to worry more about their bread, their schools, theirnhighways, and their personal safety. Personally, I doubt it. Ifnan American man can no longer earn an income sufficientnto support a family, he can always send his wife out to work,nand if she loses her job, there is always the government tonturn to. Most of the country — workers almost as much asnAFDC mothers — is now made up of dependents, negotiatingnbenefits, planning for retirement, demanding theirnrights. Who ever heard of zombies making a revolution?n”You may say I’m a dreamer,” but I would like to imaginenthere is a sufficient number of Americans who would rathernlive free or die. If the decent elements could take over eithernmajor party or, what is more probable, start their own, whatnwould this new America First Committee be like?nIn domestic affairs, the committee could not improvenmuch upon Doug Wilder’s statement. When Patrick Buchanannmade a similar statement in an America Firstnmanifesto in the Washington Post, his liberal critics askednwhy the people of Nebraska or Alabama should have to footnthe bills for the South Bronx. Presumably, they would rathernspend the money on foreign aid and cannot distinguishnbetween poor Americans and Pakistanis. But there is a betternanswer to this question than nationalism. If Americansnshould put American interests above those of Pakistan, NewnYorkers should take care of New York. To put it in morenfamiliar terms for Governor Wilder, Virginians — notnAmericans in general — should look after the interests ofnVirginia, and the people of Winchester ought to assumenresponsibility for their city. Governor Wilder, who is notnknown for his devotion to Catholic theology, may benunfamiliar with the principle of subsidiarity, but that principle—nin America we used to call it federalism, the oldnfederalism — is the best guide to follow in making politicalnarrangements. Let every competent level of society—nindividual, family, neighborhood, town, county, state, andnnation — manage its own affairs. America First also meansnmy family first, Charleston first, South Carolina first. (Inknow, Charleston lost the war, but we are talking revolution.)nOn the national level, we would expect the federalngovernment to begin performing the important duties it hasnarrogated to itself. The Interstate Highway system is in neednof repair. The Border Patrol needs beefing up. The nationalnparks are being destroyed by the tourists who are turningnthem into RV tracts. On the other hand, when the federalngovernment quits wasting our money on welfare, AIDSnresearch, and the defense of Europe against imaginarynenemies, and when state and local governments are free toncarry out their own projects and policies without the burdennof federal mandates and guidelines, the old federalism mightnbegin to work again. A depressed city like Rockford, Illinois,nmight just be able to spend its own money in taking care ofnits own people. As it is we pay taxes to support Chicagonschools, comfort AIDS pahents in San Francisco, andnprovide arms to Egypt and lavish welfare to Tel Aviv.nGovernor Wilder declares he is not an isolationist. If thatnis true, then his “putting America first” is a hollow gesture.nWe cannot be free or prosperous at home, so long as ournPresidents continue to gratify their vanity with internationalnpower games. It is now a year since we started bombing Iraqnback into the Stone Age, and what do we think we gained bynit? Bush and Baker, it is true, now have a freer hand to carrynout their long-held dream of bringing Israel to heel, butnthose of us who do not harbor ill will against our ally in thenMiddle East will not regard this as a great benefit. ThenShamir government is, admittedly, less than kind in itsntreatment of the Palestinians, and the foreign policy dictatorsnof the only remaining “superpower” must be constantlynirritated by Israel’s refusal to take orders from the nation thatnpays its bills. The proper American response, however,nshould be to cut off the flow of aid, the billions and billionsnof dollars wasted in foreign aid everywhere, not to bully onenof the few successful countries outside Europe.nIf leverage over Israel is the only plus, what are thenminuses? No one dares total up the dollar amount of thenbills. Some economists are saying that the Gulf War costneach American citizen some three hundred fifty dollars. Innmy family of six citizens, that adds up to twenty-onenhundred dollars, but the figure does not include the cost ofnfinancing the debt. I suspect my family’s share will cost outnto five to ten thousand dollars. For that amount, I could takenall six of us for a vacation in some spot a great deal morenpleasant than the Middle East.nHumanitarians will have been horrified by the results ofnthe war, not so much by the slaughter of the Kurds as by thenevidence of what our “surgical” bombing did to the Iraqinpeople. The monster Hussein has repressed liberties, invadedna neighbor, and killed civilians. But after killing thousandsnupon thousands of civilians — men, women, andnchildren — and after destroying Iraq’s ability to feed itself ornlive with even the minimum decency they had achievednbefore the “war,” after all this — and you can look at thenpictures, if you like — we have left the monster Hussein innpower. It still requires threats of a new invasion to force Iraqnto comply with UN resolutions. I wonder, though, hownreadily George Bush or Mr. Shamir would comply withnresolutions that infringed upon the sovereignty of theirncountries.nWhat a country we have become, with our patrioticnsongs and yellow ribbons commemorating somethingnlike a genocidal slaughter of a primitive people whonhappened to get in the way of Mr. Bush’s rhetoric. For thennext four years we will be treating ourselves to encomianupon the triumph of American arms over the barbaricnGermans, who committed war crimes, bombed civilians,nslaughtered the innocent, simply because they were Slavs,nJews, or gypsies. It is good for a nation to remember itsnvictories, and I shall join the celebration, but if we evernthought we were somehow different as a nation, unwilling tonsoil our hands in the blood of empire, that illusion should bendissipated now.nRobinson JefFers thought our entry in World War II wasnsufficient evidence that we had finally completed the leapnfrom republic to empire. His thoughts on Pearl Harbor sumnup the feelings of many decent Americans who served theirncountry without believing Roosevelt’s lies:nThe war that we have carefully for years provokedncatches us unprepared, amazed, and indignant. Ournwarships are shot like sitting ducks and our planesnlike nest-birds, both our coasts ridiculously panicked.nnnDECEMBER 1991/13n