Author Review: Andrew Bacevich

In general, most people are working on promoting authors of color, like myself. However, one challenge about this feat is whether people see the stories depicted as calls to action, or entertainment. Throughout history, most advocates have been told to settle for performances, but keep fighting. There has been very little evidence that anyone within the dominant narrative has had the slightest inclination to change, but advocates of color have been repeatedly future faked, and told to enjoy it. Therefore, I have been on a quest to find dominant narrative inhabitants who have demonstrated evolution.

What is funny about Andrew Bacevich is that he referenced Christopher Lasch, and I had been interested in reading The Culture of Narcissism first in 2009, not actually reading it until 2019. Bacevich was a registered conservative, veteran, and literally everything one would think of an older white man who spent his life in academia. After having voted for Reagan twice, he finally looked up and noticed that there was a relentless focus on the Cold War that made no sense. Consequently, much of how the military and other portions of the government were functioning was obsolete. Even campaigns were run as if everything worked like a 1950s sitcom–in other words, delusional. Therefore, after following the dominant narrative for much of his life, he grew tired of reaching back to the past for future goals.

Bacevich himself is surprised by his appeal to alternative political activism. There are two main points that make him an interesting read. First, he has a veteran’s disgust for the war machine. Almost no one who actually fought a war wants to fight another; only people who send people to war enjoy it. One of his main points of contention was how the politicians rushed to invoke images of patriotism when going to other countries to stroke their egos. It was high time for an older academic to acknowledge this, and his detailed description of the delusions was quite liberating.

Secondly, Bacevich takes the politics out of basic commodities. He speaks about how his grandchildren need a better future, and the illogical pricing of housing and food. He is one of the first conservative historians who finally understands that the earth is finite, and there is a limited amount of wealth to extract. Conscious of his previous experience, he is brutally honest about how the current political machines have no new material, leaving a void in good decisions. He describes an evolution of seeing why there were so many problems with the past, especially considering how living a basic life is next to impossible.

Finally, Bacevich discusses how race was excluded from all models within the dominant narrative, making it effectively worthless. He discusses how segregation and discrimination effect the presentation of multiple Black politicians, including Barack Obama and Colin Powell. Moreover, he mentions the political machines’ demand to avoid dealing with race on any level. The word “merit” is never uttered with regard to success, and for a recovering conservative, that says something. He seems to finally understand that everyone has had a different history, and the industrialization of an “American” narrative is a lie.

Does writing a book absolve someone within the dominant narrative? Hardly, and even Bacevich understands the need to evolve. For advocates of color, however, it is far past time someone other than us has a problem with the dominant narrative. After all, if people with minimal resources who are forced to submit are the only ones who see and respond to the problems, nothing will change.

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