Words

(via The Daily Don)

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1919

 

One of the books I’m reading currently is America’s Part in the World War by Richard J. Beamish, ©1919.  Here’s a brief excerpt:

How the flower of America’s youth, answering the call to battle, sprang to the support of the colors; how America’s army of democracy was raised almost overnight, trained in an incredibly short period of time and made ready for the front line trenches in the battle for civilization, is a story that will go down through the ages as a monument for all time to the patriotism of America’s young manhood.

It’s sort of a bittersweet thing to read.

One of the things I enjoy about it has nothing to do with the subject matter.  If you’ve ever read an interview with Tiny Tim, you know he talked like that all the time.  It’s a pity he wasn’t born a half a century earlier- he would have been one of the cool kids.  The style is entertaining.

But the facts are staggering.  The disruption to lives, the death and human suffering were immense.  Colorful words and flags can’t conceal the awful tragedy of it all.

And always in the background is the sad side that the author wouldn’t have known in 1919:   he truly believed that good had triumphed over evil, that the world was now safe and free, and the story was ended.

He had know way to know it was only the prologue.

If this were a Dickens’ novel, Steve Scalise would awaken and renounce his mean spirited, racist, homophobic past, and work tirelessly to ensure that all Americans have access to the same level of health care that saved his own life.

Sadly, this is not a Dickens’ novel.

*bang*

Steve Scalise pushed through a “health care” bill that will strip coverage from millions of people, resulting in the deaths and suffering of– at a minimum– thousands.

They will die one at a time, surrounded by family or alone. They will live lives of poverty, crushed by overwhelming debt. They will linger in pain, even though cures and medications exist, because they don’t have the means to access them.

Violence doesn’t always happen with a bang.

Sometimes it’s as quiet as the stroke of a pen.

You would think after thirty straight years of daily bombings they would have figured out that violence doesn’t work as a means to solve your problems.

The sad thing is, you can’t be sure which side I’m talking about.

Doddering

When Ronald Reagan was president he was asked by an investigating committee if he had secretly sold arms to Iran (which was illegal) and used the proceeds to fund a covert war in Nicaragua (also illegal).  His reply was, “I don’t recall.”

Seriously!

And there were people who leapt to his defense, saying a president couldn’t possibly be expected to remember every little detail of every little thing that went on in his administration.

So just imagine how much damage Donald Trump could do if his image was that of a kindly, doddering old fool.

Standing By

“There’s no such thing as an innocent bystander.”  ~Abbie Hoffman

People sometimes ask rhetorically, “If you could go back in time and kill Hitler, would you?”  but there’s a big problem with that premise:  it assumes that only one man was responsible for World War II, and the millions of other people who participated were merely dragged behind in the great man’s wake, powerless to do anything other than bob along in the waves he created.

It denies the power of any individual– save the one– to influence world events.

I reject that.