Sunday April 20, 2014
'Biting The Rabbit'Op-Ed by Vic Pittman for Salem-News.com
Fighting for freedom does not mean bombing peasants in another country or napalming civilians.
(SALEM, Ore.) - When I was five years old we lived in Canby on the East side of the highway. The west side had all the stores and one in particular called simply The Big Store, which was my favorite.
I knew I was never to cross the highway alone, but one day gave in to the lure of what-lies-on-the-west-side, and crossed over. I remember feeling so free and grown up as I strolled through the aisles of The Big Store when suddenly I spotted what was to become the object of my desire...a large chocolate rabbit.
It was about three weeks before Easter, and while I always got Easter baskets, I had never seen anything like this. It was about a foot tall ...huge, and was up on the top shelf so I couldn't touch it, but I could sure see it. I had never seen so much chocolate and could not get that rabbit out of my mind.
I mentioned it to my mother, which led to my confession re the highway crossing, and a bit of trouble for me. Still I felt it was worth it.
About a week later my mother and I went to The Big Store and I pointed it out to her. She gave no indication that I could one day own that rabbit. Easter 1962 arrived and with it....the chocolate rabbit! I was ecstatic!
But when I opened the box, something did not seem right. The weight did not match the size, and when I bit into the ear the awful truth hit me like a framing hammer....the rabbit was hollow!
What I thought was a week's worth of chocolate was the equivalent of two Hershey bars! That was my first inkling that things are not always as they seem in this world and that sometimes things are misleading on purpose.
I started school that fall and the more I learned, the happier I was. I learned that I was fortunate enough to have been born in the best country on Earth, that we never ever started wars, but sometimes evil people forced us into them and we always won because we were good and God was on our side.
I learned about the Communists and the Nazi's... evil people who wanted to rule the world and make all of us slaves. Even in the cartoons I watched, the bad guys always wanted to "rule the world".
But America was not like that, I was taught. America stood for freedom for everyone and that was the only reason we went to war, to free other people from their evil leaders. I did not understand why the people of these countries did not rise up themselves and get rid of their evil leaders, but was happy that America stood ready to do just that if needed.
At the same time I was going to Sunday School and learning that not only did I live in the best country in the world, but I was part of the best religion in the world, indeed the only true religion! Jesus loved us Christians and was going to straighten things out. That was one reason the Communists and other bad types hated Christianity... it was going to interfere with their plans for world domination.
I was very happy that soon the troubles of the world would be over, and we would all be living in a restored Garden of Eden. When I turned thirteen, I remember feeling cheated because Jesus was going to come any day and I was all for that, but I wanted to live my life as it was a bit longer.
I knew that was selfish though, as many people did not have the comfortable life I did, and really needed Jesus to come.
By this time the Vietnam war was in full swing and I remember seeing troubling images on our black and white Philco... screaming peasant children with their clothes burnt off by napalm (OUR napalm???) and fighting in the streets of US cities.
I began to have that sinking feeling that maybe I had been sold a hollow rabbit again.
In the eighth grade, after seven years of straight A's in English, I got an F for the year because I had been kicked out of class for writing an anti-war essay suggesting that maybe war was about money.
Even Mattel, who made my Hot Wheels track and cars was making money off the war making stocks for M-16's.
I began to wonder what was going to happen to us when Jesus did return... surely he knew about the napalmed children. By the time I was fifteen I was somewhat angry at Jesus...where was he?
There seemed to be so much evil in the world... what was he waiting for? That summer I went to my first anti-war protest in Portland. I knew that Americans were good conscientious people, and we would not be like those people in other countries who were apathetic and allowed evil to prosper. We were going to restore America.
I began reading the Berkley Barb and other radical newspapers and following the exploits of The Weathermen and the SDS. I saw them as true patriots, willing to put their lives on the line for peace and justice.
I began to hate. I hated Johnson, MacNamara, Laird, Lt. Calley,and all the warmongers I saw on TV with their medals and their nonchalant talk about body counts and kill ratios. I hated Jesus and Christianity for lying to us. I hated God for not giving a damn about the state of the world. I informed my parents that I would not go to church again. Christianity was a hollow rabbit with hollow promises just like the myth of the benevolent America I had been taught.
I noticed that a lot of the Christians supported the war, which seemed crazy to me. Had they never read the Bible?
Didn't they know that Jesus was called The Prince of Peace? Ignorance is indeed bliss, and the more I learned, the less bliss I had. I had been sold a giant hollow rabbit and was mad!
I refused to say the Pledge of Allegiance in school. I started taking drugs. Fast forward to the present and not much is different. The wars are in different countries, the burnt peasant children speak different languages, but the effect is the same. People around the world are being murdered...for money..and WE are the Nazis and the Communists now that are trying to rule the world. We are a bankrupt nation in every aspect... our chocolate rabbits are nearly transparent and much much smaller than ever if we get one at all.
We are told to tighten our belts and make do with less while the wholesale looting of the nation continues in broad daylight.
Now it is not the Communists but our own government that seeks our slavery, spies on us and gives us less and less while taking more and more. The biggest hollow rabbit of all to me is the American people. We are lazy, scared and apathetic. We want someone else to fix things for us, someone else to be the ones that might get arrested, someone else to be the ones that go to prison. We want change, but are unwilling to fight for it and demand it.
The mantra of the warlovers is "Freedom Isn't Free"... how ironic that those who willingly choose slavery should adopt that slogan. Freedom is not free... if you get lazy and uninformed and apathetic, you lose it.
Fighting for freedom does not mean bombing peasants in another country or napalming civilians. It means that here in America we should be willing to fight for the ideals we supposedly embrace. If we care about America, we should be willing to go to prison or even die to reclaim our country from the industrialists, the self-serving politicians,the dual-loyalists and the money-grubbing weapon manufacturers.
If we cared about our children, our grandchildren and their children, we would be in the streets demanding change. The last election was won on a platform of change, but we are not getting it, and we wont. No one fears the wrath of the people because there is none... at least not enough to be a threat to the powers that be.
That to me, is the hollowest rabbit of all... the American people. We wring our hands and complain to one another about the state of our country and our "rule the world" foreign policy, but we want the kind of freedom that is free, and requires no sacrifice or risk. And we are getting just that... a big hollow rabbit, empty promises, politicians who promise change then once elected continue with business as usual.
In America alone, the people outnumber the elitists about a million to one.....why are WE the scared ones? THEY should be the ones afraid to leave their gated compounds, THEY should be the ones who fear for their lives and the lives of their loved ones. Only then will we have a chance of the American Dream...the solid chocolate rabbit.
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