JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A SURPRISING “YES, VIRGINIA, THERE IS A SANTA CLAUS” ARTICLE TRIES TO DISTINGUISH THE AMERICAN PEOPLE FROM THE AMERICAN EMPIRE – BUT YOU SIMPLY CANNOT DO THAT – APART FROM THE SHEER SENTIMENTALITY OF “DON’T CONFUSE JIMMY STEWART WITH LYNDON JOHNSON,” IT IS JUST A FALSE ARGUMENT – I EXPLAIN WHY   1 comment

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY MARKO MARJANOVIC IN CHECKPOINT ASIA

 

“Who or What Is Empire?

“The American Empire is not America. It’s not even the United States Government”

“Obviously a sales lady in a Milwaukee donut shop or a mechanic in Topeka are in no way the Empire.”

 

I disagree. And fairly strongly.

The old saying that you get the government you deserve has a lot of truth in it.

And without the Topeka mechanics and Milwaukee sales ladies, there could be no empire and no Pentagon.

They staff the armed forces. They fill government offices.  They pay taxes. They vote. They do political work. They tolerate and even often act as a cheerleading section for the wars. For the most part, they never protest, in any form.

There were no meaningful protests in America when Iraq was illegally invaded and a million people killed. The Arab world’s most advanced society was reduced to broken poverty, a position it still holds.

Except for a limited period of rising conscript deaths in the late mid-1960s, there really were no meaningful protests while the United States killed three million people in Vietnam in a ten-year war, and killed them in the most grotesque and horrifying ways. The US lost a relatively small number of soldiers over that long and intense war by comparison.

Do you know that just the total mass assassinations of the CIA’s Operation Phoenix – non-military village leaders throats slashed by night-crawling special forces under CIA direction in a true program of intimidating and demoralizing mass terror – over that period killed nearly as many as the Americans killed in combat?

American combat losses were “light” by the standards of serious war because the Pentagon used overwhelmingly brutal force with carpet-bombing, napalm, and early cluster bombs – everything they could think of to raise the “body count,” a common expression of the time in America’s military.

The CIA and special forces joined in with terror and torture. And don’t forget such often-used horrors as throwing a man out of a helicopter when he wouldn’t give the expected information. A complete nightmare, from beginning to end, and to no purpose (except throwing your weight around), achieving nothing.

Ending the old form of conscription shut most of the protests right up. A well-paid professional army – a mercenary force, really – put an end to them for all the future. Indeed, the job and pay became another avenue for little Tommy or Sally, perhaps not overly well educated or talented, to directly benefit from empire. As they do today from something on the order of 800 military bases abroad.

I see in these and other examples, a people with a good deal of selfishness, not a great deal of empathy for others, so long as they and theirs are spared. And/or benefit.

They are, after all, people who for a long period benefitted from empire with far above-average jobs and pay when compared to the world. It was called The American Dream in the postwar period.

There was, unquestionably too, a sense of entitlement assumed by a lot of ordinary Americans in their speech and on their travels. I know because I lived through it.

I worked one summer when just out of high school at a steel mill in Chicago, in the first half of the 1960s. Those workers were not only paid extremely handsome salaries, especially by world standards, but they enjoyed unbelievable benefits, like 13 solid weeks of annual paid vacation with some seniority. That is why they hired students like me.

Imagine, the humblest steel workers with homes, cars, vacation trips, and even small boats? Unheard of living anywhere else on the planet. That’s why it was called, The American Dream. It didn’t last, of course, and for decades America’s middle class has relatively declined as many countries grow and compete.

So how do ordinary Americans react to that fact sinking in? They elect and support a savage in a suit who literally makes it American policy to try ripping benefits from other countries, trying desperately (and in the end, hopelessly) to recreate The American Dream as MAGA, the political and economic and social equivalent of a televangelist religious revival.

The 1950s and early 1960s American industrial workers were the privileged workers of the world, and always with privilege comes a certain degree of arrogance. And besides, they were subjected to corporate and government propaganda around the clock. As kids in grade school, every single day, we recited the Pledge of Allegiance and sang the Star-Spangled Banner, and on “movie day,” each week, we saw corporate and government films in the assembly hall.

The anthem, an unsingable one for most people, might have been okay, but the Pledge was like something from an authoritarian government. Indeed, it was born in that very era. It had no long history. And it is very unpleasant, loaded with social pressures, to demand that children “pledge” their loyalty every single day. It is really an offspring of McCarthyism, and it is alive and well.

Remember, too, Trump, a remarkably ignorant and aggressive and intolerant man, has the support of nearly half of America’s people. Some polls even say fully half.

Obama, an equally grotesque killer and a proven liar, although one with more style and a really nice smile, could be said to hold the other half’s loyalty.

Saying that pledge every day, plus a whole lot more, sure seemed to have done its work for the later adult attitudes and critical capacities.

Look at something so ordinary as a football game. Not only is the game itself much styled after combats and with military-style marching bands and cheerleaders, but any interference is met with serious social disapproval.

As we very much saw with black players respectfully kneeling at the National Anthem in protest over police brutality, a grave reality in America with an average of three Americans a day killed by their own police. They were vilified by tens of thousands. Literally vilified, including by their President and Vice president. And all they were doing was exercising their rights, and doing so quite respectfully.

No, Virginia, there is no Santa Claus, just as there is no innocent Jimmy Stewart American people just being ruled over by the plutocrats and thugs. No country, even in a dictatorship, functions without at least the tacit approval of the majority of its people.

Posted December 12, 2019 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

One response to “JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A SURPRISING “YES, VIRGINIA, THERE IS A SANTA CLAUS” ARTICLE TRIES TO DISTINGUISH THE AMERICAN PEOPLE FROM THE AMERICAN EMPIRE – BUT YOU SIMPLY CANNOT DO THAT – APART FROM THE SHEER SENTIMENTALITY OF “DON’T CONFUSE JIMMY STEWART WITH LYNDON JOHNSON,” IT IS JUST A FALSE ARGUMENT – I EXPLAIN WHY

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  1. unpleasant to realize, but sobering…

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