A wartime quest for global markets and the 'liberty'
of others made us all forget domestic policy.
Dissenters went to jail, for they were likely to incite
seditious acts (despite their First Amendment right).
"The war to end all wars" would see another war
in twenty years. And World War 1 would underscore
imperial intentions. Over boundaries
they fought - for markets, influence, and colonies.
For gold and diamonds, said Du Bois, and ivory
and minerals in Africa. "Democracy"
united capital and labor to exploit
a world in darkness, an "abyss of blood." Adroit
the strategy, connecting one's prosperity
to foreign markets gained through war, authority
unquestioned, patriotic citizens, and less
attention on domestic issues like the stress
of class disputes. So when the Lusitania -
transporting war supplies - was sunk, the media
and government began a propaganda surge
to stir the nation with a patriotic urge
while hiding the realities ("all quiet on
the western front"). A curious phenomenon,
the claim of righteous war as tens of thousands seek
deferment from the draft. And, oddly, at the peak
of frenzy for the freedom fight our government
arrests detractors of the war, as their dissent
was called sedition. Debs admitted guilt, was jailed,
as Teddy Roosevelt slurred the Socialists and hailed
the war as noble. The "Defense Society"
and vigilantes and a media decree
opposed resisters, Socialists, and malcontents -
a country thoroughly policed at the expense
of First Amendment freedoms. Now the war was done,
with tens of millions falling victim to the gun,
disease, starvation - all to serve the interests
of money men. As "Johnny Got His Gun" attests
to strains of human torment on the battlefield,
the post-war fears, as Socialists refused to yield,
attest to corporate and government control.
The raids on immigrants and deportations stole
the dreams of innocents. Suspected anarchists
like Sacco and Vanzetti, much like Communists
a generation later, felt the gravity
of disagreeing in the land of liberty.