My only complaint about this terrific and important essay, is what he says about Heath care reform. Of course, he's right in the main, but he ignores the fact that it's the only step in the only direction we could get.
It might have been a leap, but for the monumental lying by conservatives, the US Chamber of Commerce, virtually all elected Republicans, Hatriot talk radio, and of course, Fox News. Much of it was merely a louder variant on the same kind of lying that enabled both the Vietnam war, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Even so, this essay is brilliant at summarizing the civic malfeasance and neglect that got us to this miserable place in history. Conservatism has raped this nation, raped its people, and raped history. It's time we put it on trial, find it guilty, execute it, and cremate the corpse along with all its DNA. Before it does the same to us.
It is time to grow out of our materialistic fetishes and begin cultivating the personal and civic maturity we like to fancy we possess, but which we don't. It is time to grow up and accept the burdens of mature citizenship, among the most important of which are a capacity and a willingness to tell the truth, letting go the comforting but corrosive lies in the confidence that courage mustered now will yield not only greater self respect today but a more sane, a more decent, and a safer society in the future.
It is important that we commemorate Vietnam, both to mourn the objective horror of what it was, but also to redeem our capacity to tell the truth, to ourselves, about ourselves. Only in that way can we begin to reclaim the country and the people we want to imagine ourselves to be.
Thanks to @goldymos for this.