The Pursuit of Happiness


I keep waiting for the Democratic Party to wake up and smell the coffee, raise from the death, quit fulfilling the definition of insanity… well, pick your metaphor. No, this isn’t advice to move left. It’s advice to recognize they’ve got bigger problems than Old Marmalade Brains.

If anything makes this point it’s the Ken Burns’ series The Vietnam War on PBS. A group of old pals and I are discussing the series; our most common point of agreement is it didn’t matter which president sent our Greetings! letter: Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon both knew we were going to lose, and both were willing to send us off to die for their partisan and personal purposes.

=A second point of agreement – and we’re all over the political spectrum as a group – is that the mission, strategies, and ever-changing visions for the non-declared war in the Mideast are identical to those used by our leaders to justify the war in Vietnam. The only difference, as Burns makes clear, is that nobody picked up our lunch checks back then, or thanked us for our service.  

=Democrats keep saying that misogyny, Russian influence, and the James Comey investigation caused Hillary Clinton to lose. Those were contributing factors, but as a United States Senator, as Secretary of State, and as a presidential candidate, Clinton plodded along the well-worn warpath that Johnson and Nixon had blazed before her. The irony of the once anti-war activist Hillary Clinton mouthing the phrases of McGeorge Bundy and Henry Kissinger has been alternately mind-numbing and heartbreaking. At least Trump, before falling into the “we’re going to win” abyss on August 21 had promised, during his campaign, to get us out of Afghanistan.

It’s Trump’s war now. But questions of morality and decency aside, Democrats need to choose –Republicans will never choose – between putting another trillion dollars into this magical mystery tour, or paying for domestic infrastructure, stabilizing the health care system, making American education competitive with other developed nations again, and genuinely reforming our tax code. If they make the right choice there’s an outside chance they’ll win some hearts and minds. Here at home.


  1. I’d love to see each mother’s son and daughter drafted into our military at 18. No deferments. Not only would we get out of Afghanistan, there would be a lot less tolerance for Trump’s dangerous challenges and the cryptic “calm before the storm” statement.

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