Paul Elisha: Thoughts On Memorial Day
Watching Public Television’s recent National Memorial Day observance, that made reference to the awe-inspiring sacrifice of World War II veterans, in which this commentator was a participant for nearly three years of combat, one was of course, struck by the sheer immensity in numbers of those affected, both as casualties and hapless victims. The format evoked multiple emotions of sorrow and pride. But the sheer scope of projection still left this viewer wanting. The story of America’s current world-wide involvement has increased the scope of our military might. As the observance reached a climactic intensity, this viewer wondered at the lack of ardor in the on-site audience of thousands, ostensibly gathered to bear proud witness and emotional acclaim. As past military leaders and those of government joined current commanders and leaders, to acknowledge fealty to a sacred debt, this veteran was aware of an immense expression of silence…and a vexing and voiceless question: How and when will all who demand and who must respond to such a huge national sacrifice speak the single missing word: “Enough!?” and pledge an end to the senseless slaughter that maims and emasculates our most precious resource: America’s families and their members?
In 1835, the French political philosopher, Alexis de Tocqueville was sent by his government, to study democracy in America and spent several years at the job. Among the detailed information he sent back was this observation: “I know of no country where the love of money has taken a stronger hold on the affections…or a profounder contempt expressed for the permanent equality of property.” He also observed that what was considered good, today, might be casually superseded by something better, tomorrow.
Several centuries and too many wars later, we’re awash in self-proclaimed savants, who say they can provide better answers. One of the most insistent of these is Grover Norquist, a treasonous, self-serving shake-down extortionist, disguised as a federal-fiduciary Messiah, who claims ‘first-dibs’ for his “Freeze-Funds” formula; which has only increased the vulnerability of those who serve us abroad; like the devoted ambassador to Libya whose life was lost, after budget-cuts for security, were approved by congressional clippers, clearly more concerned with their own personal bank balances.
The great congressional critic, Will Rogers, once put it this way: “Politics and self-preservation must come first, never mind the people in the U.S….We cuss Congress and joke about ‘em but if they wasn’t in Congress, they’d be doing something else against us that might be even worse….when the Senate filibusters, we pay for wisdom and get wind.” How tragic, such devoted wisdom as his, has gone the way of all flesh.
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