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Enough is enough

by Peary Perry
Peary Perry

Enough is enough…

Have the people in Berkeley, California lost their ever-loving minds?

These misguided individuals have taken to the streets and to the chambers of the city council in an attempt to ban the United States Marine Corp. from having a recruiting office in their city.

A spokesman for the protest group states that “If recruiters choose to stay, they do so as uninvited and unwelcome intruders.”

Say what?

Excuse me while I go throw up, but the last I looked, the Marine Corp. had certain freedoms of speech the same as any group of protestors.

What galls my liver is the fact that the Berkeley City Council actually took a vote and was considering banning the Marine Corp. from having a recruiting office within the city limits of the town.

I do believe that if the Marine Corp. had suggested that some protest group such as Code Pink needed to be restricted or not allowed to operate within the city limits, you would have heard about it on all of the major news networks for weeks and weeks on end.

As it was, I doubt you even knew this was going on at all until I told you.

The protest and outcry was stopped when a couple of Washington lawmakers (Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Senator David Vitter (R-La) introduced a bill called the Semper Fi act of 2008 which essentially cuts the annual $2,300,000 in Federal funds that the University of Berkeley and the city of Berkeley receives each year. After this bill was introduced, the city council backed off of their motion and the issue has died down for the time being.

Not to worry, I’m certain the fair citizens of this town will wait for the next opportune moment to strike again. As one of the organizers stated… “If there are no wars, then there can be no warriors.”

Wonderful. I guess in her opinion it would be perfectly acceptable for all of us to be speaking in German. Why, shame on us… we had no business taking up arms against those Germans back in the forties, they were only interested in expanding their economic base. We should try and reach a peaceful compromise and live together in harmony.

I think a guy named Neville Chamberlain tried this, if you don’t know what happened to him, you need to read up on it.

The mayor of Berkeley, some guy named Tom Bates says he sees nothing wrong with the proposed action. In his mind they are still ‘for’ the marines, and that their city council action should not be interpreted to offend anyone in the armed forces or military.

Typical political statement.

I’m all for free speech, but there is a limit to my patience. I may not agree with the war and all of it’s aspects, but I will never, ever say anything against the men and women who have made the choice to serve in our military.

I recently gave a eulogy for a dear friend of mine who had served in the Army for many years. You might have read my column on him.

In my eulogy I repeated what has come to be called ….the service prayer of remembrance which was written by Father Dennis O’Brien. It goes like this:

It is the Soldier,
not the reporter, who has given us freedom of press.

It is the Soldier,
not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the Soldier,
not the campus organizer, who gives us freedom to demonstrate.

It is the Soldie
who salutes the flag,
who serves beneath the flag,
and whose coffin is draped by the flag,
who allows the protester to burn the flag.

I think the city council, the mayor and the citizens of Berkeley, California need to read what Father O’Brien wrote and think long and hard about it. Think about the abuses of civil rights back in Germany in the 1930’s or in the Soviet Union before it collapsed, you think those folks could stand up and protest and still be alive to tell about it? The sands of Iraq and Iran are filled with the bodies of those who spoke out against the abuses of their government. You think those bodies were the result of the freedom of speech?

I think not. What is a shame to me is that the city council didn’t back down as a result of patriotism or shame for their actions.

No, they backed down when their almighty dollar was threatened to be taken away.

People of strong convictions? Not hardly.

Shame on these people, they have no business calling themselves Americans. No one will need to remind me not to visit any part of this country. I’ll remember on my own, thank you.

I’m using my freedom of speech to make a statement such as this.

© Peary Perry
Letters From North America

February 21, 2008 column
Syndicated weekly in 80 newspapers
Comments go to pperry@austin.rr.com

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