April 18, 2009
Tax day. Thats what weve learned to call April 15, but we really know that taxes hit us every day. Its April 15 when those dreaded 1040 are due to the IRS, or itll cost us even more money. Our income is taxed and everything we spend our post-tax income on is taxed again through a complex web of visible and hidden taxes. This April 15 a lot of people assembled all over the country to express their concern about out of control taxes.
While the concept of maybe attending a Tea-Party had interested me for a while, it wasnt until I saw the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report that identified a new type of terrorists–the right-wing terrorist–that I knew I needed to go.
Recently the DHS had said they preferred to call terrorism man-caused disasters and I satirically suggested that terrorists would then be called disaster-engineers in keeping with the kinder words of referring to the most heinous members of the human race. But now I see no restraint in using the T-word.
The report suggests that right-wing extremists are potential terrorists. Those people are described as basically anyone who believe abortion kills babies, or that the 2nd Amendment affirms the right to bear arms, and a group of right-wingers that need particular watching are veterans.
Veterans? What the freedom-snatching kind of conclusion is that? Veterans?
Do they mean those men and woman who have offered up their lives to defend the rest of us–those veterans? The same people, whom on November 11 of each year we have a national holiday to honor their service? Those same honorable heros are supposed to be suspected terrorists? All of them?
Why would anyone suggest that?
Could it be because most Americans hold veterans and the military in high esteem? Could it be that the military and its veterans need to be taken down a notch or two in the public eye before they begin whatever it is that follows out-of-control tax and spending? I dont know. Your guess is as good as mine.
But how could anyone draw a connection between veterans and terrorists?
Well, according the DHS report, veterans have received training that would enable them to do something like Timothy James McVeigh did. Remember him?
McVeigh was the guy that was eventually executed for for the bombing that killed 168 people in the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City. He was a veteran. See the connection yet? Me neither.
He did well as a gunner on a Bradley Fighting Vehicle during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, but then washed out of Special Forces training in December of the same year. After he left the service he failed at everything else. No girlfriend, no job, and followed the gun show circuit selling white-supremacist literature until he completely slid off the deep end. For some reason he thought it was his calling to violently overthrow the US government.
Does that sound like the typical veteran to you?
All veterans reading this column will immediately feel a bit insulted to be compared with McVeigh. For the folks who didnt make the cut to become a veteran, that is because all veterans took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, which is the document that allows our government to legally exist. And since veterans are not released from their oath to God when they are discharged–it means McVeigh violated his oath.
And there were other veterans. What about Oswald? You know, Lee Harvey Oswald. Yeah he was a veteran and he killed Kennedy. You know, John F. Kennedy, who was a veteran. Oh yeah. Hmmm. Maybe not all veterans are terrorists.
Some veterans might actually be productive Americans. Americans like Alan Alda (Army Reserves), Tony Bennett (Army), Jim Blackwood (Air Force), Andy Bloom (Air Force), Johnny Carson (Navy), Ted Duncan (Air Force), Clint Eastwood (Army), Reed Estrada (Air Force), Malcolm Forbes (Army), Jim Johnson (Air Force), Rocky Marciano (Army), Vern Moore (Air Force), Montel Williams (Navy) Dave Thomas (Army), Chuck Norris (Air Force) Bill Cosby (Navy) Drew Carey (Marine), Ben Quintana (Air Force), Bob Goss (Air Force), Britt Larson (Air Force), Doug Barnard (Air Force), Steve Harper (Air Force), Ed Miller (Air Force), James Obsborne (Air Force), John Mitchell (Air Force), John Farese (Air Force), Dudley Woods (Air Force), Mel Bowen (Air Force), Moses Winston (Air Force), Pat Travnicek (Air Force), Paul Hill (Air Force), Scotty Briscoe (Air Force), Shawn Riff (Air Force), Steve Hollis (Air Force), Mark Maryak (Air Force), Donald Davitz (Air Force), even Charles Sutherland (Air Force) … and millions others.
No. Being a veteran did not transform McVeigh into what he became. It must have been something else.
It seems some people can find similarities and proof where they want to find them. For instance, I noticed on McVeighs mug-shot that he was a tall man–over six foot-two. Did you know that his parents were divorced when he was young–only ten years old.
To make the assumption tall men whose parents were divorced when they were young might be terrorists would be stupid. Most readers might have heard of people who fit that description–some of those people hold high-level elected office.
It is just as stupid–no, it is more stupid–to declare someone might be a terrorists because they are a veteran.
As a 32-year veteran, I can tell you with reasonable confidence that the soldiers, sailors, Marines, and Airmen who are protecting you while you sleep tonight are not being taught how to make bombs out of rented trucks, fertilizer and motor-fuel. And as far as I know, there is no program anywhere to train tall men, whose parents were divorced at a young age, to do the same.
