How the Cold War Ended
by Karen Kwiatkowski
You know the story. Tear down this wall, 'cause your system has failed.
I celebrated with the world when the Cold War ended. We packed up our three toddlers at the time, grabbed a military hop to Rhein Main, Germany, rented a car and drove through Erich Honneker country into Berlin. We hacked a little piece of the Berlin Wall as proof that something important had happened.
I was happy as a little freedom loving pig in a pile of freedom loving manure eating fresh 'n tasty freedom slop to my heart's content.
Until Thursday morning, when I watching the pre-inauguration of George W. Bush.
It started when the CNN reporter cheerily told me that "George Bush has a certain glow this morning!"
My husband was at the store and I called him and told him about the glow. In true old Soviet fashion, he didn't miss a beat. "Nuclear or biological?" he said, then asked me what else I needed him to pick up in the bread aisle.
Soviet style perversion of reality thrives here in this federal city named after a man who refused to be king, with its outrage of a state edifice named after another President who in his youth preferred Goldwater over Rockefeller. Why airbrush history when you can simply create the one you like from scratch?
The city was in police lockdown and all they could talk about was the glow.
The CNN reporter reported with a certain pride, "Lincoln's inaugural was the first to have snipers in Washington. We have everything here now, and you can't go into the Hay Adams for a cup of coffee with out passing two security checkpoints…"
Then I saw the Leader of the People exit the Episcopal Church, after only 35 minutes of what was scheduled to be an hour sermon. Perhaps the glow negated the need for anything more. The camera panned back to the wide empty streets of Washington, and a long intimidating line of black ZILs, err…American-made presidential limousines, appeared.
They were decked with flags and black glass and serious looking security forces carrying the important families of Government to a midmorning coffee with a sycophantic Congress.
I suddenly realized how the Cold War had ended.
The ZIL company went out of limousine business in Russia, and now makes solid and powerful church bells for Russian Orthodox churches and buyers throughout the world.
The staid leadership of the Communist Party and Russian parliamentarians are now as volatile and rowdy as the House of Commons, except in Russia it isn't for show.
Outstandingly bold and mind boggling graft and corruption lives on in the government of Russia, as it does in the governments of all empires in various stages, only now the Russians and others in Russia talk about it openly. They now challenge, complain, debate and occasionally blow up buildings and go on strikes.
But here in Washington, America's news conglomerates sweetly vie for the "Pravda Objectivity in News Reporting Award" and the coveted "TASS Prize."
The Soviet Union won when they threw off the yoke, and began to expose and destroy seventy years of lies on top of depraved lies piled on top of mendacity of which even the most cynical Russian didn't believe their government was capable.
For now, we simply bask in the glow of Our Great President, his grand mandate and his grander and global plans.
The liberal pillars of America's wealth, productivity, and freedom have been gnawed and hacked away in the dark damp cellar of too much government, yet we continue the party upstairs. Our republican values that would condemn the diddling desire of despots have already evaporated, and the new drink is intoxicating.
It is clear this inaugural day who won the Cold War. Fortunately, for all the reasons that the Soviet empire collapsed, this American-made monstrosity will collapse as well. I have a feeling that this grand occasion — with black bullet-proof limousines and rockets on roofs and lovesick news reporters — will be the last one of its kind we experience for many years.
The next one will be unnecessary because of martial law, because the country has gone broke, or both. It may be unwarranted because, I hope, we will have come to our senses about the sheer un-American-ness of the whole grand façade. Perhaps smaller government, newly humble and acutely aware of its constitutional limitations will become the new-old American ideal.
In the meantime, I'll just enjoy the spectacle and see if I can catch a glimpse of that glow they keep talking about!
January 22, 2005
Karen Kwiatkowski [send her mail] is a retired USAF lieutenant colonel, who spent her final four and a half years in uniform working at the Pentagon. She now lives with her freedom-loving family in the Shenandoah Valley, and writes a bi-weekly column on defense issues with a libertarian perspective for militaryweek.com.
Copyright © 2005 LewRockwell.com