Location: Granite Falls, North Carolina, United States

I'm an ordained United Methodist minister no longer pastoring churches, a former media producer with skills ten years out of date, a writer trying to sell my first novel, and a sales associate keeping body and soul together working for the People's Republic of Corporate America. I'm married to the most wonderful woman in the world, who was my best friend for 17 years before we married.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

On Courage

I was eligible for a ministerial deferment during Vietnam, but I rejected it in order to regiser as a conscientious objector. I was willing to go to jail before I would go into the military. I could have run to Canada, but I didn't. I stayed and registered my protest.

I needed to get that out in order to say what I have on my mind now. The lily-livered cowards that are running this country are destroying what it means to be an American.

Our deserter-in-chief Bush went AWOL from the Air National Guard as soon as they started the drug testing. The power behind the throne Cheney took five different deferments. His oldest daughter was born exactly nine months after it was passed that fathers could be deferred.

Donald Rumsfeld, Karl Rove, Tom DeLay, Dennis Hastert, Rush Limbaugh, George Will--the list goes on and on of those who are thumping their chests most loudly in favor of continuing the obviously failed military policy in Iraq but who never served a day in uniform. But they are full of, "Let's you and him fight."

Chicken Hawks is the term for these people. Now, I didn't serve, either, but I have the courage to step forward and state that I did not support that war, nor do I support this one.

But the Administration, in addition to being a cowardly lot themselves are trying to turn America into a pantywaist nation, shrinking from shadows. Whenever anyone speaks up against the war in Iraq, or against the blatantly illegal and unconstitutional spying program on Americans, or the unconstitutional Patriot Act, or any other unconscionable act, they scream, "9/11!" "They attacked us on 9/11! We've got to root them out!"


If they were so concerned with keeping America safe, they wouldn't neglect port security as badly as they have. They wouldn't play bureaucratic games with Home Security resources.

But look: We're Americans, dammit! We don't give up our precious rights because someone is screaming about a booger-man lurking. We don't stand still for government snoops prying into our personal business. I don't care if there are Al Qaeda cells in the United States. You ain't gonna find them by looking through my library records, nor anywhere else that's none of your business.

We had fifth columnists in America during WWII, but we didn't give up the rights our ancestors died for to try to pretend to root them out. Neither will we stand still, or rather roll over and assume the position because Big Daddy in Washington says, "There out there!"

We as Americans are through putting up with lies. Osama bin Laden went to the Saudi Royal family asking for permission to take out Saddam Hussein. They didn't give him permission. Instead they called in the Americans, and Osama has been chewing around our edges ever since. But he isn't the enemy Germany or Japan was in the 1940s, and he never will be. The Bush Administration dropped its candy when it deserted its hunt for this criminal and went after someone a decade and a half earlier they had been arming and toasting. Furthermore, it was someone George W. Bush himself admitted had nothing to do with 9/11.

But dammit, we're not going to become like Taliban victims, afraid to show our faces in public, afraid to admit our true feelings lest some Federal agency might be listening.

No. We're not cowards like the Bush Administration. We're Americans.



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