I’ve been in sick in my bed the last couple days. I’m unsure whether or not it’s self-inflicted because I’d made a trip into Dallas with a girlfriend to eat and drink Saturday night and it came on afterward. When we arrived back in Longview on Sunday, she reminded me to have a happy Memorial Day. I’d forgotten that it was a holiday weekend but as I drifted between sleep and groaning pain, it occurred to me that Memorial Day shouldn’t be a happy occasion but a day of quiet reflection. That thought morphed into something a bit more developed as I heard the background noise of the television and news anchors talk about the biggest sacrifice that man can make for his country- death on the fields of battle. Even through my illness I thought that the biggest load of horseshit that I ever heard.
I am certainly not new to the idea that every imaginary lined state- ours included- has its own propaganda outlets but what a slap in the face it is to tell people that the best thing one can do for his fellow man is die in arms? That these ideas are followed by huge parades, 50% off sales, patriotic movies and fireworks displays should be an indicator of how ridiculous a notion that it is at all and I think it time to re-examine what it is that we’ve been taught to celebrate.
War by its very nature, is destruction; it’s the destruction of lives, resources and ideas and it’s usually done for the basest of reasons- money and fear. Major General Smedley Butler wrote not so long ago in War Is A Racket:
WAR is a racket. It always has been.
It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.
A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small “inside” group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.
In the World War [I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows.
How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?
Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few – the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill.
And what is this bill?
This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations.
This, dear readers, is what we are celebrating when we are grilling and swimming today. I wouldn’t dare tell you how to spend this postal and banking holiday but I would like to remind you that the men and women who’ve died in America’s wars may have had very noble ideas about why they were there but, in truth, they died to line pockets and instill fear. Remember that as you pull another hotdog off the grill for your 7 year old because he is the newest generation of brainwashed who will be saddled with the debt before he was old enough to contract it. He is but one of the next generation of people who may indeed be celebrating his own slavery. I will also be spending time with family but they will understand why this day is free of work and why the government sells the celebration and I will be talking about these ideas tonight on channel 16 (8 eastern) during my show at Bold Voices TV.