Members of Nuclear Watch South, three of us, were invited to do an information table at a Jackson Brown concert in Columbus, GA last month. We set up early, before the crowds, and attracted ushers, who were mostly retired military (Fort Benning is nearby). They were friendly but their views were about what you’d expect: pro-nuke, both weapons and energy, pro-war, both Iraq and Afghanistan (though Obama was too slow in deciding to send more troops). Of course they were anti-Obama in general (they were all white).
Unfortunately they merely paced about during the concert so never heard the lyrics to some of Jackson’s songs that would have challenged their received wisdom. None had heard of him except one retired firefighter from NY who was I suppose Libertarian. He was anxious to distinguish himself from the vets. He commented that Europeans are laughing at our healthcare debate. They know that single-payer is off the table, the system they have in place that serves them well.
One resuscitated the favored complaint that the politicians forced the military to “fight with our hands tied behind our backs” in Vietnam (hard to defend in the face of the fact that the U.S. dropped more bombs on Vietnam than were dropped on Europe in WWII). I asked him why he thought we were fighting in Vietnam. He said to stop Communism. I asked if it would be ok if the people decided to elect a Communist government. He hesitated but agreed that if they were so foolish well, let’em. I then told him about how the U.S. and its client in South Vietnam blocked elections called for in the Geneva Accords that ended the French involvement in 1954. Ho Chi Mihn was so popular that it was obvious he’d win any election unifying the country and this was unacceptable to the so-called freedom-loving U.S. government. Apparently you can elect any sort of government you like so long as it perpetuates elite rule. Any election with a differing outcome is “undemocratic” by definition. Thus millions of southeast Asians and 50,000 U.S. citizens died that a wealthy elite might rule over an impoverished population (and serve U.S. corporate interests, guaranteeing, cheap labor and access to natural resources – the template called U.S. foreign policy).
One exchange, getting heated, led to the following: Usher – “we should believe the president.” Me - “Even if he’s lying?” Usher - “Yes!” What can you say to that?
We were later ‘ushered’ backstage for a 15 minute conversation with the gracious rock star himself. He shared something he picked up on-line, that a Swedish 15th century galleon had been raised in Stockholm harbor. The state of the copper on board was forcing a re-evaluation of methods of storing nuclear waste since that stuff has to be isolated for time periods into the future greater than recorded history. You have to wonder why anyone would choose technology that leaves toxic waste around for uncountable future generations to safeguard when there are alternatives, particularly when those alternatives are cheaper, safer and available over a much shorter timeline. It may have something to do with boys and their toys - nonukesyall.org