The Silicon Valley Son

More than one in five jobs in Silicon Valley are tied to one source: The Pentagon

If the caption under this photo doesn’t cause every American concern today, it should. Especially given that the number one cause of the recent rise in homelessness in Silicon Valley and across the nation has been linked to the disparity of our huge spending on “defense” versus homelessness and other social causes to begin with.

Brother, have $1.5 trillion to spare?

Even as far back as 1990, an article was written in Mother Jones Magazine by the son of a Lockheed Martin employee in which he warned of the dangers imposed onto our nation by the global military-industrial complex. The warning was given by his father who had been employed by the huge “defense” manufacturer for over thirty years! Although soul-crushing for him, David Beer’s dad stayed in the job because it paid good money and he was able to pay for all his children’s college education, as well as the beautiful new tract home at the end of a cul-de-sac in Santa Clara.

In David’s own words, “My childhood was the white-bread ideal that Hollywood, with its market in baby-boom nostalgia, now mythologizes so feverishly. Big house with four bedrooms, bridge parties, and station wagon trips to Shopwell. The worst prepubescent fear I recall was the cold swimming lessons.”

But it didn’t come without its crush to his father’s conscience daily. “My father punched a cloak for the military-industrial-complex and to this day I think he’d have been a much happier person had he worked making something beneficial rather than destructive for society. I recall him always saying to me things like, “Be careful son, powerful men cloak their self-serving goals in idealistic rhetoric. Corporations mold workers and manufacture their consent while excluding their dissent.”

His description of what he remembers his dad’s workplace looking like when he dropped him off once when he was seventeen is heartbreaking: ” I watched my dad enter a windowless box with just a number painted in its corner and a forest of electronic antennas twisting from its roof and realized I could never lay eyes on the desk where my own father worked.”

I personally can’t help see the direct parallel of this description to the image of the character in my second novel, Monster Behind the Masks, who carried out the mass shooting in a sleepy upscale cafe overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge; a google glass hanging from his head, earbuds on, toggling between his cell phone and laptop with a military-style weapon hidden in his backpack. Since the military-entertainment center has been linked to America’s mass shootings, should this surprise anyone?

Today, the whole process of this business-as-usual “defense” sector takes place under such strict secrecy yet operating in plain sight, that the creative exchange with the civilian sector is smothered. Our huge military budget steals from our children’s futures, the military sector itself a leech on the rest of the economy. Wouldn’t it be nice to see our dollars go to something like high-speed trains rather than this high-speed disaster?

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