September 11th, 2006

Voted for Dean

All I Have to Say about the 5th Anniversary of 9/11

On December 7th, 1946, the 5th anniversary of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, the war had been over for four hundred and eighty days. By the fifth anniversary of the December 7th attack, the war against those who attacked us had been over for so long that reconstruction was well underway, and the Japanese people themselves were already almost entirely won over, emotionally, to our side because they'd seen how generous we were to them in their defeat. By the 5th anniversary of December 7th, Adolf Hitler who had declared war on us in defense of his allies who had attacked us, had long ago committed suicide in the bunker we'd trapped him in, was long dead and buried.

Democrats lead that war. More importantly, history tells us, it was Democrats who won that war for us before the first shot was fired. When New York governor Frank Roosevelt was sworn in the January before the attack, Republican looters had so wrecked the country's economy that hundreds of thousands of our teenage boys had been thrown out onto the road, by their starving parents who could not feed them and who hoped that some of those teenage boys might find enough day labor to survive. When Republican looters were still in power, those teenage boys lived in homeless camps and illegally hitched rides on boxcars and begged for food. Had they still been so weak, so hungry, and so disheartened with America on December 7th, 1941, they probably would have let the country, and the world, go down the drain with them. Japan's militarists would have swept east and southeast Asia, and Hitler's Nazis would have conquered Europe and most of Russia. Militant fascists, having outraced us to the atomic bomb, would have controlled virtually every thing outside of the continental US. And the continental US would have been so weak and helpless by comparison we would have had no choice but to conform our politics, and our economics, to them.

And the reason you don't live in a fascist-conforming state now (and you don't, alarmists to the contrary; I see the same warning signs they do, but the danger is not imminent yet) is not because Governor Roosevelt knew that war was coming. Nor is it because he felt determined to make America militarily strong. On the contrary, on December 7th, 1941, Japan attacked an America whose whole military could almost have comfortably sat in the same high school auditorium. We won, not because Franklin Delano Roosevelt made our army strong, but because he made our people strong. For really historically interesting reasons that I intend to write about tomorrow, he woke up to the fact that he had inherited a country so weakened and so disillusioned that even without any enemies without, we might well have toppled to an anti-American revolution within any day. So he adopted an awful lot of the would-be revolutionaries' most reasonable proposals, enough of them to sooth the American people's anger and restore their faith in American democracy and the American Dream. Republicans, and right wing Democrats, fought him tooth and nail every step of the way. Then as now, their economic theories told them that government interference in the economy was bad, was evil, was Communism, and could only ruin more lives in the long run.

But because he saw revolution breathing down his neck and knew that wealthy guys like himself would be the first up against the wall, Franklin Roosevelt bullied Congress into helping him get all of those starving teenage kids, and their almost equally hungry unemployed and underemployed fathers, back to work. ANY kind of work. The Civilian Conservation Corps put teenagers to work on jobs that anybody in their right mind would have said a country in the midst of a recession couldn't afford: beautifying national parks by clearing trails, building picnic shelters and park buildings, and planting trees. The Works Progress Administration promised every American enough to afford 3 hots and a cot doing whatever it was that they were trained to do. If you couldn't do anything, they put you to work building bridges, building roads, and perhaps most importantly building "useless" National Guard armories in every dinky little town in America -- in some of those towns, the first really solid building ever built there. On December 8th, 1941, those people who had been thrown away as useless by the Republicans swarmed the recruiting offices. And well they might have. What they couldn't have said on January 19th, 1941, they absolutely could say on December 8th: that's my America that got attacked. And after being in government service already and seeing that they could, if they all pulled together, get things done even if they had never done so before, they were emotionally ready to learn to fight the forces of fascism. They saved the world, because by treating them as people we needed, Franklin D. Roosevelt made them strong enough, willing enough, and brave enough to fight for America.

Unfortunately for us, no Franklin Roosevelt was sworn into office in the January before September 11th, 2005. Instead we got a Herbert Hoover, a supporter of the looters, another man who surrounds himself with those who tell him that a quarter of us are disposable and deserve to be treated as if we are disposable. Those who rushed to defend America after we were attacked by the private army of the Deputy Defense Minister of Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden, were mostly told to go home and do some shopping at the mall. Those already in service were pulled back just at the moment when they might have caught bin Laden, and might have caught this war's Hitler, then-Afghan president the Mullah Omar, told "Mission Accomplished!" with much hooplah and militarist fanfare, and then instead sent to act as private mercenaries for the Bush family, lied to about why they were fighting so they could avenge a family grudge against a former ally who'd once tried to have the President's father killed. So unsurprisingly, still no victory. Indeed, by managing to move what's left of their army to a nuclear-equipped nation, whose nuclear forces, military, and intelligence services are enthusiastically on bin Laden and Mullah Omar's side, they're stronger than they were on 9/11 itself. Not only have the Republican looters and greedy robbers not won this war, they're losing it pretty badly. They've done an amazing job of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Oh, and they'd like your permission to keep doing more of the same. They'll be asking for it again in 57 days, and again two years after that. So if you're satisfied with their competence, with the way they've conducted themselves, make sure you vote for more of the same. Otherwise, you may want to consider turning some or all of the country back over the the party where at least some of us don't think that a quarter of the American people are disposable and who don't think that it's more important to make sure that corporate executive officer salaries keep skyrocketing than it is to actually save the country.
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