combat writing badge C O M B A T
the Literary Expression of Battlefield Touchstones
ISSN 1542-1546 Volume 01 Number 02 Spring ©Apr 2003


If my four heads, each scaled magenta with chartreuse plaits, each papuled cyan with sienna irides, were quadraphonic and multilingual, they wouldn't dare grok that way! ... but the anointed imagine themselves immune.

It seems that pundits have contrived some dominion that grants freaks a free pass on the Thumbsucker Express ... tickets are punched by qualifying for quotas. American institutions are devolving to the lowest common denominator, and it's become a point of pride to attack straight arrows with the poison darts of their own normalcy!

In bygone days, when scholars collected fairy tales as an ethnographic preservation of diminishing oral cultures, the exploiters delighted in pirating them for ulterior purposes by prettying them up and dumbing them down to be appropriate for children. Because morality cannot be legislated, with the plethora of well intentioned laws to the contrary, nothing much has substantially changed between then and now.

Experience has taught me that no one has to fight every opportunistic battle, just because it's there. Some characterize this as wisdom being the better part of valor; except I would be wiser to have foreseen implicit contingencies, and availed myself of probable alternatives, instead of becoming a blithe target for the machinations of the Neo-Bigots. But experience has also taught me that few of us ever have the luxury of choosing our fights ... they mostly happen while we are intent upon some other more mundane pursuit.

Desirous of refining my professional skills after an extended hiatus from academe, I optimistically embarked upon an absurdly expensive and ridiculously inconvenient venture. My credulous introduction to the curriculum was met in each classroom by the accusatory challenge: "So you're the disabled Viêtnam vet ... well, I protested that war!". This encounter was apparently intended to evoke some response ... perhaps contrition or stigmata? ... perhaps capitulation or a revived Thirty Years War over the moral watershed of that wretched era? ... but civility was not what they expected, because they had none themselves. My first response was to the effect that "good people are on every side of important issues"; and my next polite reply noted that "our system protects and defends diversity". The next contender was given the finale of a Zen mondo: "You spit. I bow. It's all the same!". Growing restive with their panegyrics, I advised the next true believer that "our system gives you the right to be wrong". And finally impatient with their robotic series, the last rival was informed that "I can't give absolution for your sins!".

The reasonable question of "What does their pride about their glory days on the barricades of moral resistance have to do with here and now?" is realistically moot. Such speculation is meaningless to the new arbiters of political correctness. They are the revisionistic Thought Police, the dictatorial Liberal Fascists, the doctrinaire Neo-Bigots. They use their good offices as an expository platform, as a forum to advocate personal agendas, and they believe their disrespectful distortions are somehow better than the ones they've displaced. They dismissively claim that I just don't get it, but I doubt that they comprehend what they've done. The problem with all political revolutions, including the CounterCulture, is how to appropriately terminate the insurgency, without sustaining perpetual resistance, or escalating into conventional warfare. They have sown the wind, and now must reap the whirlwind.

If they want to issue a full-body insulating condom for the hoi-polloi as a gesture of populace solidarity, to redact the rules posted on the barn wall of our multicultural animal farm, to scour the inviolate codes etched into the shifting sands of our eroded foundations by progressive civilizations; then so be it. They are privileged, by the sacrificial accumulation of history, to defy the cosmos, to attempt re-creation, and to elect new gods. If they choose to devote themselves to teaching pigs to sing, something which wastes their time and annoys the pigs, then I can think of much worse distractions from perishing in this veil of tears. Seemingly, there are only a few obstacles inhibiting our mutual coexistence: the thrown down gauntlet in my path, the Sword of Damocles suspended above me, and the Parthian shots which abjure my argumentative objections.

