In George Lucas’s American Graffiti, the film opens with a Friday night in some Southern California town, circa 1962. Like with any Friday night anywhere at that time, we see teens and twenty somethings driving up and down the main avenues. It was a time to party, listen to rock and roll and forget about any future. The future didn’t exist… until tomorrow. In the mid to late 60s, in Brooklyn, NY, we too had those Friday nights in spring and summer. If you were a young man still in high school or going to college, Vietnam did not really matter.
It was a foreign place, one you could not even find on the globe in your history class. The 6 o’clock and 11 o’clock news covered it for someone else… not for you. There was a draft, but we weren’t concerned… we were in school. The friends from the neighborhood who weren’t, well, they mostly partied until the time came to put on the uniform. After all, what choice did they have?
When 9/11 occurred, who could forget the President of these United States telling Americans to ‘Shop‘? As if he were speaking to a five year old child, Bush was playing the statesman. He was telling us that Big Brother is on duty now, and you just go about your business as usual, we’ll take care of the bad guys… with a little help of course from our young soldiers and reservists. Suddenly, hundreds of thousands of them were shipped, guns in hand, to the desert. Many died and many killed those stinking A-rabs. You know the drill. You don’t need me to refresh any tired memories of that disgraceful act. So, most Americans behaved and waved and/or wore the flags and… shopped! The minority of us who actually had the nerve to ask ‘Why in the hell are we doing all this‘ to those people way across the planet… we were traitors!
Here we are, eight years into this mess of empire. Our military budget is breaking records. We continue to kill those A-rabs in the deserts of Iraq and Afghanistan. Each time we send out our drone bombers, it costs taxpayers hundreds of millions. Of course, it only costs the A-rabs their housing, water supply and their lives, and that includes women, little children and elderly A-rabs… doesn’t matter. Just as with the gooks in Vietnam, they are all subhuman aren’t they? Meanwhile, every day that we remain there another few young American GIs bite the dust, or board the transport home without an arm, leg, eye… whatever. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, their counterparts at home still focus on the newest I–Pad on the market, or where to go party Friday night. When they finally realize that there are few good paying jobs left, and their schools and libraries are being disabled… it will already be too late. There will be another so called War somewhere that will take more of their friends. They will be told that it was the illegals and the welfare ‘queens‘ who ruined our economy, not the Fat Cats. Who cares? Just shop at Wal-Mart to save the bucks needed for another night of partying. After all, this is America, so shut up, satiate, salute and by all means… shop!
Philip A. Farruggio is son and grandson of Brooklyn NYC longshoremen. He is an activist leader and free lance columnist. Since the 2000 elections, he has written over 250 columns, many posted on various sites worldwide. Recently, he is finding a home at Dandelion Salad. Philip can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.