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Love of Country

Seldom Requited

By Fred Reed

August 18, 2012 "Information Clearing House" -- Iím trying to understand love of country. Itís hard hoeing. Maybe some things just ainít understandable. Or maybe itís Ďcause Iím from West Virginia and donít have shoes, Ďcause they ainít any that fits people with twelve toes. How are you supposed to love a country where you can't get shoes?

Iím not even sure thereís any such thing as a country. Mostly my country seems to be a bunch of brigands in Washington who send you tax forms to get money so they can kill people in some place that never did anything to you and you probably donít know where is. When did I ask them to do that?

It looks to me like a country is just a temporary mood ginned up to get everybody hooting and hollering behind the grenade industry with other peopleís money. People just naturally like to get together in packs and kill each other, or beat each other full of concussions like in football, or have gangs and zip guns and ball bats and smack hell out of each other. A countryís just a teenage gang with older teenagers and better zip guns, I reckon. All you got to do is get them riled up about something that probably donít exist. You send the dumb ones to get killed and the smart ones cash the checks at home. Thatís what a country is.

Think about it. Isnít it true? When the gummint wants to go kill folks we mostly never heard of, in Halfghanistan or Eye Rack this week anyway, it acts like the country is one solid thing, a big happy family, and has to think the same things. If the  gummint hates Halfghans, or wants their oil or something, we all got to hate them because we ought to love our country. It makes as much sense as lug nuts on a birthday cake.

I canít see how thereís anything special about a country. Itís just a big herd full of little herds that hate each other and want to swindle each other and pick everybodyís pockets and burgle their houses if they canít actually steal them. I mean, the blacks hate the whites and beat them lopsided so they can take pictures, and half the whites hate blacks but donít dare say so, and want to run Mieesicans out of the country, and the Messicans hate the blacks and the whites that want to run them back to Messico, and everybody hates Moslems, whatever one of those is. Maybe thatís a country. It looks more like a bar fight waiting to happen.

Whatís funny is how people talk about how they love their country, but donít act like it. I mean, there ainít nothing more patriotic than a businessman who thinks he can make money at it. The newspaper in Charlestown says the gummint spends a trillion dollars on wars every year, either fighting them or getting ready or looking for new ones. I donít know how much a trillion is. I do know it never sees the inside of a soldierís pockets.

No. All they get is stumps and blinded and dead. The businessmen donít want them to win, because then the gummint wouldnít buy as many helicopters to get shot down and then buy more. But businessmen donít want the troops to lose either, for exactly the same reason. Nobody in his right mind stops a going concern.

We got two kinds of businessman, and they both love their country the way a bank robber loves a bank. One kind wants to bring the whole country of Messico to America so they can pay them twelve cents an hour under the table and get rich. The other wants to send all Americaís factories to China where they can pay twelve cents an hour and get rich. Both kinds drip patriotism like oil from a 1964 Harley. If anyone loved me like businessmen love their country, Iíd go into hiding.

Then weíve got the military that loves its country something crazy. In West Virginia I noticed that ticks love cows. (Why did I think of that, I wonder?) In Washington youíve got whole packs of colonels strutting around like barnyard roosters, but with less brains, and saying that hippies and reporters need to support the Pentagonís troops in killing Halfghans. Itís so they can show how much they love their country.

See, colonels think they are the country, and nobody but them gets to decide what the country wants. But what if I think Iím the country as much as some useless tax-sucking colonel with colored gewgaws stuck on his coat jacket like a stamp collection? And what if I donít want to bomb anybody that I donít know, just to make money for bomb factories?

I didnít know that Lockheed-Martin was a country. I do now.

I got my doubts about some other patriots too. Suppose you went up north to Wall Street and asked those Yankee tape worms if they loved their country. Reckon theyíd say yes? Of course they would. Why, they love their country like a hog loves cornbread. Of course, the hog donít care whose cornbread.

Thing is, the tapeworms, along with the other part of the gummint that stays in Washington, just busted the economy and left half of us with no house. If that ainít patriotism, I donít know what might be. And they didnít even say they was sorry, probably because they were too busy hiding the money in off-shore accounts.  Somehow, patriotism usually seems to have dollar signs attached.

A famous fraud said, ďAsk not what your country can do for you,Ē but thatís just what everybody does ask. Best I can tell, lots of folk love the United States till their gums bleed, but donít want to do anything for it except run it broke. Congress takes bribes the way a Las Vegas slot machine eats quarters. Big Pharma swindles the public like a riverboat gambler with three decks of aces in his pockets. The Pentagon ainít nothing but Section Eight housing with five walls, soís you can tell whoever built it wasnít paying attention.

I guess with lots of practice I might learn to love hookworm, or leprosy, or even rap music like they have on the radio out of Wheelingóthough that may be stretching it. But I canít go lower. I got my limits.

Fred's Biography: As He Tells It. - Fred, a keyboard mercenary with a disorganized past, has worked on staff for Army Times, The Washingtonian, Soldier of For tune, Federal Computer Week, and The Washington Times. fredoneverything.net

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