Saturday, October 15, 2011

some days everything seems revolting

alas, i've never been one to march in any cause. call it cowardice. call it rationality. not a good team player, i hate to pass the ball (or the buck). not that i don't admire the faithful. they usually react to economic injustice or some version of inequality. and it's always the rabble who have the courage to cast stones, despite bibical advice to the opposite.

unfortunately, the result depends upon several things. if it's a violent revolt that succeeds, usually a much more tyrannical system prevails. this because people tire of hardship and chaos, and because leaders who can win a war want to run a country in the same way. in violence the scum usually rise to the top. those with a desire to control and profit, the fascist crowds put into order by a charismatic leader.

germany in the thirties the saddest story. an army brat, i lived in germany 1954-56, playing in old bunkers, walking on abandoned airfields, passing holes in the middle of cities. as a teenager, all that interested me sex and girls, my ignorance of  recent history abysmal. still, something sank into my bones merely by proximity. norway invaded by germany the week i was born, may 5, 1940, and my first years spent waiting for safeway to open, people in the line holding their ration cards. i collected old tires, getting, i think, a quarter a piece.

my experience of the 60's mainly one of cynicism and fear. i joined the coast guard reserve, never called up, the boot camp experience one of the worst in my life. i remember standing watch at night on government island, watching the car-lights of freedom on the oakland freeway and listening to my fellow sufferers shouting and crying in their sleep. my father a chaplain in the army, i'd had a completely different experience of post life.

kids revolted against being drafted. that's what drove the protests. and i often felt they were self-serving. still, to live under the gun a terrible existence. yet now i do sympathize a lot more with a democratic military that responds to civilian control. and i understand every society will have those who belong naturally to the soldier caste. i'm not a fool. i know tyranny must be nipped in the bud. however, when alcibiades sent the ships from athens to italy and they disappeared in the conflict, it ended the greatness of the athens we celebrate today.

so, the leaders of a change determine the result, and the more peaceful the developments, the happier everyone will be. the dissolution of the soviet union a miracle in this regard. think what a mess it could have been, probably engulfing europe in the process. and i have to smile at those who rail against welfare and the easy life of indigents in america. imagine what eliminating social services would do. instantly, we'd live in a chaos of beggary and theivery.

without leadership, no focus, no organization, no credibility. this last important. even in the indian wars, when tribes didn't have kings and captains, washington designated leaders and dealt with them. and of the indian fighters we remember the heroes like chief joseph and geronimo, we admire the charismatic, and hopefully those we discover today will have hearts of gold, and not of ice.

here's an interesting article on the current protests. remember: democracy only lasts as long as enough people feel they're getting a fair share and have a voice.