That when I was growing up in the 1950s and 1960s we Americans were involved in a “Cold War” with the Soviet Union. I suspect that the Cold War had something to do with my parents (and of course, my brother and myself who were small children at the time) emigrating to the United States and Germany, specifically what was then known as West Germany. We came to the United States around the time of the Berlin war, when East Germany, on orders from Moscow, blockaded West Berlin.
In elementary school, we did air raids probably every month. We were all frightened of a nuclear attack by the Soviet Union. That attack, fortunately, never came. But there was a constant state of very high tension between the two countries. I remember seeing Nikita Khrushchev banging his shoe on the podium at the United Nations condemning the United States. I remember the Cuban missile crisis during the Kennedy administration. I remember watching public service announcements on the television networks showing how to protect yourself in case of a nuclear attack. I remember the commercial for fallout shelters for those who could afford them. Boy, if they ever wanted to get rid of poverty by eliminating poor people, that would have been the time to do it.
Continue reading What the Hell is Going On?
I want to pay tribute to someone I consider a personal hero: Mohammed Ali. Ali passed away over the weekend at the age of 74, which makes him a few years older than I am. All of the TV network various print media are doing tributes to Ali mainly focusing on his accomplishments as an athlete and as a humanitarian efforts after he retired from boxing. Ali was my hero long before he became a real legend in boxing or a great humanitarian. The reason Ali is my hero is because he did something that I thought I might have to do way back in 1968: Ali refused induction into the military because he was opposed to the war in Vietnam.
I also was opposed to that war. In fact, I am opposed to all wars on principle. The only war that I feel was justified at all was World War II. Every war the United States has been involved in since World War II has been over last van honorable reasons. Every war this country has been involved in in the last 60 years or so has raised some serious ethical questions about US intentions around the world. Continue reading The Passing of a Legend
I’m taking a break from my “Confronting the Past” series. Instead, I’m going to indulge in an old habit: I’m going to rant a bit. In a way, this is sort of confronting the past, but in a personal way but rather, in a cultural way.
With the end of the Cold War over a decade ago, we all thought that confrontations between Russia/Soviet Union and the USA were a thing of the past. That shows how stupid we can be. The sad thing about all this is that it’s not just the Russians or us Americans that are reviving the Cold War. It’s both sides being idiots. And the idiots are not just the elected officials on one side or the other; it’s the political fundamentalists on both sides. I suspect that the “military-industrial complex”, as Eisenhower called it in his farewell speech of 1961, that is the power behind the thrones on both sides. And all this is wrapped up in the Holy Shroud of Russian/American nationalism. You would think the world has had it’s fill of that shit. [My son doesn’t agree with me on that. I guess I’m showing my age, lol]
Hopefully, things will calm down if there are any rational beings left in charge on either side, I have my doubts about there being any, but one can only hope.
I was watching a rather interesting show on History channel the other day. At least the first half was interesting; the second half got rather depressing. I’ll explain in a minute. The special was about the Hippie movement in the late 60s. I became a Hippie in 1966 and probably still am one to a large extent.
The Hippie Movement has had a lingering effect on American culture, some of it good, some of it bad. The original ideals of the Hippie Movement (Peace, Love and Freedom) still resonate in our society today. What happened to the Hippie Movement was that the trappings (Sex, Drugs, Rock ‘n Roll and long hair) were co-opted by people who really did not subscribe to the original ideals. The second half of the History special dealt with the worst example of that: Charles Manson. I don’t care what History channel or anyone else in the media says, Manson was NOT a Hippie! Not by any stretch of the imagination.
Continue reading Conrfonting the Past Part Nine