Bread and Roses: The Right Thing To Do
By: Jennifer Lynne Ziemann
The first time I voted for George W. Bush, I was twenty-six years old. It was probably the first time I had ever truly taken an interest in politics having been too wrapped up in my own personal trauma to look much further than a sideways glance to the right or left. I was raised Republican, my Daddy voted for Reagan and Bush I. I was so excited to finally take an active interest in politics. I was two years into being single again, making my own life with my two boys and I thought this was the “grown-up” stance to take. I did not know the social issues at stake. I only thought that “W” would bring tax-cuts. What else could a single mom want?
The second time, I was just plain stupid. I was already beginning my disenchantment with this administration, but I still believed they could somehow make it right. I believed you did not change Presidents during a time of war. I thought “they” are in charge and know what is going on, “they” will fix things.
In the last three years, I have learned Republicans are not “grown-up” but neither are Democrats. I realized violence is not “grown-up”. Neither party takes any responsibility. Dick Cheney said the elections do not matter. Whether or not the war is popular, again does not matter. They (the administration) will continue to do what they think is right. I do not believe Democrats have the courage to do any better. Until the Cold War mentality of our governing generation changes, American policies will stay the same.
I received an email the other day from a family member that stated, “We hear that Bush is a war monger, but no one has come up with a sound solution on what to do with those that want to bring down not only the United States but any country that does not believe in their ideology”, (that is fear talking). “Talk doesn’t work anymore”, (so says the Bush administration, you know the whole we will not enter into bi-lateral talks with North Korea or Iran), “ There are those in this country that want to bring down our democratic way of life also; we don’t attack them because the government has a responsibility to protect all Americans no matter what their beliefs. But when we are threatened by outsiders and that includes those that cross our borders and those on foreign soil that wish to do harm to us we should do all what is in our power to prevent them from succeeding. I don’t want to read in the papers in 2010 that the president signed into law a national health care plan and also in the news there was anther car bomb explosion in Chicago this morning…”
This is the fear mentality of the generation that leads our country today. They grew up Cold War kids during the McCarthy period of the “Red Scare.” They lived under air raid drills, “duck and cover,” “stop ‘em all at the 38th parallel, blow those yellow reds to hell” (Billy Joel Leningrad). The United States believed that they were the Big Dick on the block after Little Boy and Fat Man. The rest of the world better stand up and recognize. No country and I mean not a single one better make a change in their government without the blessing of the United States of America.
Cold War kids lived through the Korean War and saw revolution in Cuba. The Bay of Pigs occurred because of an unsuccessful attempt by the United States to assert their will on a country that was not a threat to us. The threat was created with our “attempted” invasion bringing on the Cuban Missile Crisis and “omigod” the commies are in our backyard. Did it ever occur to the United States that Cuba would have made a peaceful transition to a more socialistic government had WE STAYED OUT OF IT?
Next was the Vietnam War. Again, everyone run and hide! Communism is striking again. Hi-ho the United States of America to the rescue. By this time these children of the Cold War weren’t hiding under their desks during an air raid drill, they were being sent into the line of fire under the premise that American freedom was yet again in jeopardy (from the Vietcong who possessed no nuclear weapons). They fought bravely for an ideal they had been raised on: spreading democracy. Sometimes they did not even know who the enemy was. I cannot even begin to understand their fears or describe the bravery it took to fight in a jungle across an ocean against people who were willing to die for what they believed in, too.
I have seen two wars now in my lifetime, the Persian Gulf War and now the “War on Terror” AKA, the war in Iraq. During the Persian Gulf War, I was eighteen years old, homeless, expecting my first son and with a husband that believed I was his country and he was the dictator. I was clueless at the time to what impact if any the Persian Gulf War had to the American way of life. Now, with the so-called “War on Terror” my understanding to war has been honed to a cold realistic view of the United States of America and the current administration. Where is the threat to the United States of America? I do not see any.
Since WWII we have had the atomic bomb, the ability to wage nuclear warfare. Russia, North Korea, Cuba, the Vietcong, Iraq, Iran they were never a threat to the American way of life. It is one thing for the U.S. to work unilaterally for democracy in nations where the overwhelming populace is screaming for freedom under tyrannical dictatorship but quite another to invade a country for corporate gain, (oil). Our country is the subject of terrorism because we seek in the name of corporate gain to rule the world not spread democracy.
Why would I come to that conclusion?
Because the United States of America only invades in the name of spreading democracy to those small countries that will bring us corporate domination and corporate gain. We are not stopping genocide in Darfur. We did not stop North Korea from obtaining nuclear power. We did not step in and help during the Tiananmen Square revolt in China. We did not stop Great Britain from oppressing the greater populace of Ireland. We did not stop France from invading Algeria.
To the contrary forty-eight nations have received overt military action and twenty-two nations have received covert action from the United States to further our corporate interests since World War II.
As long as small nations feel threatened by the United States of America, terrorism will continue. As long as we continue to assert our power world wide instead of taking our money and resources and investing them back into our own country (as in Costa Rica, Switzerland, Finland, Austria, Sweden, Liechtenstein, and the Republic of Ireland); smaller nations will continue to feel the need to develop nuclear weapons in order to stave off the threat of an invasion from the United States of America. In the past when we began to disarm, others disarmed.
It took me two wars to realize that there is a better way. Two wars to realize that violence is not the answer. Two wars to realize that the citizens of the United States deserve better, deserve to be taken care of, deserve to no longer live in the fear propagandized by Corporate America. The Cold War kids that lead our nation have been through seven wars and still have not changed their fear mentality. It is simply not going to change by mere election of a different party. The people of the United States of America need to stand up and demand, yes demand, a revolution of peaceful change.