Vietnam’s Role In Government Putrefaction Today
The Vietnam War and the uncivil insanity it precipitated on America’s college campuses laid the foundation for the putrid organic decay -- putrefaction -- throughout the U.S. government today. As a proud Vietnam combat veteran who has spent a half-century within academe’s once hallowed halls, I’ve had a front-row seat through it all. And, unfortunately, the left’s approach back then still resonates -- very badly -- in 2021. They caused the stench you’re smelling.
Someone with the IQ of a cabbage could have predicted the outcome of the left’s defunding the police efforts. And as I noted recently about critical race theory, “CRT has been on America’s Marxist campuses for decades, but in 2021, it’s being forced down everyone’s throat. It’s the woke progressives’ waterboarding equivalent -- choke until you submit -- but it’s not water you’re choking on.”
One antiwar enlightenment from the Vietnam era is particularly helpful in delineating the anti-America road to putrefaction the left has traveled. In an obscure declaration of political hygiene in 1980, Peter L. Berger, professor of sociology at Boston College, proclaimed, “one must not walk away in silence from positions stated at the top of one’s voice in the past.” His integrity impressed me when I first read that essay, “Indochina & the American Conscience,” sometime in the early 1990s.
Berger was a staunch antiwar protester in the 1960s/70s as he pointed out in his article. “It was television images that aroused my moral outrage and led me to become a vocal opponent of the Vietnam war.”
However, he then fast-forwards to TV pictures he saw in early 1975:
A ship full of refugees had arrived somewhere on the coast. Piles of corpses were on the beach, mostly of children who had died of hunger and thirst. A woman was carrying her dead child in her arms. The question was inescapable: is this what those of us who opposed the war helped bring about?
“Is this what those of us who opposed the war helped bring about?”
Absolutely, 100%. Over 58 thousand of my Vietnam brothers and 8 sisters died trying to prevent it.
Shamefully, nearly all of Berger’s antiwar confederates who helped enable innumerable “piles of corpses” did “walk away in silence.” And 1975 was just the beginning: “Between 1975 and 1992, almost two million Vietnamese risked their lives to flee oppression and hardship after the Vietnam War, in one of the largest mass exoduses in modern history.” Tens of thousands -- perhaps hundreds of thousands -- died at sea.
That seems worthy of political hygiene on an Olympian scale, but Peter Berger was a voice in the wilderness. Joan Baez expressed some remorse if memory serves, but there were few others. For a majority of the antiwar militants of the 1960s/70s, cleanliness of any type -- sans political hygiene -- wasn’t a daily concern…or weekly.
Then consider their celebrity mouthpieces, Hollywood’s “sanctimonious amoral moralists.” For anti-America self-servants like Hanoi Jane, a grief-stricken mother “carrying her dead child in her arms” obviously meant nothing. Accordingly, “piles of corpses…mostly of children who died of hunger and thirst” wouldn’t be of concern even when those numbers escalated to thousands. They were South Vietnamese; Jane and her Marxist comrades supported the North.
Professor Berger, in that 1980 article, also articulated the cause of the horrific outcomes.
What the Communists did in South Vietnam is by now very clear: slowly, systematically, a merciless system of totalitarian control was extended through every segment of the society. With this, inevitably, went the setting up of a Vietnamese version of the Gulag Archipelago, with the familiar machinery of terror.
Think about that.
In 1980, “what the Communists did in South Vietnam [was] very clear…”
Today that’s not clear to most Americans, mainly because the “mass media manipulators” (make-believe journalists) barely reported it; wrong narrative. Doing so would have required political hygiene on their part after they spent the last years of the war disparaging America’s actions and warfighters while glorifying the Communist’s objectives.
Is it any wonder vast numbers of people today don’t understand the threat of socialism and communism?
However, what the communists did in Cuba is now on display in 2021. People should pay attention to understand the Gulag realities of Marxist/Maoist tyranny.
Perhaps the most unexpected case made by the Boston College sociologist in 1980 is by far the most important today. Berger stated, “No less is at issue here than a reaffirmation of American patriotism, which has been severely shaken since the mid-1960s. … [S]uch a reaffirmation of patriotism is both politically and morally urgent.”
Well, if it was “both politically and morally urgent” in 1980, what is it in 2021?
The country may be at an all-time low in the pronouncement of U.S. patriotism. Asserting it will get one labeled a White supremacist, a racist, or worse, a Trumper. Consequently, countless patriots remain silent. That must change.
“The ‘ethic of responsibility’ bids us act while we can; it prohibits abdication until that should become the only alternative.” Berger’s concluding paragraph contained that proclamation back in 1980. It goes double or triple for 2021.
Near-term, political hygiene isn’t the right answer though; concerned citizens must be more focused. A synonym substitution could be the place to start, i.e., honing political hygiene to political asepticism, the “care or treatment that prevents putrefaction.”
America’s political arena -- the federal, state, and local putrefaction compost pile and oxymoron breeding ground -- is unlikely to transform just by administering a new political oxymoron therapeutic, but neutralizing the gag-inducing stench is crucial. And nowhere in the free world is putrefaction more problematic than in Washington, DC. The stink of organic decay there permeates everything. That must be remedied before political hygiene can begin to work.
So, proud Americans, stand and sound off. Demand political asepticism! It’s time to stop the perpetual putrefaction throughout the government … NOW!
R.W. Trewyn, PhD has been a university faculty member for 43 years, working in central administration the past 27 years.
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