Quote: “I want you for US Army” (Uncle Sam recruiting posters, WWI & WWII)
In the news: Russia gloats over Trump’s Syria debacle and Putin’s “victory” Anna Nemtsova, The Daily Beast, 10.17.19)
In context: Uncle Sam is a legendary figure who has symbolized America since the Revolutionary War. He stepped up in times of war, most recently in the two World Wars fought on behalf of Europe in the interest of freedom and justice, two founding principles of America from the start.. In one fell swoop, Donald Trump betrayed those principles and rendered Uncle Sam a vegetable.
Uncle Sam had a stroke when Trump sold out the Kurds who helped America defeat a common enemy, the radical Islamists who give Islam a bad name. Uncle Sam was revived by the EMS Republican Trump enablers who at long last condemned one of his unlawful moves. Even so, Uncle Sam is hangs on by virtue of life support until the country decides between life and death for the principles he represents.
Freedom and justice have been American hallmarks since it was founded. The early settlers were escaping rule by an all-powerful monarch imposing unfair taxes and restrictions on the country’s people. By s stroke of genius the founding fathers elaborated a Constitution that proscribed benevolence as a quality of the new country. France recognized that American gift to the world by presenting it with the Statue of Liberty that lay in boxes for decades before money was raised for a base on which to erect the statue near Ellis Island, the port of entry to the US.
America is a blessed country. Protected by oceans on two sides, it has an ideal temperate climate and plenty of natural resources. It is a vast land populated by immigrants who sidelined the native peoples and imported slaves to serve itself. Managing all that growth kept the country busy. It rarely meddles in other country’s affairs until lately as the world grew interdependent.
Uncle Sam makes his call to arms only when the country is attacked or when its principles are threatened. As the renowned American Martin Luther King stated, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
Traditionally, America intervenes when freedom, justice and benevolence are in peril, It initiated the United Nations after WWII to prevent future wars. The UN is a diplomatic forum where countries deal with differences. The UN is the second stab of the US to establish such a body. The first was the League of Nations set up after WWI, which collapsed when Germany violated rules and invaded neighboring Poland. That move led to WWII and the eventual attack on the US by Japan. with Uncle Sam leading the rescue, the result was a win for democratic benevolence except for the large swath controlled by Russia..
Even aside from the Russian exception, the global road toward democracy has been full of potholes. Even so, great strides have been made behind the scenes at the UN. a diplomatic tool that works quietly in the background to advance cooperation among principally through regional groups with similar aims. NATO, for example, is an alliance between world-leading democracies to help each other defend their common principles. Numerous other regional agreements help countries join forces to achieve objectives. All those groups have been increasingly stressed as challenges became ever more global until they came to a boil.
Climate change, for example, fuels emigration from distressed countries and presents immigration challenges to others, including transit countries that the homeless need to traverse. This human migration brings cultures, races, religions and beliefs into conflict, which presents a basic human situation.
People in crisis are not at their best. They act instinctively and don’t think rationally. In an avalanche or fire, people flee toward safety. Helping those in danger requires a steady, practiced hand, like a fire fighting force. In concert with allies, the US has led those efforts to help those in crisis. That was Uncle Sam’s job. With the current administration, Uncle Sam is now bruised, tattered, defiled and in a coma.
After the 9/11 attack, America sent its troops overseas to join allies in a fight to defeat an extremist group that threatened all the world. In this latest bout, they found the Kurds, a democratic group caught between despotic regimes on all sides. The Kurds fought valiantly with Uncle Sam until the enemy was held at bay. Then American elite forces stayed behind to teach the Kurdish allies to fend for themselves and carry on. That plan was cut short by a presidential decree issued with no credible explanation.
Uncle Sam recruits his forces from among Americans who risk lives to defend the country and its honor. They walk with heads high in their home towns with their family members proudly cheering them on and showing them off. They are a noble contrast to suicide bombers out to destroy. Uncle Sam’s recruits join up to build a better world.
In his coma, Uncle Sam weeps unconsciously. The life support machines bleep, the medical team scrambles, a specialist arrives and consults the charts. Confidently the specialist turns and looks at the team.
“What Uncle Sam needs,” the specialist says, “is a new medical team. He’s thirsty. He needs a drink of water so he can get up and out of this bed where he has been confined since he was poisoned.”