The challenge of figuring out what side of the line you’re on.
ASTORIA, NYC- I was once a young far left liberal who would stand in the streets with signs, yell and scream at demonstrations, and daydream about the masses rising up and overthrowing their oppressors. I’d wear all black. I’d break shit that I didn’t like. Like many other leftists of that time, I would travel far and wide to go to protests against globalization and war — I raged against the FTAA, the WTO, the war in Afghanistan, the second Gulf war, the whole lot. I was opposed to any and all political parties, finding the Democrats and the Republicans part of the same milieu of corporate shrilling and warmongering … and third parties hapless apologists for a rigged system. Needless to say, I didn’t vote.
However, if at that time there was a presidential candidate who wouldn’t start any wars, who would bring home the troops, construct policy that went against the interests of multinational corporations, de-legitimize the mainstream media, and take strong measures against a foreign government that’s detaining millions in concentration camps (literally), I probably would have cast aside my anarchic principles and considered voting.
While I am now 39 years old and have experienced a thing or two which have thoroughly disaffected my sophomoric radicalism I nonetheless find no reason to diverge from the fundamentals of my former leftist self. While abhorring politics in all forms, I remain anti-war, anti-globalization, anti-technocracy; I am against corporations having power over governments, I am against censorship and pro-civil liberties. I abhor the corporate influence over media. I am for personal freedom and the right to self determination. I am against gun control. I oppose the coronavirus lockdowns. I don’t believe that race should be a qualifier that determines how you treat someone. I’m a pretty typical American.
I didn’t believe the Trump hype in 2016. I didn’t buy the outsider rhetoric. I didn’t think he’d be anything other than the same old politician, bought by corporations and out to boost economic output by bombing the fuck out of some poor bastards in some country that nobody cares about. But then he tore up the TPP agreement on his first day in office, and it make me go “Hmm…” That agreement was 1 part trade, 9 parts statutes that would give corporations unprecedented control over governments.
More anti-globalization policies were to follow, foreign wars were ended, troops were shipped home, and historic peace deals were signed. His administration started a trade war on a country whose human rights record ranks with Stalin’s Russia, barked at the tech monopolies, denounced the people who tore through my neighborhood destroying local businesses, opposed the blatantly unconstitutional lockdowns in places like New York, and took a strong stand against critical race theory — a Hitler-esque ideology which seeks to rank and file people on the basis of skin color.
Whatever happened to the “War on Terror?” Where did the Taliban go? What about ISIS? How did all of these sworn enemies of the USA that we’d read about every day suddenly fade into irrelevance? … The peace deals between Serbia and Kosovo, Israel and the UAE, Bahrain and the UAE, and Sudan and Israel were icing on the cake.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, the US had the best job numbers in memory — at that was three years into the presidency of the guy that was touted to take the country down in flames.
Under “racist” Trump, the American prison population dropped to a level unseen since 1995, with the black prison population dropping fell 22.6%. Prisons were converted to what they should be for: holding violent individuals who do other people harm.
In point, a large swath of US government policies over the past four years fall in line with what I spent a good chunk of my youth protesting for. This was what I wanted. In an odd, upside down kind of way, the incumbent more closely matches the liberal agenda of my youth than the guy who is supposed to be the liberal candidate.
But the same people that I used to stand with protesting globalization and war now seem to take this odd era of peace and prosperity for granted. Perhaps they have better things to be doing these days, such as attacking minority owned businesses:
Three U-Haul trucks destroyed at J-Ribs on State Street.
Owner Jesse Barksdale says he was bounced out of bed to respond.
Livid over the destruction of his business. pic.twitter.com/7FKPtD6mmS
— Charles Molineaux (@WHEC_cmolineaux) September 6, 2020
It as if the liberals in the USA are being duped. They have a guy in office that is carrying out large swaths of their policy and they’re too manipulated by media and memes to realize it.
Cultures have very short memories. In these four years of peace it seems as if we’ve forgotten what it was like to be at war. For 15 years of my travels I listened to people ceaselessly complaining about America’s foreign wars and how we have no right to police the world. I would sit and patiently listen to them go on about Iraq and Afghanistan, torture at Guantánamo Bay… For the most part, I would nod my head and agree — I was from a country that delighted in bombing people (Republican president, Democratic president, it was always the same show) — although this was always a less than ideal form of inter-cultural communication.
But now that the USA is pulling out of multiple war zones and haven’t started any new military conflicts, those same people don’t congratulate me for being from a country that has reverted from its warlike ways. No, they just shifted to complaining about what my president tweets. I take it. As far as I’m concerned, I would rather have a tweeting meathead in office than a mass murderer.
War is the natural state of modern America. Trump was the first president since Jimmy Carter to not start a war — the first president in my lifetime to not go around bombing weaker peoples to oblivion. Biden was second in command for all of this:
U.S. military forces have been at war for all eight years of Obama’s tenure, the first two-term president with that distinction. He launched airstrikes or military raids in at least seven countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan.
And another run down of the warlike ways of the Obama / Biden era:
To cite just some recent examples: In October, the president authorized the first sustained deployment of U.S. special-operations forces to Syria to complement his air campaign against the Islamic State. In January, reports emerged that the Obama administration was rethinking its troop drawdown in Afghanistan, given the deteriorating security situation there, and considering sending more troops to Iraq and Syria. The next month, Obama released a defense budget that included an increase of $2.5 billion over the previous year to expand the fight with ISIS to North and West Africa, and billions more for sending heavy weapons, armored vehicles, and other equipment to Eastern and Central Europe to counter Russian aggression. In the past several weeks alone, we’ve learned of Pentagon plans to dispatch military advisers to Nigeria against the jihadist group Boko Haram and to launch an aerial offensive in Libya against the Islamic State. U.S. bombing raids recently killed 150 suspected militants in Somalia and over 40 in Libya. By one measure, in fact, the U.S. military is now actively engaged in more countries than when Obama took office.
I am not in the majority of American liberals, who seem nostalgic for the endless wars, the return of the military industrial complex, and the corporate rule of the US government. And they may soon get what they wish for …
I, for one, would prefer four more years of “orange man bad.”