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  • While for most people, Memorial Day is merely the starting gun for the summer where the common folk get a day off work to blow the dust off the BBQ, roast up some cheap hot dogs and have an extra day to rest and get shitty drunk in the afternoon (and post sappy memes on social media), it simply began in the post-Civil War era as a day of remembrance for the soldiers who died in battle. As with many holidays, it started off as a grass roots effort that in time would become written into law. In the case of Memorial Day, it only took 100 years to become a recognized federal holiday in 1968, as the tide was turning against the US in the Vietnam “conflict” with the battlefields of Southeast Asia being peopled with draftees too poor to buy their way out of conscription via college deferments or other legal and expensive means. While looking suspiciously like a propaganda tool in 1968, Memorial Day’s genesis lay at the graves of over 600,000 American dead on both sides of the Civil War, the thus far biggest US soldier body count in relation to population size in any war, proving that the best way to kill as many Americans as possible is to fight ourselves. And, fighting ourselves is a long and prosperous past time, along with offering praise to dead heroes while fucking over the living ones who didn’t have the good sense to die on the battle field and actually came back to the country they fought for and expected all of the glittering promises made by the shill recruiters and politicians to be carried out in full.

    This American cycle of greasing up the vets’ corn-holes for a good post war pounding isn’t new in our collective experience. The Whiskey Rebellion (1791 – 1794) came about due to the excessive tax on distilled spirits to pay for the national debt of the new country mostly due to the American Revolutionary War. The debt of 50 million dollars (a huge sum in those days) was incurred using bond sales, and those bonds had to be paid back to their holders, a collection of mostly Congressman and other wealthy businessmen with the inside track of knowing their post war value verses the 20% market value trading on the streets would be much higher, and someone had to pay the difference. Of course, overly taxing export on trade goods would hit the pocketbooks of wealthy plantation owners sending out massive lots of pig-heads of tobacco, bales of cotton and hemp and other goods across the moat to Europe, and taxing the luxury goods coming into the ports would hit the wealthier city folk too hard. So, why not fuck over the rural poor instead. Hamilton, with his backers of bankers, businessmen and churchy social reformers who just loved a good sin-tax, took aim at the most plentiful domestic product, whiskey. This tax hit poor vets the hardest, many of whom were farmers on the western frontiers who used whiskey distilled from their excess grain as not only a nice way to spend an evening with kith and kin but to actually pay their own debts as a means of currency. The country wasn’t even twenty years old, and the first great ass rape of the common man who stood up to fight for freedom was in play. These first heroes of the USA didn’t ask for much. They just wanted to go west to a frontier still rife with pissed off natives and try to live their lives as unmolested as humanly possible. However, due to top down greed they would face the first tax levied by the national government on a domestic product, intrusive collection means (and of course the great tradition of fighting back against them), a large conscripted army being sent against its own people, and laying the ground work for the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 (the Patriot Act of its day).

    Historically speaking, fucking over veterans isn’t a purely American or modern phenomena. Dealing with “veteran’s affairs” has been the price to pay for many empires. Roman history is peppered with various incidents of vets not being given their shares of land or equivalent pay following the cessation of campaigns and the promises made, usually due to greedy, rich fops at the top of the political food chain with old family names wanting to keep as much of the spoils for themselves (funny how some things stay the same). This disparity played a key role in Rome’s own civil war between its city states, called the Social War, circa 90 BC, and angry disenfranchised vets were used politically over and over again during Rome’s time in the Imperial sun. Of course, by the time the Republic had turned to a military dictatorship under the Caesars, being in the military and going on glorious campaigns was part in parcel to one’s political future. Just imagine how horrible it would be today if some smug turd like Ted Cruz actually had a few legions under his command and beck and call. That’s a bad comparison. Ted Cruz or his provincial ilk would be hard pressed to climb the ancient dung heap of political power past being block level shot callers working for the man; a Rockefeller, du Pont, or even Donald Trump would be a better analogy in America today. Thankfully, a few exceptions aside, we usually keep the military heroes and moneyed families separated in this country due to the fact that people with shitloads of cash have a lot to fucking live for and much prefer that the actual shooting in a war is done with the overabundance of impoverished people willing to buy yet another round of flag waving fear mongering and soon to be broken promises for their service that once again fills body bags, flag draped coffins and the streets of the country with broken vets living at the ass end of a society that only cares about them if they’re dead and buried.
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