Late in the Second World War, the telephone rang in our house, and after a few minutes, Mother gave me the phone. Dad was calling from a troop ship off Okinawa. He was with the 77th Infantry of the 10th Army. I asked him “if he was fighting the war all by himself.” What a letdown, he wasn’t winning the war all by himself. He survived.
By that time Eisenhower was President, policemen were God, there were parades in town on holidays, a date could be fun on $5. The Pledge of Allegiance was changed so we could pray not only to the flag, but to some God. Church on Sunday, mow the grass twice a week, and stay away from that Jewish girl down the street, she might do things, and don’t put money in your mouth, some black person may have touched it. I couldn’t wait to find that Jewish girl.
That was my Father’s America.
One day Barry Goldwater came to town to make a speech or raise money or something. I was standing on my toes to see him over the crowd just as he walked by – and a bodyguard knocked me on my ass. I’ve been a Democrat ever since.
My job was working in a store, clerking. We were just over the hill from Berkeley and many of the Berkeley policemen came into the store, most preaching the gospel according to the John Birch Society, funded in part by the Koch family. Then the students came into the store. I was hearing both sides; repression, ultimate freedom, and neither seemed realistic. So, I quit work, went to college and got involved.
Those days were filled with coffee, crappy poetry, funny smelling cigarettes and it was a joy to be alive. By 1969, the three greatest Liberal leaders of our time had been assassinated. Hope ended. I will never get over that.
We understood economics, jingoism, the concept of civil rights, and hate began to emerge. Condemned for hair style and who we associated with, got tense and a trend of hate began.
Today we have the Tea Party and the wannabe right-wing, Congress has no idea what economics are about, and worse, they get elected. The aggressive anti-women, anti-civil rights, the barriers to voting, gerrymandering, constant foreign wars, and the non-actions that weaken the Judicial Branch of the federal government. The Oakland police are beating people again, it’s almost a tradition. Our government doesn’t trust us anymore, they tap your phone, they watch you have sex in the backyard and at least one congressman wants to police your bedroom. And while I’m at it, give peace a chance.
I’m going to shoot down the first drone I see.
If Congress could see their way to approving the jobs bills proposed in 2013, especially those aimed at fixing the US infrastructure, adopt the Keynesian model of economics, punish banks that operate against the good of this nation, make the appointments to the judgeships, and develop some compassion for the poor and unemployed, I might smile. It isn’t happening. The Tea party is influencing the GOP in the language of fascism.
Lincoln said at Gettysburg something about government of the people, by the people, and for the people. That is my America and I ponder the question, “Where has it gone?
tags: John Birch Society, Koch Family, Tea Party, Pledge of Allegiance, Eisenhower