October 14, 2008
Artificial Insemination, Birth Control & the GI Bill
I have been reading Gore Vidalís memoir, Palimpsest, and believe me, he gives great gossip. What person of delicate discernment could fail to love a book that gets right down to business on page seven with this little life lesson taught by Mrs. John F. Kennedy to the authorís still-virginal 19-year-old half sister, immediately following the latterís wedding:
Later that day, in a bathroom at Merrywood, the Virginia house where we had all served time as stepchildren or children of Hugh Dudley Auchincloss, Jr. (known as Hughdie or, more often, poor Hughdie), Jackie hitched up her gown and showed the innocent Nini how to douche post-sex, one foot in the bathtub and the other on the white-tiled floor.
Nor will you want to miss the description of how Vidalís mother, poor Hughdie being impotent, had been obliged to conceive Nini in the first place with the assistance of a spoon. But I digress. Our text today is from page 89, where Gore writes of his schoolboy years at Exeter, prewar:
This was at the height of the struggle between the America Firsters, of which I was one of the student leaders, and the interventionists, which included most of the Anglophile faculty. Of the teachers, only Tom Riggs was on my side. A radical young man, he had, while at Princeton, organized the Veterans of Future Wars. This caused a national stir, particularly when he demanded that we be given our bonuses now, before the war and possible death.
We have since adopted the Riggs plan more or less intact, handing out generous enlistment bonuses to the lower classes and recouping the cost at the other end by scrimping on medical care and educational benefits for those veterans who make it home alive.
This reversal of the World War II pattern has so far kept the suckers quiet, or enough of them anyway. For every Cindy Sheehan there were three or four Cindy McCains (although none of them, it is safe to say, was nearly as rich). And Bush was able to get so close to being elected in 2004 that he was able to steal the White House again, this time in Ohio.
But eight years of whacking Americaís normally docile proletariat over the head with a two-by-four may have finally succeeded in getting the muleís attention. If so, President Obama might want to dust off the old World War II approach to veterans affairs and see if it still works.
Posted by Jerome Doolittle at October 14, 2008 02:11 PM
Damned if it didn't work too. My dad came home from Europe and decided to lay back and take it easy on the 52/20 plan. $20 bucks for 52 weeks until his grandfather laid him a big one and declared "this family has never taken a dime from the government and you're not either". And then proceeded to make my father work on a log truck. After a couple of weeks of this, my father decided that college would be a much better choice than logging, and went down to South Carolina, enrolled in the Citadel and got his engineering degree. Over the years, because he was depression era, he saved a lot from the fruits of that engineering degree that the government paid for. He later learned that his grandfather had been taking huge subsidies for that farm for years from the government and he had been tricked, but by then he realized it was a good trick, otherwise he might still be on that log truck.
The downside was that once Fox News and talk radio came around, he a decided that all that money that he made from the government investing in him and providing him with a cheap GI loan to house him and his family, the government shouldn't get any return on its investment other than the taxes that he'd paid over the years. He didn't realize that some of the results of the money the government invested in him should be used by the government so they could continue providing the same benefits to the next generation; to help those who came after him to be provided with what he had gotten. He got those benefits for serving in a uniform in Italy at the post office in the first floor of the US government administration building in which all of the generals had their beautiful Italian secretaries go down and pick up their male from the young men staffing those post office counters, like my father. He was on pins and needles about going to Japan to invade, but fortunately for him and for me, that never happened.
But what's wrong with this "greatest generation". If they were so great, why don't they want to provide for the next generation the same benefits they got? I realize not all are like this, I can only relate the story I know.
My generation, we were just spoiled rotten and that's evident in our government. The best and the brightest as they call themselves have brought us to where we are today.
Nobody minded buying war bonds to support the government during WWII. What happened to us as a nation?
Incidentally, Vidal appears on a wonderful video interview done by the Real News Network. A $75 donation (or investment in real news if you will) will get it for you.