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Johnny Got His Gun

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Dalton Trumbo's novel about the futility of unnecessary war has been hated and revered by both of America's main political parties whenever it suited them.

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The following is an excerpt from a book written long ago by a man who knew that most wars are unnecessary, and are provoked and cheered on by the greedy and the power-hungry, and the ideologues who believe their "way of life," religion, or form of government is so much better than any other that it must be foisted upon everyone else whether they want it or not.

As you'll see in a portion of the introduction Dalton Trumbo wrote years later for a reprinting of Johnny Got His Gun, at the time of writing the original novel he was actually criticizing the views and actions of the "left" in America, whose members had pushed the nation into what he calls "the last romantic war," which was WWI.

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But he also discovered that some wars are definitely worth fighting, because he saw the utter necessity of American involvement in WWII - which, by the way, he says the "right" in America fought tooth and nail AGAINST. In fact, Trumbo states that many members of the "right" were Nazi sympathizers. Scores of them wrote letters of praise to the author "denouncing Jews, Communists, New Dealers, and international bankers" whom they said were suppressing his novel in order to "intimidate millions of true Americans" who didn't want America in the war that ended Hitler's reign of terror and the slaughter of millions of people not for anything they had done, but for who they were. He says:

"Nothing could have convinced me so quickly that Johnny was exactly the sort of book that shouldn't be reprinted until the war was at an end."

In the end, it's a classic example of how things can turn completely around again and again as time goes by. Just as the Democrats and Republicans have traded positions on race in America, and on individual freedom and liberty, so too have they changed roles in the way they cheerlead for unnecessary, unjust, and un-Holy wars.

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What we need is not "bigger" government, but "BETTER" government.

Both Democrats and Republicans have the capacity to take away our freedoms, start the "wrong" wars, and push us off the path that we started down when we embarked on our "Great Experiment" in America. And I don't intend to support either of them when they attempt to do so.

Abraham Lincoln's Republican Party was a far cry from today's. Today's is more closely aligned with the views of most Democrats at that time, especially Southern Democrats who supported slavery, oppression and bigotry.

Today's Republican Party is also much more welcoming of policies that are at once both isolationist and imperialist. In other words: "We don't need no more damn foreigners in our country" is uttered in the same breath as "We must spread democracy and impose our form of government, our views, and our way of life on people around the globe, whether they want it or not."

There will come a time, perhaps even within the span of my life, when the roles of our two main parties reverse poles again. At that time, I will proudly declare that I align myself with the views of the Republican side more than those of the Democratic side.

It's not about labels, it's about right and wrong.

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by JC Garrett

(excerpted from a much longer excerpt which can be found here.)

Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo, 1939

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JC Garrett is a freelance writer and Constitutional scholar from the piney-woods of East Texas. Mr. Garrett owns and operates an independent recording studio, plays several instruments, writes, sings, and produces music. His stories have (more...)
 

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