Monday, October 18, 2010

French Workers Up In Arms

I have always liked the French.

Our nation would never have been born without their assistance, and while we have not always seen eye-to-eye, current events in France fill my heart with admiration. The massive strikes and protests, the extent to which French workers have effectively shut down the petroleum industry in their country, the sheer fury and energy with which French workers have refused to accept their government's plans to make the working people pay for the sins of the rich, I love to see all this happening.

Oh, how I wish my own countrymen could display even half so much ferocity of spirit in defiance of government! And yet, for some reason, we passively accept even the worst abuses, even when inflicted upon us by the administration of a President who has broken every promise he ever made.

Once, long ago, a President by the name of Jimmy Carter offered the opinion that America was suffering from a "lingering malaise" of the spirit. This was in the aftermath of the Vietnam war, and I have to wonder if the long years of the war in Afghanistan has not had the same effect upon our hearts. Keep in mind, that the overt involvement of the USA in Vietnam only lasted six years, from 1966 to 1972. The War in Afghanistan is in its eleventh year, almost twice as long, with no end in sight.

And yet, where are the demonstrations against the war? There are none to be seen. Partly this may be the effect of our smaller commitment, (remember, we had over a half-million troops on the ground in Vietnam at the height of the Vietnam war), and far lower casualty totals. But I have to wonder if a big part of the difference is not in our hearts.

We have become a weary and cynical people in many ways. We have become demoralized to a frightening extent. And I have no idea what is to be done about it.

Story at Al Jazeera English here
Video at UK Telegraph here

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