Keeping Our Eyes Wide Open

by Mike Pyatt

Mike Pyatt

While the scientific world’s astro-physicists are dazzled by the M87 Galaxy, first ever black hole photo, in the Virgo Constellation, #RealBlackHole, most serious minded citizens must keep their gaze fixed upon earthly domestic matters. Those with children recall what happens when mom and dad are fast asleep. It’s astounding what six year olds can do in the dark, once they shed their fear of the bogeyman. If parents are sound sleepers, the chance for mischief escalates. Health experts maintain we need a prescribed amount of sleep to function properly. We aren’t called to “slumber our life away.” Scripture equates too much sleep or rest to slothfulness (Prov.6:9). The lesson’s clear. There’s a time for sleep, and a time to be watchful. The Book of Mathew records Jesus admonishing his soporific disciples, after previously entreating them to be on guard, “Are you still sleeping and resting?” Were they dullards? Would we have fared differently?

One can “snooze at the wheel” but not enter that state Webster defines, “rest of the body and mind, during which the eyes are usually closed, and there is little or no conscious thought or voluntary movement.” It can mean failure to pay attention to what’s going on around us. Or worse-to willingly ignore conditions that may reap harmful repercussions. Americans have been accused of “snoozing” when it touches the moral or political realm. Is it political or moral encephalitis? Slumbering’s in our history.

Did America slumber from 1931 to 1941, while Hitler amassed power in Germany? President Roosevelt was inaugurated in 1933, the same year that Japan exited the League of Nations, one year before Hitler assumed power. Our isolationism reached a high-point in the mid-1930’s. In 1936, Hitler imposed a military draft on Germany and raised an army and air force, in open violation of the Treaty of Versailles of 1919, to remilitarize the Rhineland. Congress passed neutrality legislation in 1935, 1936, and 1937, directed at keeping the U.S. out of another war.

Was the U.S. in naked denial of the changing face of Europe from 1931 to 1941? On October 5, 1937, President Roosevelt, delivered a speech in Chicago, pivoting away from his position of isolation and neutrality, and spoke out against the aggressor nations, which had launched an assault on China. He urged an international quarantine of aggressor nations, to be accomplished by economic boycotts. Events in Europe from 1937 to 1939 pushed the U.S.’s neutrality. A series of events directed as aggression toward the U.S. may have “wiped the sleep from our eyes.” On May 21, 1941, a German submarine sunk the Robin Moor, an unarmed American merchant ship in the South Atlantic, outside a designated war zone. In retaliation, the U.S. ordered that all Italian and German consulates be closed. The attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, jarred us from our “slumber.”

German citizens “slept” while Hitler ascended to power. There’s a disquieting memory of British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain signing the Munich Pact with Hitler on September 30, 1938, at the cost of Czechoslovakia, fostering the illusion of attaining “peace in our time?” Churchill’s remarks to the House of Commons was prophetic, after the signing of the Pact, “The people should know that we have sustained a defeat without a war.” Who slept after the war, when 50,000 Cossacks were forcibly thrust back into Russia against their wills, to be killed and imprisoned by Stalin? Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote, in his Gulag Archipelago, “What military or political reason can there have been for the delivery to death at Stalin’s hands of these hundreds of thousands?” Was it political pragmatism on the part of Great Britain and the United States who were complicit? Or war weary?

How’d we shift from isolationism, to vanquishing a German “maniacal madman,” to the Truman Doctrine to “contain the spread of Communism” that ultimately led us into the Korean Conflict? Some observers believe it could have been avoided had American negotiations and lend-lease shipments not brought the USSR into the Pacific theater. Vietnam extended the “containment folly” doctrine under the mismanaged war of President Lyndon Johnson, absent pellucidity, with fettered rules of engagement. With whatever degree of restraint we exhibited as a nation prior to WWII, it appears we’re now disposed to embrace interventionist policies, and “nation building.” Some tag it “democratic imperialism” advocating removal of despotic leaders that our government deems expungeable. Regarding Egypt, former Bush 43’ advisor opined, “Mubarak is no great shakes.” “Surely we can do better than Mubarak.” President Obama embraced the faux Egyptian “Arab Spring” assuring us, with unswerving support from the media lapdogs, that the Muslim Brotherhood is largely secular. Thank God for our long-standing ally Israel, the lone democracy in the region, who bravely resists Hezbollah and Hamas, who use the Jewish state for target practice. That Syria-Russian vector persists.Victor Davis Hanson rightly observed, “We are awfully tired of the Middle East, but it is not quite tired of us.”

Since the 1990, Desert Storm invasion, under Bush 41’ we’ve been busy toppling leaders. Did Constitutional conservatives doze off? The Establishment GOP loves crossing-swords. In 1996, neoconservative, Irving Kristol, wrote, “With the end of the Cold War, what we really need is an obvious ideological and threatening enemy, one worthy of our mettle, one that can unite us in opposition.” In 2004, Bush 43’ declared, “We have no desire to dominate, no ambitions of empire.” However, we found a “worthy enemy” in Isis. Who’s the greatest existential threat to the U.S? China, Russia, North Korea? Die hard Never-Trumpers insist it’s Trump.

Must we believe war’s inevitable? President Trump has cautiously resisted “more boots on the ground” in that Mideast caldron. He’s unshackled troops to do whatever’s necessary to defeat the Isis caliphate in Syria. We’ve a President, unlike 44’ who means business, and our allies and enemies know it. He’s put NATO on notice that the “bill is past due.” Reminder-generals love to wage war. With 170,000 active military in 150 nations worldwide, and 374 military bases in 80 countries, DC elites, neocons, and lobbyist understand it’s big business for those outside the military. President Eisenhower warned in 1961 of the vast “industrial military complex” and its “grave implications.” Our battle-ground has shifted to the home-front, with boots-on-the-ground in the political, cultural and moral arena.

Eyes must be wide open before the 2020 Presidential elections. Democrats could potentially field fifteen primary candidates, most are declared Socialist, who’ll be jousting for a chance to take on President Trump, arguing the greatest sins are capitalism and climate change. The political landscape has shifted since 2016 election. Take nothing for granted. No time for slumbering. Resting on one’s laurels is a malison. Too many “slept” while the High Court hijacked the life of the unborn, traditional marriage, and despoiled long-standing moral edifices. Will we be subverted by our own abdication and lack of will? Our phalanx is formidable if we use it. What do you think?

Mike Pyatt’s a Natrona County resident. His email’s roderickstj@yahoo.com

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