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<< 4. Notes from the Boonies6. Recollections of 1971 >>


By Bill Shunas

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You get the feeling that we are at one of those turning points in history. COVID may have a lot to do with that. But there is more. Game changing events seem to pop up one after another. And there is no shortage of folks commenting on events. The pandemic is bringing some of these changes to the way we live, the way we work, the way we play. More than that is happening. Politics are changing. Efforts to bring equality and to resist equality are out there. Change is in the air to be resisted or fostered. Some of the commentators consistently reveal their stupidity and emptiness. On the other hand it is good that truth is being spoken to power.

Black Lives Matter has been raising issues for a few years now, and there has been much reaction. If you believe Senator Ron Johnson, black people are scary. He did so declare when commenting on the January 6th insurgency. Is this a moment when the lights are turned on and the cockroaches come forward blinking and talking? In the meantime the Democratic Party won the presidency and control of Congress because African-Americans organized. Obviously they scared the bigots because hundreds of bills in states around the country were now introduced to limit black voting to prevent a recurrence of the November, 2020 election. All this progress goes to show we have come a long way on Civil Rights, and there is still a long way to go. Equality and voting rights and state brutality toward minorities have to be dealt with.

Who would have thought that we would see an invasion of the US Capitol? But there it was, another unheard-of event. We don't know if this is a game changer, but it was a new direction. Considering the firepower of the US state, it was kind of stupid. Like bringing a knife to a gunfight. Nevertheless, it resulted in the death of seven people and serious injury to many more. It had great shock value to most people. Unfortunately it might have helped right wing recruiting. Where did these people come from? Where were they hatched? We knew about right wingers in this country, but this? This was a step further.

Blame goes to, among others, Trump who mobilized these people. Did he really think they would install him as president on January 6th? Is he that delusional? He overturned the election results in his mind, abetted by the help of lots of Republicans who knew better but wanted to get re-elected, and so said nothing. And this implosion of the Republican Party could also be added to the list of game changing events. This time we were lucky. We had an incompetent fascist as the face of Fascism.

Speaking of cockroaches like Trump, Tucker Carlson probably says outrageous things for his own publicity. He probably loves it that so many of us respond to him even if it is to call him out. Sometimes he needs to be called out. He disrespected our troops and veterans. Rumors are that he wishes to run for president. Maybe he's following the Trump game plan. Find a way to dodge serving in the military when it means that you have to be in or near combat. At the same time keep running your mouth and offend somebody. That keeps you in the limelight. It doesn't make much difference who you're talking about.

The troops and veterans Carlson disrespected were the women troops and veterans. We now have a woman vice president, more women in the Cabinet, a woman on the team that produced the vaccine, and women having a role in all aspects of society. And still you see and hear disrespect from men like Carlson or a groping governor. Women are moving forward. I don't know if this is a turning point or a long slog, but women are on the move.

We are living in a time when speaking out is normal. Issues are out front. Central are the just demands for racial and sexual equality. Let us not forget that there was a period (1960s & 1970s) many of us participated in promoting variations of the same theme. Maybe we made some progress, but obviously there was a way to go. So today we are again in the middle of political clashes, culture clashes, and racial clashes. And looming in the background is a pandemic which has caused much stress as well as ethical questions. And looming behind that background is a climate crisis which has its own stresses and ethical questions. These are interesting times. These are times that need to be embraced. Biden has done some good and needed things on the domestic side. Good to have him for that. His foreign policy needs work. However it isn't Biden who will move anything forward. It is us as point turners.

Bill Shunas is a Vietnam veteran, author, and long-time VVAW member.

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