At the ripe-old age of nineteen, I failed to understand the paradox that was Vietnam. I believed for years this failure exposed a serious weakness in my cognitive abilities; after all, like my predecessors who had worn the same uniform, I was fighting for the freedom of all Americans, wasn’t I?
For many more years I routinely swallowed my daily hallucinogenic: "everything will be OK just as soon as we elect the right people." My blind devotion to the state would not allow me to entertain any alternative thoughts.
Then it happened: I was surfing through the Internet one day pursuing my love of history and somehow found myself looking at a website called, LewRockwell.com. As best I can remember, my fondness of all things Southern led me to an article there by Professor Thomas DiLorenzo. My grandfather had taught me since early childhood that Abraham Lincoln was a tyrant; Professor DiLorenzo gave me meat I could bite into and long sought after evidence my grandfather had been correct.
While my grandfather hated Lincoln because he was a "damn Yankee," that had been insufficient evidence for my public school teachers whose classrooms were adorned with pictures of the tyrant. After all, pennies and five-dollar bills contained his likeness, and he freed the slaves didn’t he? Who could doubt these giants of academia; hadn’t the state made it mandatory for me to attend school so I could learn the truth?
Like Lay’s Potato Chips, at LRC, one cannot have just one. I read for hours and went back and forth referencing what I had read to other sources. In a very short period of time I discovered Professor Butler Shaffer’s Wizards of Ozymandias. That was the clincher; I was done. I couldn’t believe it; answers to questions that had gone unanswered in my mind for decades.
Like all strong medicines, with LRC I experienced side effects that were severe: I began to have a rudimentary understanding of free market economics and enjoyed reading articles about it. I questioned everything I had been taught about freedom and liberty and began to understand the term "brainwashed."
All this brings me to the point of this article: I began to see how this once great country had become the rotting corpse of what had been intended by our founders; I understood what my grandfather meant when he said this country was founded in 1776 and died a most painful death in April of 1865. I understood why I no longer looked on that red white and blue banner with the same reverence and why my stomach became upset when I would hear the phrase "the land of the free and the home of the brave" and watch the ignorant scream and cheer.
What I saw yesterday confirmed what I came to believe some years ago: criminals control our government and there is no political remedy to the problems we face. Yesterday, I heard the Vice-President of this country admit to war crimes, crimes we hanged foreign leaders for in the aftermath of WWII. He not only admitted to the crimes, he embraced them as "remarkably successful."
We have become that which we hated, despised, and supposedly fought a war to defeat over sixty years ago, charring some 72 million souls in the effort.
Lew and his fellow lovers of true liberty helped save me from having to prostitute myself with others of the so-called "right" and those Christian warmongers who will continue to support Cheney, his fellow criminals and their admitted crimes.
For that I am truly grateful.
Michael Gaddy [send him mail], an Army veteran of Vietnam, Grenada, and Beirut, lives in the Four Corners area of the American Southwest.