Bette Davis Was Right About the Long War

“U.S. leftists and liberals need to reorganize themselves and prepare for a LONG WAR that has no end in sight with militant groups like the Trump White House and their allies in Fox News…,”  is my absurd mistranslation of Joint Chief of Staff’s Gen. Martin Dempsey’s farewell speech to the Pentagon about our endless war.

Of course what Dempsey actually said is that this “long war” will be against ISIS and involve worldwide proxy wars like Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Africa.

Gen. Dempsey might as well be talking to us: “We must be able to rapidly adapt to new threats while maintaining comparative advantage over traditional ones,” Yes, indeed!

When thousands of U.S. veterans helped Sioux “water protectors” temporarily win at Standing Rock, I flippantly suggested that we could learn from the military. Like how to reorganize ourselves for our own version of the long war.

Or as Bette Davis says in “All About Eve,” “Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.”

In hearing the agonized responses of friends and other writers to Trump’s election I’m struck by the same words they use over and over: grief, horror, mournng, shock and shellshock, despair, sad, depressed, blocked etc.

Really? Still? It’s been over a month since 8 Nov. As George C. Scott as Gen. Patton liked to bellow at traffic jams, what’s the holdup?

Surely we’re not waiting for the dead-ass Democratic Party?

From Hillary and Obama on down they’re wasting precious time squabbling like has-been boxers, “We wuz robbed!”

Does it help or hinder to grasp that Bannon-Trump’s election coup is not unprecedented but the culmination of a previous “long war” not against Obama but decades ago against Franklin D. Roosevelt’s attempts to save capitalism from itself in the depressed 1930s?

The One Percent, then called the Liberty League based at J. P. Morgan’s 23 Wall Street, never recovered from the trauma of one of its own class FDR stabbing it in the back. They even tried to mount a military coup against him.

Unlike us nice people, Republicans are gut fighters. They never give up, because they retain long, long memories of how “socialist” and awful life is when the top class is taxed at top rate and when the middle class, poor and weak have, gasp! Social Security and jobless insurance.

Democrats fight for their rights; Republicans fight for their lives.

The struggle changes form over time. It adapts to circumstances. What’s unchanging is the ancient, smug hatred of the poor and misbegotten.

That’s us, folks.

Fasten your seatbelts.

More articles by:

Clancy Sigal is a screenwriter and novelist. His latest book is Black Sunset

Weekend Edition
March 22, 2019
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