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Destroying the village
Author: TriSec    Date: 03/09/2019 10:58:34

On February 7, 1968, American bombs, rockets and napalm obliterated much of the South Vietnamese town of Ben Tre — killing hundreds of civilians who lived there.

Later that day, an unidentified American officer gave Associated Press reporter Peter Arnett a memorable explanation for the destruction.

Arnett used it in the opening of the story he wrote:


“It became necessary to destroy the town to save it,” a U.S. major said Wednesday. He was talking about the grim decision that allied commanders made when Viet Cong attackers overran most of this Mekong Delta city 45 miles southwest of Saigon. They decided that regardless of civilian casualties they must bomb and shell the once placid river city of 35,000 to rout the Viet Cong forces.



It feels like the Trump "administration" has reached that point.

For years now, we've been hearing the catchphrase "Take America Back", but nobody has ever been able to conclusively answer "Back to What?"

But now the answer seems evident. Since the end of WWII, the United States has been moving forward in fits and starts towards that "more perfect union". Sure there have been setbacks, but for the most part, the road we've travelled has been in the right direction.

Then came President Reagan.

Three decades ago now, much of that postwar progress was stopped. Oh, we didn't stop moving forward, but the progress slowed to a glacial pace.

In the ensuing 30 years, we've had a succession of increasingly reactionary presidents, punctuated by just two intervals of what we would consider progress. You know who they are - 8 years of President Clinton around the turn of the millennium, and 8 more years of President Obama.

Both administrations categorized by progress, change, and trying to undo anything they could that was established in the Reagan era. It matters not to the Trump Cabal that under these presidents, we had relatively tranquil times, prosperous economies, and a better sense of fairness and equality throughout the land.

I've decided that "Take America Back" refers not to some mythical past era. Nay, it's the kind of people running the country now that have taken it back.

There has always been an undercurrent of racism and discrimination in these United States. You can easily look through history and identify certain eras where racism, discrimination, and even state-sanctioned criminal violence against minorities was the norm.

As we move forward, those elements of society have slowly but surely been moved to the sidelines and discredited.

Until now.

"Taking America Back" has meant that racism and hatred is now welcome in the land again. Police brutality is on the increase; those reaching our shores looking to make a better life are now just as likely to be turned away. How a vocal minority in society has managed to capture power is what we should all be truly disturbed by.

Long ago now, the United States was in the middle of a titanic economic crisis. It spread throughout the world, leading to global chaos, and in many ways laid the groundwork for WWII. A president was elected to try to save the country, and in his inaugural speech in 1932 tried to articulate the feeling of the country.

Eighty-seven years later, his words are no less relevant.


This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.


The nation is now ruled by fear - and instead of a skilled orator, negotiator, and a calm head to reign in that fear and retreat from it, the current occupant of the White House embraces that fear - and by doing so, empowers all those elements of society that are bubbling just below the surface to rise to the top once again.

It makes me wonder how much longer we can survive as a nation - for we are on the verge of tearing ourselves apart.


 

1 comments (Latest Comment: 03/09/2019 15:24:09 by Will in Chicago)
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Comment by Will in Chicago on 03/09/2019 15:24:09
It is hard to say how long we can endure the growing divisions.

If Donny Deutsch is right, Trump will not leave the White House peacefully and order his supporters into the street. In which case, no one knows what will come of our nation.