War For Sale

Where I live, there is a yearly festival called Turkey-rama. As soon as you’re done mocking the name, I’ll tell you a little bit about it. Okay, there is always an actual live turkey or two present for the festivities, in a cage, which is kind of sad. One reason it’s sad is that the turkeys must get really nervous having thousands of people walking by them for three days. The other reason it’s sad is because I’m sure they can smell all the cooked turkey drumsticks that are being sold for $12 each not far from the cage.

The celebration isn’t sad, though. The main thoroughfare is blocked off and vendors and artists set up booths to sell their wares. There’s a carnival with rides and games for the kiddies. My favorite thing is that there are three stages set up for musical performances. It gives local musicians a chance to get some public exposure and in some cases, more much-needed practice. Yesterday, I was blown away by a teen-aged Led Zeppelin cover band. The lead singer belted out the lyrics to Dazed and Confused with such vocal power that I think if Robert Plant had been in the audience, he would have clapped.

This morning, I went out for my morning walk and discovered that the event of the day for Turkey-Rama was showcasing old restored cars. There were cars from as far back as the 1930’s–all of them meticulously restored and gleaming. Their owners were parked in folding chairs next to them, accepting compliments and chatting with passers-by. My favorite was the Austin-Healey 3000. When I got to the end of the line of old parked cars, I couldn’t help but notice the military transport semi-tank vehicle with a machine gun on top parked on the street for sale. It turns out that you can buy it for the low price of $35,000.

I know that the U.S. is number one in arms manufacturing and sales. But when did it become acceptable to sell military weaponry at a family-friendly festival? While taking the above picture of it, I concluded that this picture is representative of our whole economy. The fact that militarism has crept into nearly every aspect of our everyday social lives should come as no surprise, yet it still did come as a surprise. Wouldn’t you be surprised to see something like this parked on your street for sale? Can anybody own one? Do you have to get a background check before buying this? Would you have to register it? Would anybody sane even want to own one? Behind the military vehicle is a banner for a local community college. The choice here is clear–education or brute force. I hope we start choosing more wisely.

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