Well, that's probably a title for a post you never thought you'd see on my blog, but... now that it looks like we're at the end of an era - what conservative Republicans loved to call "The Reagan Revolution" - it seems that the Universe had a message for me to share.
I surfed into the movie, "FIRST BLOOD," late the other night, and found myself glued to it. Originally on the big screen in 1982, the film portrays a very disturbed Viet Nam veteran, played by Sylvester Stallone, suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, who goes on a rampage against the local authorities in a small town. Stallone's Rambo breaks down at the end of the movie, flashbacks and all, in a way that reminded me of the Viet Nam vets I worked with as a social worker at the Brooklyn V.A. Hospital in 1984. (I was a therapist in the drug-rehab unit, and man, were these guys broken.)
What was so striking to me today was remembering how the movie was hyped at the time, back in the beginning of the Reagan years. Just as Reagan co-opted Bruce Springsteen's "Born In The USA" (a song actually protesting the war) as if it were some kind of jingoistic jingle, "First Blood" was renamed "Rambo: First Blood," and the tragic lead character somehow morphed into an action hero. Nice slight of hand by the Reagan acolytes in Hollywood at the time.
It made me think about the fact that PTSD today is barely ever talked about, just as the caskets of the dead soldiers are never shown, even though after six years of mind-numbing war in Iraq and Afghanistan, there must be thousands of vets crippled by their experience in the same way as those Viet Nam era young guys were.
There's no need for me to give a lecture here on why the death and emotional destruction of a war would need to be hidden, if the war was in fact just. That is obvious.
The good news is, the Reagan Revolution is over. 28 years of unbridled, deregulated greed and excess, coupled with xenophobic nationalism masquerading as patriotism, are crashing down around us today. It appears likely now that the Reaganites and neo-conservatives will be driven from the halls of Congress and from the White House in a few weeks by a tidal wave of awakened consciousness.
All I can say is I'm glad to be alive right now.

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