Note: Opinions expressed in commentary on KCAW are those of the author, and are not necessarily shared by the station’s board, staff, or volunteers.
Hello, my name is Jeff Moebus. I’m a retired US Army Master Sergeant living here in Sitka, and I have something I’d like to say and like for you to hear.
On July 15, 2019, the President of the United States of America sent four members of Congress — a group of women of color who’ve been dubbed “The Squad” — a message on Twitter, that:
We will never be a Socialist or Communist Country. IF YOU ARE NOT HAPPY HERE, YOU CAN LEAVE! It is your choice, and your choice alone. This is about love for America.
I had just come back from my second tour in Vietnam in the late summer of 1968 when I first heard that “America – Love It or Leave It!” obscenity. Donald Trump’s resurrection of it brought back lots and lots of very bad, very ugly memories.
During my years in The Nam, I saw, up close and personal, all kinds of reasons NOT to love America. Details on request. But I was not in the least impressed with my fellow citizens who created that screed, and chanted it on the street, over the airwaves and in the print media, and in the halls of Congress. I am even less impressed with a guy who evaded military service back then invoking that same bs 50 years later, using it in his bid to be re-elected next November.
In many critical, core ways, America has already embraced and enacted socialist values. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, education grants and loans, farm subsidies, corporate welfare, and foreign aid — to name but a few — have been a part of the American system for decades.
The real question confronting the American People is whether or not America also will accept and enact fascist values. Which in some core and critical ways, it already has, as well. Our “Forever Wars,” the militarization of law enforcement, and warrantless mass surveillance have been a part of the American system since at 9-11.
Both socialism and fascism make extended use of state-of-the-art manipulation of the needs and wants of the people, at the expense of some inherent rights of those people. Both systems survive and thrive best in the presence of an “Other”: a real enemy, or at least a credible threat of one. And if they don’t have one, they are both very skilled at creating one.
All the president is doing by telling those Congresswomen (and everybody else ) “to love it or leave it,” is helping to make this country’s embrace of fascism official. As Sinclair Lewis put it: “When Fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.”
If Mr. Trump doesn’t like that I don’t love America as it is today; that’s his
problem. If he doesn’t like that I and others intend to stay and work to make America what it could be — and what at least some of the Founding Fathers intended it to be — then perhaps he should leave.
It’s not that “love it or leave it” is just not right; it’s that it is not even wrong. If you don’t love it as it is, then change it so you can and do. Either that, or let somebody else change it in ways that you will love even less.
I’m Jeff Moebus. Thanks for listening, and thanks to KCAW for letting me have my say.