and wickedly petty political poseurs passing themselves off as our “leaders”. They saved it for the dumb, lazy and stupid public to not bother voting or voting their propaganda-implanted fears, and not their actual needs.

Enjoy your freedoms, ladies and gentlemen. Just remember the warriors who fought, died or got ripped up physically or mentally who really did save our country to keep our freedoms intact, so that we now foolishly, blithely can let it slowly come apart at the seams.

About jharrin4

mass communication/speech instructor at College of DuPage and Triton College in suburban Chicago. Army veteran of the Viet Nam era.
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1 Response to Minority Rule and Military Memes.

  1. Catherine O'Brian says:

    An excellent analysis of how corporate wealth now drives the outcomes of elections while a somnolent populace either ignores the ballot box or drinks the kool aid provided through negative advertising campaigns ad nauseum and votes accordingly. Like proverbial sheep, many of those who cast a ballot unwittingly vote against their own interests at the same time that their eligibility to vote is slowly being stripped away by the purveyors of kool aid. Where do we go from here?


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