Jelly, jelly so fine

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Other Side

Bye and large, I don't hang around with liberals. Oh, there's a few, but I live in a conservative town and most of my friends happen to be Republican. I have been drinking coffee every morning with the same bunch of rednecks for about 20 years and I am the resident pinko. I like regular people. I like dive coffee - hate starbucks. I am welcome at the local VFW and have often times gone there and had spirited debate. I get creeped out in places like Berkeley. I drink at the Moose lodge, a beer and a shot place with pickled eggs on the bar and a lot of marines and ex marines on the stools. Oh ya, there's no such thing as an ex marine, sorry! And I love these people. They don't agree with me very often but we have a free exchange of ideas and we respectfully plead our cases without any threats of asskicking.

I also get a lot of active marines coming into my shop. I live near the back gate of Camp Pendleton, the largest marine base in the country. Most of the local marines are in Afghanistan now. I always treat them with utmost kindness and respect and try to draw out their views. 90% of the grunts I talk to want out. They have had enough. Few will reenlist, for various reasons.

I was talking to a former marine with five tours of Iraq served the other day. His name is Stretch. He is a guy who did his job and didn't ask a lot of questions. Stretch said that one of the things that pisses him off is the media. He said that he delivered school supplies and medicine around Basra and he comes back and no one talks about the good things we are trying to do over there. He says that the news media will broadcast something bad and it will have actually happened months before and many of the news reports have become totally sensationalized. And I can feel for the guy. Soldiers go over there and do their job and take pride in that job. They don't want the loss of life to be in vain. They want to be part of something noble and positive.

But I also think that there is a macho factor involved and it is getting played out in Washington right now. Warriors never want to give up and have become accustomed and bred to not challenge authority. They are patriotic people who leave policy questions to the higher-ups. Petraeus says that we can't risk drawing down and losing our hard fought gains. And this sort of thinking, against this sort of enemy, without a clear definition of a win, spells quagmire. Forever.

But god bless the poor guys in the trenches.


Anonymous said...

Robert, everyone in our small town knows you are a pinko. You're views of our country are contrary and confusing. Do you like it or not? Seems like everything about our land is wrong in your mind. You are a capitalist just like every other merchant in the Fallbrook.
I'm tired of hearing you bitch about our freedom and I'm tired of you silly blogs. I have heard the same old rhetoric from you over breakfast for the past twenty years and nothing has changed. I myself understand you (but do not agree with your left wing politics)[but] There are many in this town who wish you would shut up your piehole. This is my final comment to you. Our soldiers are fighting and dying for your Freedom. Is this blogging the best you can do? make fun of them with free speech?

Blue Heron said...

Hey Anonymous,

Thanks for your response. I don't think that the soldiers in Iraq are fighting for my freedom. I disagree with you. The wrongheaded policies of this administration are endangering my freedom by pissing off a very lunatic culture. Iraq had nothing to do with Bin Ladin! But we have a huge new population of potential terrorists who have been inflamed by our occupation of their country. I am not making fun of anybody (except those who blindly accept the party line and who have decided to stop thinking.)

Blue Heron said...

See how loved I am by the native population!

Anonymous said...

There are those conservatives who I can and do relate to politically and socially-and those I can't. It's getting harder to be civil. The saddest part is that many people with whom I am becoming more and more politically estranged are perfectly nice people; except for their uncontrollable urge to vote for corrupt power mongers, many are otherwise charitable, caring and productive.

Calling us generally left of center unpatriotic is the most simpleminded and misguided criticism one can imagine. Does an art critic need to fawn over every piece of drivel spit out by the blind, uncoordinated, self indulgent, and/or intellectually lazy to be an "art lover?" Do we have to accept what our government does hook line and sinker to be patriotic? Did anyone ever re read Jefferson- you know those uninteresting parts challenging (to put it mildly) the right of imperialistic or otherwise wrongheaded governments' authority to rule and the citizen's duty to sit there and accept this treatment in silence? Such a silent view is a violation of both Plato's and Jefferson's view of citizenship as I understand it. Unfortunately, this unchallenging view of government goes hand in hand with an similar unquestioning view of G-- another point on which many of us differ. That's for another diatribe.

Where it gets even more confusing to those of us who are patriotic but not necessarily content is that today's version of the hard right has endorsed a cynical political enterprise that packages the most onerous, discriminatory elitist economic policy with social and security policies that emphasize a big brother style intervention into the bedrooms, and communications I thought to be the cornerstone of the Bill of Rights but yet that appeal to those wanting to "harken back to the good old days." . How can a strict constructionist reconcile "freedom of association" much less "pursuit of happiness" with the greatest hits of our Administration's wrongheadedness, including high tech eavesdropping, torture, a budget relying on government borrowing to bail out and favored corporate interests, and public disclosure of private medical procedures?

The purest form of "liberty" is shared by the hardest of the right and the bluest of the hard left. Keep the government out of my personal life- and provide equal opportunity and protection under the law.

Anonymous said...

What is your point? Could you please speak English?