Sun. May 26th, 2024

Written by Jaime O’Neill

I spent a bit of time back in the 1960s with people shouting at me to go to Russia if I didn’t like it here. Most anyone in the anti-war movement was offered that friendly advice. In fact, if you were protesting for equal rights, fair housing, braceros, or for clean air or water, it was likely you heard that suggestion. The solution for any unhappiness with what your country was doing was that you make haste to leave the land of the free and head for the Soviet Union. Even if your only politics were expressed by growing your hair long and wearing “love” beads in hopes of enhancing your chances of getting laid (“girls say yes to boys who say no,” you probably heard that, too.

It can get pretty confusing for those of us who were young then and are old now. Lots of rather extreme reactionaries among the Proud Boys, and the Oath Keepers have long hair now. Republicans, who were absolutely apoplectic on the subject of Russia back in the day seem to love Russia now. Right-wing voices talk smack about Biden’s support for the Ukraine, and Trump is still really fond of Communist leaders in North Korea and Moscow, Putin most especially. You could easily get the idea that the American right is pretty fickle, blown by any prevailing wind.

But few of them are moving to Russia, though I suspect that lots of the richer “conservatives” have investments there, or complicated financial entanglements with Russian oligarchs that make it harder for them to knock Russia for any reason at all.

The old Soviet Union is no more, of course. I guess the logic is that since the Savior of Capitalism, Ronald Reagan, dissolved the Soviet Union virtually all by himself, that the individual parts magically transformed into good capitalist states with solid American values. And Vladimir Putin, once an active Commie serving in the KGB (once thought to be among the nastier components among the Soviets) has been redeemed. George W. Bush thought he was a sweetheart, having looked into his eyes and seen a good soul there, then, endearingly, giving him the nickname Pooty-Poot. Donald Trump almost idolized the guy, along with Kim Jong Un, a lovable Communist who knew how to keep malcontents in his country from making trouble of any kind, from good to bad.

Still, it is a mite confusing that the words “Commie rats” were among angriest epithets tossed at us when some of us were marching for this or against that. Lots of us thought the right wingers didn’t like Communists one damn bit.
But they seemed to have changed in a variety of ways since the long ago ’60s. So maybe turn-about is fair play. Maybe we should head to Wall Street and urge those mega/MAGA capitalists to just go to Russia if they don’t like it here. Maybe we should tell the big donors to people like Trump or DeSantis that they should depart for Russia and make that country their home if they think this country is the hell hole they like to tell us it is. Way fewer black people there, just for starters.

But it’s awfully confusing how the most fascistic people we have, the most undemocratic forces among us, can now be offering us so many baffling opinions on so many things. They always promoted themselves as lovers of law and order, for instance, but now they don’t seem bothered at all by grand theft by lots of dishonest people from Supreme Court justices to oil company price gougers.

The so-called “conservatives” always claimed to be about fiscal responsibility, but now they consistently want to crash our, or risk crashing, out international credit rating. In the process, they risk stalling the world’s economic engine, shutting down a gazillion jobs from Boise to Mumbai. They might not let that catastrophe happen this time. They’ve played chicken with the debt ceiling several times and have pulled back at the last moment each time. But with the MAGA nuts driving the car toward the cliff this time, it’s possible the captains of business and industry might not be able to take over control of that speeding vehicle this time.

Since the people who once wanted so many of us to just get the hell out of this country and go to Russia now seem to adore Russia themselves, couldn’t we perhaps find unity some other kinda way and all stay home and make this place work for more people other than just the very rich and powerful?

And since marijuana is legal in lots of states now, and since a whole lot of right wingers seem to have been smoking a cubic ton of whacky tobaccy or using lots of other once-illegal drugs, maybe we’ve got lots more in common as Americans than the right-wing propaganda industry would have us believe.

Maybe we could all just come together now, in fact. Thing have surely changed since those grand ol’ days of yesteryear when kids without clout were shuttled off to die in Vietnam or busted and sent to jail for less than an ounce of weed. That was when party boy George W. Bush was getting a million bucks worth of training to fly planes for the Texas National Guard before he went AWOL from further service about the same time Dick Cheney said he had “other priorities” that precluded him from taking a chance on dying in Vietnam. A lot of dead draftees might have felt the same, but things just don’t work that way for everyone. Maybe we could focus on creating a system in which the rules were the same for everyone. What a concept,eh?

But that might just be an illusory dream brought on by a drug flashback.


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