Picked by Young Girls, Every One

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2013/07/05 by seanmiller12

“When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?”

Where Have All the Flowers Gone?, Pete Seeger

Pete Seeger embodies the idealism that was once America. An army veteran of World War II, Seeger collaborated with Woody Guthrie to form the Almanac Singers, later co-founding the Weavers. He was banned from television and radio shows, and many concert stages, during the height of the McCarthy era. Birchers still denounce Pete Seeger as a communist. The Weavers disbanded in 1953. Seeger started a solo career, performing at high schools and on college campuses. With the ‘60s folk revival and the performance of his music by the Kingston Trio, Peter Paul and Mary, and the Byrds, Seeger’s songs became endemic in the American landscape, as did Woody Guthrie’s.

The idealism of Pete Seeger became the idealism of the ‘60s. John F. Kennedy declared, “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country!” and young Americans did just that. The Peace Corps was born, in answer to the metastasis of the military-industrialist complex. Ironically, mainstream America believed this term came from men like Seeger and Guthrie, commies, y’know. This is what Birchers said. Folkies and college kids blathered about the mythos of American Imperialism. Everybody knew that without the help of the good ole US of A, all of the dominoes would tumble, and everybody would speak atheistic Russian. Ironically, because the author of the term, “military-industrialist complex” was none other than the patron saint of the nineteen fifties, Dwight David Eisenhower.

Of course, the Birchers labeled Ike a communist, too. He was too progressive. A Republican, progressive? Yes, a Republican, progressive. This was the time of Jim Crow and of a Democratic stranglehold on the voters of the South. The bigotry, sexism, Dominionism, and racism which characterizes the Rethuglican Party of early twenty-first century America, was the earmark of 1960s Democrats, until Kennedy; then Johnson. It’s a difficult pill to swallow, but, in those days, the Liberals of the United States were the East Coast Republicans. Funny, how times have changed.

The one constant is the John Birch Society, with its bigotry and hatred, its intolerance and devotion to Dominionism. If America felt fragmented during the 1960s, this was only a prelude for the climate of the present.

So, when will we ever learn? American Exceptionalism belongs in the same dust bin as Manifest Destiny.  Actually, they are synonymous. Lacking the dynamic idealism of the 1960s, Americans are now exceptional only in their ignorance and intolerance. Ann Coulter sees nothing wrong with imperialism against sovereign, Middle Eastern nations. It is, after all, our oil, right, Ann? American oil companies singlehandedly located, drilled for, and processed all of that petroleum. Singlehandedly! Right. This is because Americans are so exceptional. Americans could do it all, and alone. Ann Coulter is the darling of the John Birch Society, an ardent adherent to McCarthyism. Coulter is an outspoken devotee of ‘tail gunner’ Joe. Hateful, intolerant, homophobic Joe McCarthy was a tail gunner, alright. Ask Roy Cohn.

Fomenting the narrow, extra biblical, fundamentalist agenda of Dominionism, the John Birch Society must be remembered as the product of Robert Welch and Fred C. Koch. This fact must never be overlooked. Fred C. Koch was the father of Charles and David Koch. When will we ever learn? Allegedly, Fred was related to Karl-Otto Koch, of Germany, and this relationship paved the way to a brief, though very profitable business relationship between the two. Fred C. Koch was an oil man, and Germany desperately needed oil. Karl-Otto’s name is not all that familiar. He was overshadowed by his wife, Ilse, the famous ‘Bitch of Buchenwald’, noted for her legendary, handcrafted, translucent lampshades of human skin. Karl-Otto Koch was the first commandant of Buchenwald, a position he was awarded by the Fuehrer, because of his successful business dealings, which brought oil to the Third Reich.

Ilse’s lampshades may be apocryphal. During her war crimes trial, no one would ever testify to having seen them. Her connection to SS atrocities and her appetite for banal cruelty were cause for her hanging, though. The connection between Fred and Karl-Otto may also be apocryphal. Little evidence supports this theory. However, considering Fred’s fascist leanings, with its abhorrence of communism, he could very well belong in the exclusive club of Prescott Bush, Sterling Clark, and Irenee Du Pont. Violating the Trading with the Enemy Act, attempting to overthrow President Roosevelt, and belief in eugenics would fit well with the ideology of Fred’s Birch Society. When will we ever learn? How far does the apple fall from the tree? The brothers Koch are descended from a man with a seemingly very checkered past, and whose ideological creation still haunts the wings of American political theatre.

America has evolved into an intolerant, violent country, devoid of Pete Seeger’s idealism.  Americans became adherents of Reaganomics and Ayn Rand, forgetting their old, traditional values of charity and selflessness. We have outsourced our factories, buried our farmlands with concrete, and erected building after building upon it, only to stand empty, because we could. Greed is good. The wolf and the buffalo are considered vermin to be eliminated. In the name of profit, our food and water are poisoned. Mountains become polluted piles of rubble, in the wake of reckless mining. Native business has melded into the multi-national corporation, and multi-nationals meld with government. We have sold our identity to the lowest bidder in our race to the bottom, where totalitarianism and all its evils await with open arms. Do the math. Meld business with government, and what do you get? The Kochs and their ilk would do that. Run amok, invasive and reckless cyber security and phone snooping, turning a blind eye to military murder from the air, and disenfranchising minorities are all signs of the growing disease.  The Kochs’ father was so lacking in tolerance, and so poisoned with hatred, he founded the John Birch Society. It continues to foment its ill will. What happens to your quality of life, when a small oligarchy controls everything, when a vicious dictator controls everything? Where have all the flowers gone? Pollution killed them, every one. Seeger sang another epic song; This Land is Your Land. Take it back.



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