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Carry your weight

Letter from Slim Wolfe

Modern Life – March 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine


The United States may be one of the only industrialized nations not to provide all citizens with health care, but here in the supposedly backward San Luis Valley the common peasants have put together their own single-payer-plan: You simply set out collection jars with a notice and a photo of your needy friend or relation and hope your neighbors will put in a few spare singles.

Whether there are enough neighbors with enough singles in this sparsely-populated region to make a dent in today’s astronomical medical bills is anyone’s guess, but at least we have the freedom to grovel for spare change when we’re in dire straits. But what if you’re a returned war veteran suffering from the after effects of exposure to U238 (depleted uranium used as a weapon) and your Department of Defense refuses to acknowledge your condition but just gives you stress pills? New Mexico is one of several states whose legislators are writing up mandates for depleted uranium testing and treatment, since the deadbeat Feds won’t pay the bill for their own.

Are we starting to resemble the Soviet Union just before the fall? Or are we more reminiscent of the Roman Empire? Maybe as in Rome we should limit our military to those who can afford their own weapons, uniforms, and a bought commission, since they’re the ones who come from the economic class with the most to lose — assuming that all that consumer fluff is worth defending, dude.

But things could be worse, as they will soon be in California where Governor Terminator will make you a criminal if you don’t carry a health plan — and he don’t mean tequila and Tylenol, either.

Can they revoke your living-license if you don’t pony up to some mega-industrial insurance computer’s monthly statements? Can they refuse to disclose your location on grounds of state security? Hmmmm. Maybe it’ll be illegal not to have a degree in computer technology as well, or to earn less than forty grand a year. Carry you weight or else, bozo.

And talk about blind faith….

I’ve heard lots of people spout off about the military imperatives created by the attack on the World Trade Center, but there has been hardly any attempt during these last several years to consider how we came to have such adversaries. Granted there will always be a few who want to do us in because we don’t pray five times a day, but there’s a much larger group out there in the world who flat out resent our long history of gunboat diplomacy.

It is just plain counter-productive to take it on blind faith that the United States is some sort of saint with never an ulterior motive. It is far more intelligent to be fully aware of history and think about causes and effects. The U.S. was hardly minding it’s own business and staying at home in the years leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor. We had forced our way into Japan and China; imagine someone else’s warships up the Mississippi River as far as St. Louis forcing us to deal with some foreign corporations and you’ll get the picture. One reason the Japanese armies got as far as Singapore in WWII might well be that some of the locals hoped they would be a step up from the Brits and the Yanks who had been threatening them like dirt.

Iraq is more or less a sort of Frankenstein nation cobbled together by the British back in 1920 as a sort of reservation of several incompatible tribes sitting on a large amount of oil. Since the 1950s the U.S. has become the main meddler in the region, helping to topple governments and pitting one faction against another, but never getting a satisfactory (to the CIA) result. Small wonder Iraq now seems to prefer national disembowelment to cooperating with the yanks. Or waiting for the Turks to make their move on Kurdistan.

Maybe gunboat diplomacy and brinksmanship and undercover intrigues don’t justify attacks on Pearl Harbor or the World Trade Center in American minds, but it’s foolish to hope that the rest of the world is so anxious to enjoy an American-style democracy backed by American military force that they’ll look kindly on us for our persistent meddling and destructiveness. It’s far more realistic to think that every continued day of U.S. occupation contributes to the terrorist motivation.

China and India seem to have learned how to increase their share of global trade without the expense and agony of dozens of military installations or hot wars. We can hope that the U.S. will learn from their example and emerge from the dark ages of gunboat diplomacy. We will probably wind up as a second-rate world power, but that might not be a bad thing at all.

Defend ourselves from those who want to destroy us? Well, what do you mean we, paleface? I’ve lived without causing offenses or creating enemies overseas, and so could this nation. But right now the Pentagon is after more money to ramp up operations and create more enemies in Africa. Last month they acted on bogus intelligence in Somalia and killed over a dozen harmless nomads, and they plainly look forward to the chance to do it on a larger scale, while in the Niger delta they need to defend our oil supplies against enraged farmers whose crops and villages and waters have been ruined by drilling operations.

Gunboat diplomacy brings victory to gun dealers and misery to the rest of the planet. Terrorism is not a plague sent down by the Almighty to test our resolve. Rather it is the inflammation of wounds we have inflicted (we being the big money interests who pull our government’s strings) in the name of growth and commerce. The more we scratch at it, the worse it will likely get.

Slim Wolfe

Villa Grove