Commentary: Why surrender to a system that has failed?

The July 12th Hillary/Bernie coming-together performance in Portsmouth, an effort to imprint America with thoroughly collectivist ideals and programs, gave this Cold War veteran (28 years of military and diplomatic service) serious pause. Clinton and Sanders stand for everything my colleagues and I struggled against. Thousands of them, in Korea and Vietnam, even lost their lives.

I am seeing the debasement of the individual and of his work ethic, of the meritocracy in which we believed. Suddenly, “merit” is not defined by individual sacrifice, dedication and accomplishment; rather, it is now associated with thought and conscience, with an individual’s class and racial alignments. In fact, this new merit is becoming the basis for institutional admission and advancement, whether governmental or private.

And “justice” no longer rewards the meretricious merit of old, but demands the tearing down of whatever and whomever stands in the way of Bernie’s “total economic and social transformation,” i.e., stands in the way leveling. We now have, in fact, racial and class warfare carried on – for now – under peaceful guises.

And the hypocrisy is breathtaking. Bernie speaks of dismantling the 1 percent, the super rich. But the woman he endorses to seize and distribute this loot is herself an impeccable 1 percenter, one with an array of dwellings, past and present, to rival the splendors of Araby! And you may be sure that whatever economic transformations Hillary would cause, she will have lawyered well in order to shelter her assets.

In other words, why must a socially and economically transformative President Clinton sacrifice one wit?  Here I’m reminded of the memorable answer Cypriot Communist Party Chief Papaioannou gave to teen-aged Holly, our crack State Department intern. Holly asked why he, the representative of the island’s poor, had such a fabulous collection of antique cars! Papaioannou: “Holly, why should I suffer for my beliefs?”

Of course, the confiscatory and transformative focus will not linger on the 1 percent; the enormous ambitions of progressive programs demand that state mining descends as far as possible down the income chain. Forget the oft-heard Democrat regret that middle class existence is endangered. That’s phony. Classlessness and leveling are the goals of the Sanders/Clinton “total transformation.” So, behold the shape of future frustration: “You know, the harder I work, the more I seem to fall behind!” That’s a lament I heard throughout my Cold War venturing.

So, to return to the quandary of our Cold War veterans (a group, by the way, that excludes the likes of the Clintons and the Sanders), the question arises: why would the United States surrender to the socialist systems it had fought successfully for so long … systems that failed into economic and social collapse and continue to fail today … systems that promote their own 1 percenters, whose leveling goals were achieved and maintained by mass killings and by threats to continue the same? I mean, if the progressive ideals and programs spinning from the Democratic presidential campaign should gain the American imprimatur in November, would it mean that we, the Cold War veterans, had fought for nothing, were on the wrong side of history?

Richard Hoover, a retired Foreign Service officer, resides in southern Warren County.