To hell with Guy Fawkes and to hell with V for Vendetta masks---the real meritorious date to remember in November comes up tomorrow. Specifically, we won. The Berlin Wall came down and East Germans flooded into West Germany to do with their lives what the brutal, repressive, soul-hating Communist regime wouldn't let them do---namely, make a living and be happy. They'd been doing so for 15 years between the end of World War II and when the Soviets put up the Berlin Wall, an act that was utterly preventable but for the fact that the Western Allies and especially the Americans sat on their thumbs and let it happen---declassified post-Soviet documents released ten years ago on the tenth anniversary established that.
Twenty years ago, I was part of the last generation to truly understand the implications of the Cold War. Born in 1977, I grew up through my early childhood with "Will Mr. Reagan keep the Russians from dropping a nuclear bomb on us, Mommy?" kind of questions and will never forget as long as I live the joke told on "You Can't Do That On Television" by a mother reassuring her frightened child: "As long as we have more and bigger bombs than the Russians, there will never be a nuclear war."
Such thinking has (sometimes over the objections of my own intellect, proving the power of the visceral) guided my thinking as an adult, and the example of the aforementioned declassified documents is very instructive as to how right-minded people can prevent injustice and tyranny both upon ourselves and in others; in the words of Kenny Rogers in "Coward of the County", "sometimes you gotta fight to be a man." Had we machine-gunned a couple of laborers in 1961, we might not have doomed millions of hardworking, honest people to a life of hopelessness and misery.
This goes for ordinary, non-totalitarian, non-Communist life as well. I'm not saying we have to drop a nuclear weapon on San Francisco while Nancy Pelosi is visiting her constituents (good gods, could any other jurisdiction elect someone as antithetical to laissez-faire as Pelosi?) I am saying that the rest of America can elect Republicans in 2010 so Pelosi doesn't get to be Speaker of the House anymore so she can't force through pork-laden insurance company-written health care bills that serve only to aggrandize bureaucracy while ordinary people are priced into the poorhouse just so they won't end up homeless or with their credit ruined when, as happened to me in January of 2008, their heart decides "no mas" and they have to be rushed to the emergency room so their atrial fibrillation condition doesn't turn into full-on myocardial infarction. I ended up paying $1,000 out of pocket, and even then I think I got a pretty good bargain insofar as my health insurance premiums only ate up about $2500 that year, well within the difference of what all that emergency treatment would've cost me (at least five grand by my best estimate) had I been uninsured---or worse, had I been unable or unwilling to even attempt to save my own life lest what the fallout would do to my wife.
Ahem. What was I saying (besides right-wing yapping that the leftists out there can safely avoid)? Right. I'm pretty sure my point was that when ordinary people stand idly by while others try to impinge upon our freedoms, whether it's building walls around cities and shooting people with the temerity to want to live somewhere else, whether it's religious extremists trying to force a theocracy on their countries (and I don't mean Ahmadinejad), whether it's paper Messiahs claiming to act in the "public interest" and destroying the middle class, we need, as an interested populace, to put a stop to it in no uncertain terms.
Whether that means going to the ballot box and finding viable third-party candidates (think Ross Perot minus the crazy) to break the stranglehold of the two-headed dictatorship we call a "two-party representative democracy" (Democracy, my ass!), whether that means taking up arms and fighting a new revolution, or whether that just means instituting a brain drain and emigrating to the far-off reaches of the world, leaving the empty shell of a barbaric non-entity on the world stage calling itself "America", the point is that action needs to be taken. I'm willing to tolerate socialism when the government and the people adhere to the social contract. I've read Rousseau and I totally see his point. I am not willing to tolerate American-style tax-and-spend socialism where the people get higher taxes but they get nothing of value in return for those taxes. That's called grand theft where I come from. Mr. Obama, tear down that (metaphorical) wall!
Note the interesting dichotomy in the politics here---in America I'm a frothing Glenn Beck Republican (at least when the Democrats run things---I turn into Keith Olbermann when folks like Bush, Cheney, and DeLay are in charge), but abroad? I'd be more than happy to settle into a Canadian or European mindset seeing as how those economic systems work so well when there's no de facto dictatorship in place. I invite my readers to try and sort this out for themselves.