A recent Purdue University survey noted that over 50 percent of Americans felt that in order to be a citizen of this fine country you had to be "a Christian." And about half of those idiots felt very strongly that was the case. We have all heard the stories about how more Americans can name the characters of the Simpsons than name the freedoms listed in the constitution. Hey, the Simpsons is a damn good show.
Last night I got sucked in to a show on PBS called "Two Days in October." It was the story of two events, one domestic and one in Vietnam that happened at the same time in 1967. One was an ambush of two American companies about 50 miles from Saigon. The other was a student protest at the University of Wisconsin, Madison that galvinized the anti-war movement. The brilliance of the show is that it had interviews with many of the central characters for each of these events, including folks from both sides of the student protest, cops and students. I won't paraphrase the events but its useful to remember that the Army lied to the American people about what was happening in Vietnam, and its useful to remember that a substantial number of the cops who beat protesters with clubs were ignorant shitheads.
I asked my class to write a paper on why it is that American's can't agree on the meaning of the Vietnam war. And after watching that show it occurs to me that we can't agree because the lesson of the war is the lesson of complete bullshit. We perpetuated bullshit on a country because we are so drunk on our own special ideology and so willfully ignorant about it that we can't face the facts. Let me give you one little fact: 3,400,000. That's how many Vietnamese we killed trying to "free" them from communism. OK, just forget it. Go watch American Idol.