A look at the political landscape from Kennedy to Bush II. How has something with so much hope ended so badly for so many?
America today is greatly different from the America of our forefathers. It would have been difficult indeed to imagine what America would have
been like now, then. They are two different realms, one agrarian, rural, young; the other industrial, urban, mature. Some would say on the downward
side of its peak. Where exactly does our country stand today? Have we lived up to the dreams and aspirations of our forebears? Is the US all that it
could be? As you look over the landscape that is 21st century America has it lived up to your expectations? America is not a living breathing being
but has America become the land of the free and the home of the brave? Have we reached the potential that the sweat and toil of untold millions was
gladly sacrificed for? Have we developed into an egalitarian society where everyone can live free and prosper? Have we walked the walk or just
talked the talk?
You are probably, at least somewhat familiar with the series of books, Left Behind. The books presage the future of the world after the rapture.
If you are unlucky enough to be left behind life is not going to be very pleasant. Those left behind are going to have to choose whether to take the
Mark of the Beast. Those who don't take the mark will have a difficult time during the Tribulation, but ultimately they will be rewarded. Those who
take the mark will have it easier during end times, but will ultimately putrefy in hell. How would you fare if you were in that position? Would you
take the mark of not? Of course you would probably be ruptured because most people in America feel superior and privileged. But if you read the
books you will find large numbers of people are left in America. That doesn't quite wash with our expectations. In a lesser known series, similar
but different, they make the Dalai Lama the anti-Christ. I would call that the epitome of ignorance but every time I think someone has done the
stupidest thing somebody says or does something more stupid. The Dalai Lama is a very holy man you may not believe as he believes but he certainly
qualifies as holy. People who think they have a corner on the God market are an interesting lot. You know the evangelical caught with his pants down
or with a boy friend or the priestly pedophile. If God were truly universal then that would mean he (she) was the God of all realms and all people,
nobody gets a free pass. Can you imagine how many Americans will be in the pit? " As you sow, so shall you reap." If you spend you life planting
bad intentions don't expect to be one of the 'elite.' Can you imagine the joy on the faces of the downtrodden when they find that the meek really
will inherit the kingdom of heaven? Perfect justice. Can we even find ten righteous people in America today?
As I survey history as I have lived it, my earliest political memories start @ 1960. I remember watching the election results of the
Kennedy/Nixon campaign on our small black and white television with a picture that can only be described as abysmal. Even I could see that John
Kennedy was better looking and more upbeat than Richard Nixon. The fact that he was a Roman Catholic was a plus as far as I was concerned. I just
thought I could trust him more than Nixon. In retrospect, I know that Kennedy was no saint, Nixon was a sinner and my life was about as good as it
would ever get.
My knowledge of the Bay of Pigs invasion mostly comes from books and movies. My political acumen was limited, many would say it still is, but I
tried to fill in the gaps with study and late night discussions. What was the Bay of Pigs all about? It was a plan hatched by the CIA after Castro
took over Cuba. Eisenhower thought it was all right to prepare for an invasion of Cuba and advised Kennedy. Kennedy was not convinced it was a good
idea but yielded to the pressure of the CIA. The CIA is mainly our mechanism of regime change; the Bay of Pigs is just one example of its many
failures. After this early debacle in Kennedy's only term, he was much more wary of the CIA. It is written that he planned to drastically cit the
CIA budget and free reign.
The Cuban Missile Crises was more a measure of the man John Kennedy was. Here again the Joint Chiefs and cabinet gave Kennedy very few options,
all of which were military responses. From a limited strike on the missile sites to a nuclear attack all of which would have called for Russian
retaliation. Kennedy sought a strong but non-military response. Eventually an option that would not show weakness was found, quarantine. Let the
world know what Russia was attempting and only if the Russian ignored the US blockade would force be used. Strangely cooler heads prevailed every
situation does not call for a military response.
Many historians viewed the Kennedy years as a virtual Camelot. Clearly not but the man did give peace a chance. His views on the budding
Vietnam situation seemed to indicate that he was losing hope in militarily achieving America's objectives there. Think of that, US history without
the Vietnam War. 55,000 US soldier's lives would have been spared and untold millions of Vietnamese. One of our darkest hours erased, families torn
apart miraculously whole. Years later it would come out that we had no real plan to win the war. That's validation for you.
It was also said that we misunderstood Ho Chi Minh's objectives. He wanted independence above all else and we refused to help. We were seeing
the world through poet WWII blinders. We were supporting the Containment Policy and we professed to believe in the Domino Theory. Was it that simple
or did the military-industrial complex Eisenhower warned of require sacrifice? What would be wrong with an independent Vietnam? Was Diem an
honorable man? Could he help Vietnam or was he another in a long line of puppets to be installed by the US? Later Diem proved ineffective and
ultimately expendable. We seem to have a knack for picking the most unsuited people available. Reza Pahlavi in Iran, Marcos in the Philippines,
Pinnochet in Argentina, Noriega in Panama, the worst of the worst.
It's strange we say we believe in democracy and government by the people but how many times has the US replaced a popularly elected official
with a hand picked dictator? It appears to be getting what we want and letting a small group of people in the puppet state gain wealth and prestige
that really matters. But please don't expect some socialist state where everyone shares equally. Marx is dead. Reagan killed him. At least he
said he did.
Case in point Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. He has gotten nothing but bad press in the US. There was even a coup attempt, most likely sponsored by
the US, to oust him. He wishes to nationalize the oil of Venezuela. He says to improve the standard of living of his people and the people
apparently love him. But socialism is anathema to the US power structure and are they ever threatened. Just think if people in America start to
think that they should be sharing the wealth tat might cause a revolution. Better to reprint Atlas Shrugged and the Fountainhead so people understand
that the haves have earned every cent and if they just work hard and are worthy they too can share in the American dream.
Even though Reagan killed him Marx saw one thing very clearly, history is a struggle between the haves and the have-nots. America is at the apex
of that struggle; we have the largest gap between rich and poor of any of the industrial countries. That may have been all right when blue-collar
workers were making a decent wage and had benefits but today that's the exception to the rule. Today people in America are poor and getting poorer.
Millions don't have health care or a decent place to live. But if you read the papers and listen to Dubya you would think that programs that aid the
poor are stopping the rich from getting richer. Actually it's the progressive tax that's causing the problem. A good old regressive tax would fix
the US. Actually it's going to take a lot more than that.
Well I have to go for now, duty calls. But lest you think I'm un-American I'm headed to the cemetery to pray for my brother who died in
Vietnam and my grandfather who fought in the War to end all Wars. Funny how the American Dream is turning out.
[edit on 17-12-2006 by UM_Gazz]