by Mike Pyatt
Health experts maintain one needs a prescribed amount of sleep to function properly, though they differ on that threshold. We aren’t called to “slumber our life away.” Our 45th President appears to be like the Energizer Bunny, reportedly sleeping less than fours a night, and still going strong. Others get too much sleep. The Scriptures equate too much sleep or rest with slothfulness (Prov.6:9). The lesson’s clear-there’s a time for sleep, and a time to be watchful. Some may recall the record of Jesus rhetorically admonishing his soporific disciples, after previously entreating them to be on guard, “Are you still sleeping and resting?” Were they dullards? Obtuse? Would we have fared differently? Our nation has an unfortunate track record for sleeping when we should be watchful-missing critical signpost along the way.
One can “go to sleep at the wheel,” yet not be in that state of slumber, which Webster defines, “rest of the body and mind, during which eyes are closed, and there is little or no conscious thought or voluntary movement.” It could mean failure to pay attention to that which is going on around us. Or worse. To willingly ignore conditions that may reap harmful repercussions. Americans have been accused of “sleeping” when it touches the moral or political realm. Is it “political or moral encephalitis?” How many in our town, state or country ignore the election process, then complain for the next four years about feckless politicians? Some contend we no longer have the appetite to confront potentially vexing conditions-so we “sleep through it.” It interrupts our reverie, or our default reaction, “That’s someone else’s problem.”
Was America slumbering from 1931 to 1941, as Hitler amassed and consolidated power in Germany? President Roosevelt was inaugurated in 1933, the same year Japan exited the League of Nations, one year before Hitler assumed power. Our isolationism reached a pinnacle in the mid-1930’s. In 1936, Hitler imposed a military draft on Germany and raised an army and air force, in open violated of the Treaty of Versailles of 1919, to militarize 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 enforced by economic boycotts. Events in Europe from 1937 to 1939 nudged the U.S.’s neutrality. A series of events directed as aggression toward the U.S. may have “wipe the sleep from our eyes.” On May 21, 1941, a German sub sunk the Robin Moor, an unarmed American merchant ship in the South Atlantic, outside a designate war zone. In retaliation, the U.S. ordered that all Italian and German consulates be closed. The attack on Pearl Harbor finally jarred us from our slumber.
Most 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. “The people should know that we have sustained a defeat without 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? Aleksander 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 thousand?” Was it political pragmatism on the part of Great Britain and the U.S. who were complicit, or war weary?
How’d we migrate from isolationism, to vanquishing a German maniacal madman, to the Truman Doctrine to containing the spread of Communism, that ultimately led us to 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 theatre. Vietnam extended the “containment folly” doctrine under the mismanaged engagement of President Lyndon Johnson, absent pellucidness, with fettered rules of engagement. With whatever degree of “restraint” we exhibited as a nation prior WWII, it appears we’re now disposed to embrace interventionist policies, and “nation building.” Some tag it as “democratic imperialism,” advocating removing despotic leaders that our government deems expugnable. A former Bush 43’ advisor said “We can surely do better than Mubarak.” President Obama embraced the faux “Arab Spring.” Was anyone awake then?
This isn’t the time to form a “coalition of the sleepy.” We’ve elected a new President who’s so far reluctant to place more boots on the ground in that Middle East caldron. The neocons are still itching for a Trump-Putin title bout for their amusement. There’re pivotal house and senate seats up for grabs this Primary. Time to oust political malingerers, driven by career impulses, whose love of occupancy’s a malison. Is abdication of our will the greatest existential threat? The progressive Democrats are giddy with the roster of socialists on ballots. How many “slept” while the High Court hijacked life of the unborn, traditional marriage, and despoiled long standing moral edifices? How many will yawn at local or state elections on August 21st after spending countless hours on social media squabbling over who they hate most? Awaken slumbering citizens! Our phalanx is formidable. What do you think?
Mike Pyatt’s a Natrona County resident. His email’s firstname.lastname@example.org