I served in the United States Army for three years, from 1972 to 1975. When I was drafted, I didn’t know that I wouldn’t go to Vietnam, but at some point in basic training I learned that they were not sending any new American troops to the war zone. There were guys I was training with who were disappointed.
Forty-two years later, I’m watching the Super Bowl. Honestly, I don’t care who wins, I just enjoy watching football from time to time. What I do find interesting and disturbing in the whole corporate extravaganza is the celebration and adoration of our military. FOX won’t let us forget about our men and women fighting for…who knows what…serving in foreign lands. Black, white and brown faces smile widely as they give a shout out to family and friends back home. Is that wrong, you ask? These people are serving our country, giving up the comforts of home and hearth to defend democracy. Yes, I know. I was there. Having to serve in uniform and leave my young family turned my private life upside down and it all ended badly.
Let me ask you this. Where are the soldiers for peace? Where are the men and women who devote their lives to ending warfare and bloodshed? Where’s the tribute to Pete Seeger? Where’s the profile of Edward Snowden? What happened to the halftime show honoring Nelson Mandela? The ugly truth is we are an imperial nation with a lust for conquest and bloodshed. We need constant conflict, whether it’s the Indians or the Nazis or the communists or the terrorists, we need an enemy to distract the populace from the looting of their country by the capitalist elites. The Astors, Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, Du Ponts, Bushs, Hiltons, Waltons, Coors and the Kochs all understood that their success depended on keeping us distracted and focused on the “other.” Class warfare happens in foreign countries, not here. We only fight when we have to. Peace is our main objective.
We’ve been lied to for so long we can’t tell up from down, good from bad or truth from falsehood. We celebrate violence and ignore peace. Our heroes, whether real or fictional, succeed by killing and destroying. Our entertainment is dominated by those who win using force. People who work for peace are marginalized, ignored and scoffed at.
This is the country I sacrificed three years of my life for. I’d like them back now, please.