26 September 1999
The Fifth Column & Q. Synopsis


My parents didn't tell me who Hitler was. I worked up my courage to ask them. Then I asked them who Joan of Arc was.

My parents read Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex

(*but were Afraid to Ask) but never offered to let me read it.

My (college) students were born the year Star Wars came out, the movie that shaped me, and made me think about American politics in terms of a handful of heroines and heroes fighting a desperate struggle against a vast and evil empire. Which maybe does have a certain amount of truth to it.

When I was in college, folks were just glad they weren't going to Vietnam.

So they partied instead. Dan Quayle was there at the time, but he denies it now. Besides, his dealer was really uncool. He was a terrorist that liked to blow up kids, and then deny it all. I guess that primed Dan for working with George Bush, who had similar problems with Central America.

I went to Hardscience Overachiever High School. We graduated primed for success. I was convinced then that it was necessary to struggle against destiny, in order to avoid being channeled into a highpaying corporate position. Later I learned that struggling was unnecessary.

I graduated from a military-run high school in Germany. We had to go out of our way to avoid ending up as cannon-fodder in the US's imperial wars. Or you at least wanted to be an officer; you were more likely to survive 12 months in-country that way, if you weren't in the infantry. Recruited by all four service academies, I decided that Indiana U, Journalism Department Honors Program. might be a better idea. Then I spent most of my one year in college dealing dope and getting into politics when no one was interested before flunking out (or dropping out) of college and becoming a somewhat successful weed salesman and revolutionary.

My dad was in the Navy, and flew in Korea. He doesn't talk about it much.

My dad was in the Air Force, and couldn't see well enough to fly. He was in Saudia Arabia when I was born, 35 years before Desert Storm, and he won't talk about it.

I take that back. He doesn't not talk about it much, he doesn't talk about it period He lost at least one buddy. It's hard to land an airplane on a ship.

My dad did talk about it once when he got drunk with some friends of his in grad school. It was mostly about how paranoid they were of the Arabs finding them to be infidels in the Holy Land of Islam. They were afraid the results wouldn't be pretty. You know, if the US would've followed my dad's impulse back then, instead of getting in deeper, no one would of ever heard of Osama bin Laden.

The year I was born: The Moon Landing. 2001: a Space Odyssey. Nixon riding in on his "secret peace plan" platform. "Peace with Honor." The Big Lie, baby. More Americans died and no doubt more Vietnamese. Woodstock. Altamont & Brian Jones.

The year I was born: The Suez Crisis. Khrushchev denounced Stalin and the "cult of personality," which empowered Marshall Tito of Yugoslavia to insist on "national communism" as the correct way to bring socialism to the masses. The 1956 U.S. Presidential election was the first one in which desegregation was a factor. Instances of mob violence against orders to desegregate, and states passing laws against the Supreme Court's 1954 order to open the schools to all races, equally, punctuated the campaign. Nine of the seventeen states which traditionally had school segregation still refused to allow their schools to be attended by both blacks and whites. A school in Hoxie, Arkansas was sued by "White America, Inc." and the White Citizen's Council for allowing both races to attend the same school. Republican Eisenhower beat the Democrat's, and Illinois' favorite son, Adlai Stevenson. It should be noted that Eisenhower warned of trusting the "Military-Industrial Complex", which he helped create, only AFTER leaving office in 1961.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. If the "military-industrial complex" is still making war, under a President who was a war protester, hasn't he betrayed us all? We are used to this from them; why are we still fooled by it from him? Let the people speak, and not the Republic. Its hands are already far too bloody. But enough about Kosovo. The Big Lie. Babe.

Newspoetry at Spineless Books