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“Certainly from some Democrats,” said Eyre.
You mean, Republicans, I said.
“Not at all,” said Eyre. “Just the other day the president was saying in Cincinnati—“ he whipped out his iPod and his fingers worked their magic—'I am happy to fight for the middle class. The only warfare I’ve seen is the battle against the middle class for the last ten or 15 years.’”
That’s loose talk?
“I don't know what he was looking at, but it wasn't war,” said Eyre.
I snatched away Eyre's iPod and worked my own magic. Listen to this! I said. Mitt Romney on the Occupy Wall Street crowd—“I think it’s dangerous, this class warfare.” Newt Gingrich on Occupy Wall Street—“The sad thing is that this is the natural product of Obama's class warfare." Herman Cain on ditto. "It's class warfare. Some of them are there because they don't have a job. Yes. But the fact of the matter is, why aren't there jobs? Go and picket the White House."
These are the ones stirring up trouble, I said.
“They're wise men calling it the way they see it,” Eyre retorted.
As he so often does, Eyre dumbfounded me.
“Your problem is, you know no history,” he went on, having observed my jaw go slack with astonishment.
“I think World War II is an interesting case in point. You’re familiar with its origins, of course.”
Somewhat, I said.
“In 1938,” Eyre began, “Hitler sat down with the chancellor of Austria, Kurt von Schuschnigg, to discuss the amalgamation of their two countries. Schuschnigg wasn’t thrilled about the idea. So Hitler popped him into Dachau, the German army marched into Vienna as happy Austrians waved swastikas from the roadsides, and peace reigned. I cannot stress that point emphatically enough. Peace reigned.”
I’m sure I looked perplexed. Eyre continued.
“Later that same year Hitler let it be known he had an interest in the German-speaking regions of Czechoslovakia. The most distinguished statesmen of Europe gathered in Munich to discuss this possibility and it all got sorted out. The German army marched into Czechoslovakia but peace continued to reign. Peace in our time, in fact.”
Eyre gave a rueful shake of his head. What he meant to tell me next would not be pretty.
“A year of peace was enjoyed by one and all. But then the German army marched into Poland. And to the consternation of Europe’s distinguished peacemakers, the Poles resisted. And war began.”
So Poland began World War II! I said.
“I don’t know where else to point the finger,” said Eyre. “It’s hardly an act of war to bully and exploit and dispossess. Such things can all be managed amicably, certainly by civilized sorts, such as those whose dollars befriend the Republican Party.
“But if you fight back—well, I hope you can somehow live with your conscience."