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"Look Back for Answers"

Sometimes a review of what happened some while ago can sharpen one's understanding of what is going on now. A little distance in time allows the fury of the moment to subside, and a sort of clarity can come through in one's mind.

At the time I was so furious at gang-rapists murdering Nicaraguan nurses and educators, with the blessings of chaplains provided by Christian fundamentalist Pat Robertson, that I could hardly think straight. Let's give it a try now, twenty years later.

Q. Why did the ruling class in America want so much to destroy the Sandinista Revolution?

A. It was too upsetting to those ruling classes to have a government in place which cared for its people equally. Equality was the issue. We Americans talk and pledge about it, but we don't have it and the ruling classes don't want it. The Sandinistas were putting equality into practice, in two areas.

1. Universal health care. They didn't have our razzle-dazzle and extremely expensive devices and procedures, but what they had they all had equally, and the general health of the whole population improved by every measurement. For our ruling class the idea that the best health care known to humanity is a right owed to every single human absolutely equally is a threat. It puts at risk a huge American money-making scheme. More and more of our lower and middle-class citizens are learning about this from direct experience. Equality, while slipping more and more out of reach, is taking on a more and more desirable appearance. "It would be nice..." is the wistful feel of it. "What if one of us got sick?" is the terrifying dread underlying all our efforts. "Terrorists" frighten us less.

2. Education. For our ruling class a government which provides all the education a human mind and life can absorb, and provides it without scholarships, grants, student loans, or tuition payments of any kind, is a threat. They didn't have Harvard or MIT or UCLA or the University of Chicago, but what they had they had equally. Their literacy rate was better than ours. Such a reality is a threat to a very powerful group of interests in America. It was such a threat that the Sandinista government had to be destroyed, and it has been.

Furthermore and likewise in addition, an economy based on cooperation and equality and awesome respect for work and effort, in which the pains are distributed equally among all is a threat to the entire economic enterprise that owns America. The stock market, the excess profits of corporations, the theft of the forests and the minerals and the topsoil from the body of the people by rapacious individuals and corporations, the very idea of "unearned income," the denigration and the despising of work itself, with the manipulation of markets and profits and supply and demand in the name of competition -- all that is called into question when the common people learn of an economy which is based on equality. So, that economy needed to be destroyed, and it has been.

Nicaragua, for those brief years in which the Sandinistas worked to create such a system, did constitute a threat to the USA -- not the military threat that Reagan and the Somocistas convinced our feckless media was real, when it wasn't. No, the threat was in the arena of the struggle for hearts and minds, here not there, that a system better than what we have here is possible. Why give our hearts and minds to a system in which 80% of the people lose? What if equality broke out here? Would that be dreadful?

It would seem dreadful, in a strange and selfishly diseased sense, perhaps, for the 10% who are doing well. They're doing so well that their gains, when averaged in with all our losses, enable number-crunchers in economics departments to state that this economy is booming. But when equality is figured in it is not booming. Ask most people. So the top 10% keep belittling the idea of equality, calling it "leftist," whatever that means, or "communist," which may or may not be relevant but still works as a scare word.

Something to watch: Every year the number which identifies "the top" becomes smaller. Formerly 30%, then 20%, then 10%, then in some calculations, like taxcut beneficiaries, 5%. They said that the oligarchy [rule by a few] in El Salvador constituted fourteen families. At one point Reagan spent more money propping up that oligarchy there in El Salvador than was spent on foodstamps for the hungry here.

Something else to watch: The ruling classes here are drooling over Cuba, thinking they will soon have a chance to change everything there. Their underlying motivation is to get rid of that egalitarian society, a society based on equality. They underestimate the loyalty common people there have toward the system. They have forgotten the Bay of Pigs.

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Copyright © 2006 Harry Willson

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