3-27-2005 Is anybody up for a protest?

I ran across this letter published in the Leader this morning and it got me hankering for an answer to her question.

Posted on Sun, Mar. 27, 2005

Events illustrate curious attitudes about what is patriotic

Cadets from area colleges stood in silent support of the military. One of them was quoted as saying, “We are here today just to show that we fully support them in every thing they do.” (Times Leader, March 21) Others in our area expressed grief over the loss of young lives and prayed for family members of both those in the military and of the people of Iraq, for peacemakers everywhere and for peace in the world in a beautiful tribute to Pennsylvania’s Fallen, during the opening of an art exhibit at King’s College which runs through March 30. Still others walked around the square in Wilkes-Barre with signs such as “There is no way to peace; peace is the way” noting that the best way to support our troops is to bring them home. (C.V. March 20) Different approaches to our presence in Iraq. Why is it, I wonder, that the first, a political statement in itself, is, for many, acceptable and considered patriotic, while the second two, also political, are considered unacceptable and even unpatriotic?

Sister Constance Kozel, RSM Dallas

Why is it, I wonder, that the first, a political statement in itself, is, for many, acceptable and considered patriotic, while the second two, also political, are considered unacceptable and even unpatriotic?

On a personal basis, my problem with protestors is that they probably don't have a clue as to what their yammering on and on about. And how could they?

With every single issue that rolls of the assembly line, it's sure to be overly politicized the very second it is offered for public consumption. For every political pundit that claims the Iraqi invasion was the necessary next step in the war on terror, there's another pundit claiming it's the most disasterous move since Coke tinkered with it's secret formula. For every retired general on CNN saying this administration dropped the ball somehow, there's another retired warrior on FOX rebuting such a claim. The fact is, the truth lies somewhere in the middle, and it's next to impossible for average folks like ourselves to discern exactly where that evasive truth lies. And if you're gonna run around in public repeating what you read at MoveOn.org, or citing the "evidence" Michael Moore has produced, I'm here to tell you that despite being involved and well-meaning; you're probably being played like a fool.

And, yes, the possibility exists that I'm being played like a fool, but at least I'm not stupid enough to hit the streets citing "data" from a blowhard like Michael Moore. Sorry, but I put a bit more effort than that into my homework.

Take this Terri Sciavo nightmare.

The following is the lone comment I offered concerning her fate:

Terri Schiavo? I really don't give a flying f**k. Although, I will admit that a husband who devotes his life to killing his wife is a bit worrisome.

The somewhat angry responses to that comment I received were all of a semi-religious nature. How can I take a position of this lady's fate without knowing where the truth of the matter lies? Some say foul play on the part of her husband put this entire debacle in motion. Others say that's total bunkum. Some claim he has been ruthless in denying her a legitimate chance of recovering from her funk. Still others say that early on he went well out of his way to bring wis wife back from where she is at this point. One nurse who attended to her over the years insists that Terri can talk. Others maintain that's she's 100 percent brain dead. A gaggle of doctors are sticking to their claims that she's in a persistent vegetative state, and a slew of other doctors disagree by saying that she's in a minimally vegetative state.

I have no idea what that lady is capable of, or not capable of. And it is for that very reason that I'm not going to join any folks at the vigil. And I'm not gonna paint me a sign for the big protest. Still, plenty of other average folks such as myself, on both ends of the political spectrum seem damn sure that they know what the ultimate outcome should be. As for me, I'm not sure. And that's why I look down my nose at the folks so willing to run outside and start a protest every five days or so. They really can't know where the truth lies, so they should not be yammering on and on in public about anything.

How about this on-going social security battle?

Since I first laid eyes on my Coleco Pong unit, republicans and democrats alike have been predicting that programs untimely demise, and babbling on and on about how to fix it. The one thing they always seemed to agree on was that it had to be retooled sooner rather than later. Then Dubya came along, called it a crisis and proposed a solution. Then the excrement hit the fan. All of it.

