War Horse

Over the holidays I saw “War Horse.” I usually refrain from seeing movies by people like Steven Spielberg, but this one had as its topic, nobility and character against the background of World War I.

It delivered. It was moving, not just regarding the magnificent horse, but in showing the absolute hell that was the Great War. I was privileged to have a grandfather who was a Marine and fought in France. Like all veterans, he didn’t talk about it much.

I remember him sharing that the soldiers drank so much French red wine their tongues got black. How they had to stack frozen dead bodies against a basement wall because there were so many of them to deal with in the extreme winter cold. How it rained continually in the spring and summer so that your body would leave an impression in the mud where you slept like Pompeian volcanic casts. How one captain was so mean his men shot him in the back as he led a charge up a hill.

He talked of Ypres (which he pronounced wipers) and the Somme. His brother saw even more action and was injured, forever after walking with a stiff leg and dying at 49. One of his neighbors was gassed and also succumbed in his 40s.

Since Grandpa was a man who kept detailed records of things I now have his papers, dog tag, complete uniform, a pair of binoculars he got from a dead German and his war time letters. He reflects in one in July 1919 that another war would be coming. Feelings were too raw and too there was too much animosity to have the Treaty of Versailles resolve the war.

So the movie made me appreciate once again the sacrifice of these men.

The next day on Facebook I came upon an entry from two college friends. As good liberals, they both work in academia.

They posted an infographic called Rebuild the Dream. It said, “The 99% Act is the best bill we’ve seen in Washington in a long time. But it can be hard to remember the details or explain them to friends and family. This infographic spells out exactly how the 99% Act will help turn our economy around.

“If you think bills like this in Congress are a good thing, please share this infographic on your facebook wall, twitter account and email it to your friends.”

It continued: “After repeated efforts by conservative Washington politicians to reenact the same failed policies, members of the Congressional Progressives Caucus took action.

“The 99% Act creates 5 million jobs including 12,000 firefighters; 40,000 police officers; 300,000 teachers; 400,000 construction workers, 100,000 child development jobs; 100,000 parks improvement jobs.

It claimed that this would be raised by “fair taxation – returning the top marginal income tax to 49% and that will negotiate Medicare drug prices to save $156 billion, enough to cover 1.3 million seniors on Medicare; add a public option to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) that would save $88 billion. That’s enough for 30 million MRI scans, 1.7 billion measles vaccines and 11 billion flu shots.”

It is such a stupid piece of work it hardly needs comment, but analysts have said that raising taxes on the 1% would only result in $11 billion. That’s not enough to do all these progressives want. And how would that pay for all these new employees? None of them would produce ideas that would grow the economy and the jobs could not be sustained. The commonality in them is they would all be union members of one kind or another, service sector, state or federal. The number of jobs they note don’t amount to a million; what are the other four million going to do? Be bureaucrats?

As for the applications to Obamacare, this is strange. What would we do with a billion measles vaccines or 11 billion flu shots? There are only 300 million plus people in the U.S. I suppose that means we would be social engineering the rest of the world.

Which brings me back to the movie. Did our ancestors lay in trenches, suffer disabilities (my other grandfather lost his sight serving in WWI), give up their youth, starve, freeze, bleed and die so that somebody gets a free flu shot? Has it come to this? Have people forgotten what it means to be free?

In the climactic scene in the movie, the horse valiantly tries to escape his captors and ends up running into No Man’s Land – the battle ground between the trenches. He gets entangled in barbed wire, staggers and falls, unable to get out.

Liberal Spielberg probably wouldn’t see it my way, but isn’t that the state of our country now? We have restricted ourselves with so many rules and regulations that we are unable to flourish. A citizen can’t make a move without encountering some kind of governmental restriction or requirement. Tell me of one activity you do in a day that is untouched by government. You might say prayer, but even that is controlled or even forbidden in certain areas.

A great nation, a great people, face death unless someone comes with cutters and removes this barbed wire from us. In the movie, a Brit and a German braved fire with a white flag to join in the effort. Thoughtful people from both sides are going to have to rise to the occasion and do this.

Right now it only looks like one side gets it.

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