Wed Jan 25, 2012, 09:43 PM
The Straight Story
I am 46. When I was a young boy I remember seeing the news when folks returned home from Vietnam. Scattered memories of that time are still in my mind. I remember man walking on the moon (a brief memory to be sure of the TV, I was but a toddler). I still recall when I was small being in Byesville, Ohio, and seeing on the news that in Columbus (where I lived and we were getting ready to head home to) that the KKK was protesting, and being afraid.
I didn't know who they were or exactly what it was they were protesting against except what I had heard the adults talking about. I knew it was about black people and such, but what it was all about escaped me.
I grew up while Vietnam was going on, and the cold war. I feared the Russians, I caught glimpses of of the war and heard the songs my parents and others listened to but barely understood them.
During my teen years I remember Reagan and the cold war more. I was always afraid of nuclear war and didn't get why we were all at 'war'. I played chess and met several people from the Soviet Union and they were just like me. The people, it seemed, did not want war. They didn't want to take over the US. They just wanted their own life and freedom to be themselves.
Time marched on. The threat of communists and the Soviets faded. The fear of the world ending in a nuclear holocaust subsided. Enemies became friends. The folks I had seen at chess tournaments who were once seen as political refugees were now free to go home, the iron curtain was now nothing more than a phrase that had more to do with the Steelers than the Soviets.
It seemed as if peace might just have a chance. And then, there was a new 'enemy'.
I remember laying with my son when he was just a toddler beneath a tree and looking up at the sky at one point in the early 90's. We were looking at the clouds and I was so thankful he was not growing up with the fear I had grown up with.
The same son who recently went to Iraq.
I thought we had 'won'. The days of fearing that any day the Russians would launch a nuclear attack were over.
It was replaced with a new fear. Terrorists. A term we could apply to any action or any person or group.
I grew up being scared of us being a war. Well, I guess I could say I grew up in fear. And that fear is still being peddled.
Now instead of having a common enemy we fought against - me and you are the potential enemies.
Now we have wars without end, and even when one ends we are hearing that others need to start just to protect us from nations like Iran.
Iran is nowhere close to the old Soviets.
And I say - No more.
We won. We have the mightiest military in the world. We spend the most of any country on earth on defense - yet we keep telling the people that we are not safe and need to spend even more.
We have more enemies and fear than we have ever had. I still remember going to the airport to see my dad off on his business trips and there was no TSA. I did not fear my fellow citizen. Now I am told that we are all potential terrorists. I am told to fear me and you.
The new enemy is us, and everyone else.
I thought we won. We didn't.
The RW is itching for a war with Iran, one which my son would be pulled into. I am told that now the world is worse off than it was - well I grew up scared that when I went to bed a nuclear missile was headed our way. That fear is gone. And here we are in the 21st century and my oldest son was sent to war - came home - and those on the right are trying to find a reason to send him to another one.
No more. No more wars from fear. No more killing families in countries far away out of fear that those people might invade us.
You tell me that Reagan won the cold war, made us safer - and then you tell me that it means nothing and you send our kids to war.
My grandkids are at about the same age as my son was when I thought we were done with it all. Now my greatest fear is not that the soviets will attack us - but who we will attack next in the name of 'peace'.