Last night's comment brought up an old bone of contention for me. The special comment first:
I have mentioned in passing with different posts that I was, to an extent, involved with anti-Vietnam war activities, feelings and protests. This is not something with which I am sorry. Rather, it is something in which I have pride.
At the time, the tenor of the country was if you were anti-war, you were anti-American. I couldn't be more opposed to that line of thinking. I believe the opposite.
At the time, the country was involved in what some, and I include myself, was an illegal war. It was not in the best interest of the country; it was a purely ideological conflict. It was a holdover from the McCarthy era. The fear of Communism was great; U.S. politicians feared that it would dominate the world; patriots believed that the U.S. was in danger of an assault by Communism, i.e. the USSR. Of course, history finally proved that there was nothing to fear and Communism fell.
I am using the word Communism with a big C because it is not the same as the social and economic communism philosophized by Karl Marx and his associates. The big C Communism was a form of government created and fostered by Lenin, Stalin, and other Soviet Union leaders as a form of big brother government that controlled all aspects of the country - thought, behaviour, beliefs, etc. If we were fighting against this in Vietnam, I think there is a case for the conflict.
I question if a small country in Southeast Asia was the place to make the stand though. A country that historically was always in conflict with the West because of imperialistic takeover and control. A French colony that France finally saw as a losing proposition and got out.
I also am reminded of what President Eisenhower warned against in his farewell address: the military-industrial complex.
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
The last eight years has shown the rise of misplaced power. I'm sure that it would not please Mr. Eisenhower if he knew the extent to which his predictions have materialized. Sadly, it was President Eisenhower and his administration that increased the aid to Vietnam under the pretext of the belief at the time that if Vietnam falls, so falls the rest of Southeast Asia.
I mention these things as a little background to my thought process about anti-America.
At the time, in listening to the Vietnam anti-war leaders and the prevailing thought against the conflict, I don't believe that we believed that we were being anti-America. Just the opposite.
My take is that I, along with others, believed that we were being tremendously pro-America. We were questioning, in legal ways to the great extent, the efficacy of the government's actions and exercising what the Constitution guaranteed as a right to disagree with the government.
I discount those that acted violently. They were in the minority and actually worked against the non-violent stance of the majority of anti-war protesters and actions. The purpose of the movement was based primarily on belief in non-violence being the means and best way of action. I have always thought that groups that called for and committed acts of violence were actually counterproductive to the anti-war movement.
Now, knowing that this will ruffle feathers of patriots with narrow mindedness and who believe that there is only one right way to be pro-American, I have to restate that I believed that Daniel & Philip Berrigan, Steven Spiro, and, as it was brought out during the last presidential election, John Kerry considered themselves pro-America because they were working for what they believed to be a just cause that would strengthen the country.
I am as proud of these people as I am proud of Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Harry Truman, Keith Olbermann, and many others who work to make the U.S. greater and more inclusive of all thoughts as is guaranteed by the First Amendment. Something that self-identified patriots, and I include Mrs. Palin in this group, would control by using it themselves to speak their distaste for dialogue and inclusion.
ironic, i think...