When I watch documentaries about the Vietnam War era in the United States, (tonight’s, ★★☆), I’m filled with both wonder and hopelessness: wonder at the sheer scale of the protests, civic disobedience, and government criminality of the time, but hopelessness that we still have all of the same problems today, systemically unable to prevent repeating the same mistakes in every generation.
We have new presidents executing new wars against new enemies. Our right-wing zealots condemn new protests as unpatriotic, and they discriminate against a new group of people on the basis of a different quality they were born with.
During this generation, these wars are likely to end in effective stalemates and this persecuted class of people is likely to gain equal legal rights and gradual acceptance by many of those formerly ignorant and hateful toward them. The wars will be seen as tremendous historical blunders in retrospect, and the memories of the intolerance will be a permanent embarrassment of our society.
It’s the same old bullshit.
And in another 20 years, the next generation will create their own war profiteering and intolerance, having learned nothing from us.