These right thinkers emphasized the fact that they'd protested THAT war, but not all wars; since co-optation includes a paycheck, and metaethical discrimination gives them headaches. Because they're not opposed to all violence, to all hatred, to all discrimination, they must parse the nuances and implications of every circumstance to determine what precisely is immoral and when it's improper. In their agora, black racism is justified, feminism is warranted, ecology is a religion, abortion is not murder, and society loves children more than parents ever could! They sincerely believe, despite the contrary evidence, that Platonic rehabilitation will cure felonious recidivism. Having survived the ordeal of student as nigger, these tenured professors no longer respect intellectual skepticism or academic freedom. Deliberate prejudice by the proselytizing intelligentsia is not wrong, bad, or evil. As with the devolution of the Mandarin bureaucracy, the exploiters are taking advantage of the chaos before the whole scheme collapses from within, or is demolished from without. They have no interest in acquiring a taste for thousand-year-old eggs when they can make an instant omelet!

In an aside, a younger staffer confided that she "knew all about my war from having studied it in school", where she learned that "all soldiers did drugs and killed babies, burned villages and raped women". Her comments bemused me, since I had done none of those things, knew no one who had, and anyone who'd behaved so would've been court martialed. Using our own nation building as an historical referent, a commonwealth established for religious freedom and entrepreneurial independence extended westward settlement to Forts Pitt and Duquesne to spare the non-combatant Quakers from Indian depredations, which were much more savage than the later frontier wars with western tribes. Soldiers granted civilians the opportunity to create peace and prosperity, to build culture and civilization; and today those same institutions now disdain that origin, rescinding the debt.

With roots in the Swiss confederation, the English compact, and the Dutch concretion, our noble American traditions have been sustained at great cost. We did not emancipate and manumit so one form of oppression could replace another. We hold truths precious and self-evident; and we spurn the homogeneity which excludes citizens on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, age, handicap, or national origin. This meliorism echoes into the present as "This will not be a good place for any of us to live in until this is a good place for all of us to live in.". Demonstrators didn't guarantee our right to protest ... soldiers did. The police didn't warrant the freedom to assemble ... soldiers did. Writers didn't protect controversial speech, and publishers didn't preserve freedom of the press ... soldiers did. Clerics didn't authorize the freedom to worship ... soldiers did. Lawyers didn't assure due-process in our jurisprudence ... soldiers did. Politicians didn't bestow the right to vote ... soldiers did. But the modern solipsist contends that all soldiers are atavistic vulgarians, latent barbarians, or crypto-malefactors. It seems that soldiers are a servitor species that's good enough to die for consecrated elitists, but not good enough to live in their vaunted neighborhoods.

For persons who cannot define their core values, except by contrast or quantification, the injunction to do the right thing is a mantra, because their litany of variously shaded gray areas, applicable to situation ethics, is too cumbersome and convoluted to remember. In their compulsion to pound every nail down, to eradicate all bourgeois sensibilities by delimiting proletarian capabilities, to impose egalitarianism upon liberty, these apparatchiks have failed to notice the spiritual aristocracy spawned by democratic freedoms. It's truly amazing how upright humans can be when nobody's standing on their necks, when nobody's riding on their backs, when nobody's cutting them down to fit Procrustes' Bed!

I'm cognizant of past transgressions. I know that mankind's checkered past is replete with atrocities, and I'm also aware that most of civilization's greatness has been in response to our inhumane travails. A preoccupation with criminal violations and authoritative abuses, with populous outrages and official outlawry, with hyperbolic exceptions and minute details is stagnating. But I thought we were now living in a new age of enlightenment, a technocratic cockaigne, a paradisiacal eutopia. According to them, we will be as soon as people like me are expelled from society. It has always seemed to me that marching to a different drummer was an American tradition, so I haven't minded finding my own way to the top of the mountain ... knowing that all of the paths eventually conclude there anyway.

The only thing that bothers me about being expelled from their Brave New World is their use of cattle cars for this iteration of transport clearances. At least a magic carpet ride into their quarantine centers, their re-education camps, their concentration camps, would be diverting. Their pathetic imitation of staid extermination facilities is a little too unimaginative! ... and their re-play of brutish history is a little too typical! The terminus for their Nu Gubbermint Xpress will be their much heralded Promised Land detention camp. You'll undoubtedly see me in America's new and improved gulag.

by Erin Galloglass
... who is a combat disabled veteran, a bookseller, and freelance writer.