Like the line in “Southie is my Hometown”, many South Bostonians (myself included) are “hot under the collar” about the ignoble decision to exclude The Veterans for Peace from marching in The Saint Patrick’s Day/Evacuation Day parade. Ultimately, this day is about celebrating our veterans who sacrificed so much so that we may live in peace! It is disgraceful and dishonorable that these veterans–because of their advocation of peace–are banned from the parade. It makes one wonder why The Veterans for Peace are reproached by the parade’s architects?
These folks did not fight to propagate a militaristic culture in our country–a country that is always on war-footing or heavily involved in conflicts that are injurious to our national interest. Last decade’s foreign policy (The Bush Doctrine) has led to a decline in our power and influence in international affairs (I will not delve into the costly Iraq debacle and how it empowered our greatest enemies–maybe next time).
Why do we fight wars? It is so that we may live in a world where there is peace with justice. Sometimes there is peace, but justice is absent, and that may be cause for war. So we fight for both peace and justice. The motivating factor of our veterans and our current men and woman in uniform is to bring about peace and justice for the American People.
They do not wish to be on permanent war-footing. And the bane of this country since World War II has been the creation of the military-industrial complex that thrives in our nationalistic culture (unfortunately, our Saint Patrick’s Day Parade has become an example of that militaristic culture). Their must always be an enemy–a bogey-man. First it was the Soviet Union and communism; now it is al Qaeda and Islamic Fundamentalism.
We do have real enemies in the world. However, the military-industrial complex creates an irrational fear in the American People so that the arms manufacturers continue to get most of our tax dollars. In 2013, 57% of the president’s proposed discretionary spending went to defense. The United States is responsible for almost half of the world’s military spending at 48%.
We are on a permanent war footing, so that the CEO’s of companies like Boeing can continue to take most of our tax dollars in order to remain uber-rich. How is that not the redistribution of wealth that hawkish-conservatives hypocritically accuse Progressives of?
The Veterans for Peace bring a much-needed argument to the table, and they do so by innocuously calling for peace. But the powers that be that are victims of military-industrial propaganda–or perhaps, even more dangerously, they are sincerely nationalistic–unjustly ban The Veterans for Peace from our parade.
As aforementioned, 57% of proposed discretionary spending goes to the military whilst our education system continues to suffer, whilst our infrastructure falls apart, whilst the middle-class continues to disappear.
The biggest threat to our nation–to our superpower status–is the continuous neglect of our educational system and the middle-class–not al Qaeda, not Islamic fundamentalism.
We reached superpower status by investing in America’s infrastructure, by making college affordable through the promulgation of legislation like the GI Bill, which led to the formation of a strong middle-class protected by strong unions.
“Those who do not know history’s mistakes are doomed to repeat them.” Our national policies are a mirror reflection of the policies of the Romans in the last years of this great empire’s existence. In their death throws, most tax dollars were allocated to military defense spending, which led to an ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor. Rich Roman families fled and created their own independent fiefdoms to avoid taxation (call it an early form of tax sheltering).
America and our leaders do not seem to be students of history. If we were, we would already know what the result of our policies will be the collapse of our great American superpower status–a mirror image of the collapse of Rome.
We have a lot to learn from these Veterans for Peace. They are true patriots warning us of our eminent demise if we continue to financially ignore our domestic problems in order to redistribute the wealth to the wealthiest 1%.
Leaving them out of the parade is shameful. It is an attempt to propagate the military-industrial complex that the powers that be in South Boston subscribe to.