Dubya proposed that we as individuals should have some control over those monies and that idea seems to have some merit to me. But I'm not sure after listening to the politicos and pundits reacting as if Dubya had proposed making it legal to snatch one of your neighbors kids and turn them into a meatloaf. And all of a sudden, the folks on the other side of the political aisle from Dubya are claiming that social security is now magically fine for a few more decades. Now there's no reason to fix it sooner rather than later. Now we've got tons of time to fix it because it's not that big of a deal. And with all of that bullspit making the rounds, should I be ready and eager to join some Green Party barnstorming tour?

I'm not sure whether his proposal is the way to go. And I find it amazing that so many other average folks are so cock sure of what to do or not do. For too many, their publicly stated positions probably mirror those of what someone on their side of the political divide had to say. But the sad fact is, one side, or possibly both are not telling us the whole truth due to the partisan politics that seem to pervade every issue no matter how mundane. And with all of that having been said, does anybody wanna meet me at the Fine Arts Fiesta, strip naked, and sprint through the fiesta carrying "Bush lied" signs? Are we that sure of anything anymore when partisan politics seems to be more important than some straight shootin' from the folks supposedly in the knowing of a lot things?

And what about ANWAR?

Has anyone protesting the drilling of that far-flung outpost ever been there? Has anyone all for drilling it ever been there? The last time I checked, the Martz bus company was not offering any bus tours of that barren tract of land.

This issue has been blown out of proportion. And, no, Bush is not trying to destroy the environment as this is certainly not a new idea. Proponents on both sides of this home-grown oil issue have been trying to explore that area for decades. This all started when Jimmy Carter was the top dog and being held hostage by OPEC. What Bush is guilty of is finally getting it done where others before him had tried and failed. And for that, he is painted as (pick an irrational accusation)?

If you know nothing at all about this pristine area, as most average folks don't, how in the heck are you supposed to come to some sort of informed decision on the issue with one side saying it's a no brainer, and the other side saying it's just the next logical step for those that seek to destroy this entire planet? You can't unless you're willing to do some exhaustive homework on your own. And if you have neither the time nor the will to investigate things for yourself, how it is that you might find yourself joining the local protestors out there on the streets? I don't necessarily believe that protests and the protestors that carry them out are "unacceptable and even unpatriotic," what I believe is that they have an agenda based on less than half of the facts.

We are not at the point where urine-powered cars are economically feasible, so why not drill a couple of yards of land in an area known to be sitting on some significant oil reserves? Why not? Because Bush is from Texas? That's foolhearty while the vast majority of military planners spanning the entire globe agree that the bigger military conflicts yet to come will be fought over oil and later water. Eventually, those urine-powered vehicles will be fine-tuned and grab a large part of the automobile market. And then all we'll have to do is stop on the side of the highway to fill the tank while we thumb our noses at the largest of the oil-producing nations.

But in the meantime, producing oil of our own can buy us some time and lessen the chances that we'll be brought to our knees from an economic standpoint. This isn't about protecting a few caribou. It's about safeguarding our national security. But some of us have been whipped into a protesting frenzy without having a firm grasp of the facts.

The fact is, American oil companies (BOO! HISS!) have been harvesting oil from Alaska for decades on end and the State of Alaska has some serious laws in place to protect it's most pristine areas from any environmental degredation at the hands of any oil company. Imagine that. The folks benefiting the most from oil revenues will not allow their state to be plundered by anyone. Who knew? Certainly not those vociferous protestors that didn't get enough attention from mommy and daddy while trying, but failing to grow up.

And if you doubt what I believe to be the truth of the matter, spend and hour or so at ANWAR.org and explore the heck out of that site. And please take the time to plow through the picture gallery that proves that man and nature can co-exist side-by-side.

And the next time some all-knowing college student tells you that Dubya is trying to destroy Alaska, ask them if they realize that Polar Bears prefer to walk on the heated oil pipes rather than the frozen tundra when the mercury dips lower than we've ever known it to.

Is anybody up for a protest?

Luckily for all of you, I'm about out of time for today's bilge-fest. The kiddos are rolling in and we've got quite the feast just about ready to roll out. We're not an overly religious bunch, but any excuse to gather the entire crew means we'll have a Happy Easter. I hope you do too.

And before I turn off this 'spensive 'puter thingie, I must ask the Phillies fans what they think about their chances this year.

A 3rd place finish? Or 4th?

Lemme know.

Have a good one, kiddies.


Happy Easter