If you have an inkling to unearth the front page of a newspaper from the early 1940's, you will find yourself in a different America.
I've been obliged of late to peruse a lot of news copy from 1942 on, particularly the Cleveland Press and Plain Dealer (PD). The front page of the PD's Nov. 20, 1944 issue contains no less than 20 headlines. Save for one, they all pertain to WWII. Some examples:
Metz Falling As Nazi Front Cracks
Geilenkirchen Taken; French Enter Alsace, Enemy Dropping Back
British Women Fighting
Conversely, on the PD's Feb. 15, 2015 front page, there is no mention of Afghanistan. Obviously our military action in Afghanistan and WWII are not comparable. Same goes for our media consumption. There was no television news during WWII. You had the paper and the radio. And to be sure, the War was priority number one. That's because nearly every family had a young man participating in it. They had some skin in the game, literally.
The vast majority of today's Plain Dealer readers don't care much about Afghanistan. It's not their war. They "support" the troops as long as their kid doesn't have to be one of them. I wrote about this insidious disengagement last Memorial Day.
Incidentally, going to see American Sniper does not make you a patriot.
|1941 ad clipping|
But that is not the point of this post. This is about Obama's formal request for Congress to authorize the use of military force in the war against ISIS.
I have my disappointments with Obama, but I am squarely behind this move (too bad it's six months late). Critics call the request too vague. I laud that very quality. Because while I don't think it's going to wake the somnambulant American public, perhaps it will compel the braying donkeys and lumbering elephants to battle over the specifics of how we shape our engagement in this miserable mess. Perhaps it will foster ownership outside of the White House and Pentagon.
I am hopeful, dear reader, but I'm also fearful that this country has become so huge and calcified, it may be beyond governance.
From sea to shining sea indeed.
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