As an early Boomer, I’ve been around for most of the Cold War and the two decades or so of oil and resources wars, along with the religious wars that have followed.
We used to be treated to the annual Red Square spectacle on May Day. The USSR leadership would line the roof of the Lenin Mausoleum, looking suitably grim, as befit those who had sacrificed the most for the Soviet Republics. Their positions on the roof: who stood next to whom, was instantly analyzed by intelligence services and academics. Gradually, assessments would be leaked to the press.
Under the grim gaze of those most equal gentlemen, the Red Army would parade polished troops and regiments of armor, artillery, and troop carriers. They demonstrated their military strength for the outside world.
What was apparent to most people who cared to reason it out was the vast difference between the status of the “narod” (common people) and the “nomenklatura” who sat atop the heap. U.S. commentators employed by the more right wing press never failed to point out the discrepancy between what the basic ideological platform of the USSR called for and that of the U.S., as envisioned by the Founding Fathers.
The Soviet Union is no more. Russia remains a major world power. It is more oligarchy/plutocracy than anything else. Remnants of the Red Army, the KGB, and other former powers within power control military and political facets of Russia.
Today is May Day in the U.S. There will be no military parades to celebrate labor unions, workers, and other items deemed as European socialism by the corporate and political leaders of these United States. Our military is engaged in one major conflict in Afghanistan and Pakistan, trying to remain out of the Iraqi self-destruction, and being shoved closer and closer to the open grave that Syria has dug for itself. The only troops in formal parades are those leading a riderless horse.
In those same two decades that saw Russia’s emergence from the classlessness of Marxism into a viable economy, the U.S. had developed the widest gap between rich and poor it has ever experienced. The ultra rich have co-opted our legislatures at state and national level. They are demanding that Congress dismantle the social safety nets and rewrite the tax codes so that they can become even richer. The Congress denies this; of course. The reality is more and more apparent.
Tomorrow we will be treated to one of the Cold War remnants that should never have been created. This series of changes still has the potential to destroy the 1st amendment.