Military service to our nation does not produce terrorists.
Of course the Tea-Parties across American were not about the DHS report, they were about a out-of-control tax and spend policy and practice. But isnt it interesting how seemingly unrelated events can produce similar motivations? Anyway, let me tell about the Tea-Party I went to in Bossier City.
Since my taxes were already mailed off to Uncle Sam–after I got off my 10-hour work day on April 15–I headed down to the Bossier City Civic Centers green. Having never attended a demonstration of any sort, I really didnt know what was going to happen. It shouldnt have surprised me that convenient parking was no where to be found as I joined about 5000 small-business owners, working tax-payers, families, and even college students from all around Bossier and Shreveport. They were regular people–white, black, Hispanic, young, old, male, female, tall, and short–who like me, had just finished the working activities of their day and then came out for a couple of hours to show their concern.
In case you didnt make it to a Tea-Party, I posted a few videos on You Tube for you. The links are below.
After assembling, we sang the National Anthem. If you view this 2 minute 18 second video, I think youd agree that everyone there was just regular people. Lots of flags. Seemed more patriotic than anything else.
Following that those assembled recited the Pledge of Allegiance lead by a local 6th grader.
Then State Representative Jane Smith gave the invocation. We all prayed for our elected officials, for our country, along with thanking God for all our blessings.
Many speakers were there to motivate the attendees to lawful pro-active action. One of these speakers was Mr. Royal Alexander, who was defeated in the 2007 general election to District Attorney for the sixth Judicial District. He commented about the illegalities of the government writing checks with no funds to cover them.
The keynote speaker was Congressman John Fleming of the 4th district of Louisiana. He explained some of the reasons the radical tax and spend policies are being passed in Congress.
Since the first round of Tea-Parties have ended, much of the national media has used crude humor and mockery to denigrate the respectable citizens who lawfully assembled that day. How many people are we talking about here?
Nobody really knows, but guesses are everywhere. Somewhere between 15,000 and 20,000 showed up in Atlanta, our group was considerably less, about 5000. Some reports say there were less than 350 Tea-Parties, but that conflicts with data I had seen on one web site, which stated that as of early April 15, there were over 2000 Tea-Parties scheduled. If only half of those actually took place, and if only half as many people as we had in little Bossier City attended each one of them, that would add up to 2.5 million concerned citizens assembled across America.
Thats a lot of people to denigrate.
So is this a one-time fling or the beginning of a movement? And if it is a movement, what is supposed to happen?
This is what I think. We dont need another political party. Americans need to take back the two parties we already have–the Democrat Party and the Republican Party. Those two parties can be used to balance our national policies between the two extremes of our Constitutional Republics existence. We do not need to dissolve into anarchy anymore than we need to be oppressed by a self-serving oligarchy.
Anarchy is the extreme right–no government. Its where everyone does according to what they believe is right. In other words, its a riot with no police. At its worse, it looks a lot like the corner of Florence and Normandy on April 29, 1992.
An oligarchy is the extreme left–a government with all the power invested into a dominant class or party. Its the most common form of government throughout history. Sometimes words like socialist or communists are used to describe them–but at the heart of things–the interests of a small group take priority over everything else. Even a monarchy quickly transforms into an oligarchy, because a king without his army is lost.
The only choices of government-types in the middle of those extremes are a democracy and a republic. A democracy sounds good, but a majority can quickly become a mob if the majority wants something the minority possesses. A republic is what Americans have lived in since the beginning. It is based on law. The Constitution is designed to protect the people by limiting the power of the people operating the government.
That is the reason why some people get very upset when they perceive that some policies and practices may be violating the Constitution. Once the Constitution becomes null and void, our nation will quickly slide into an oligarchy. Which is either where were currently headed or arguably by a few where–weve arrived.
In each of the great oligarchies of the past, the ruling party used the power of swords, bayonets, or guns to take-over the business pursuits of the majority of the people. By controlling the economy and then the physical activity of their subjects–the oligarchies ruling class maintained their power. Today, we call that nationalization. Under the guise of the government’s sovereignty the ruling party takes what they want and does what they deem best with the fruits of the peoples labor. Looking back, it was a bloody mess that simply highlights the evil of their leaders while their subjects suffered. Anybody want to argue that the Communists of the former USSR were good for most people that lived there, or that the Nazis of the Third Reich were well-meaning, or that Khmer Rouge only wanted the best for the people? I didnt think so.
Today, the power of the dollar is being wielded to take-over banks and manufacturers–the business pursuits of the majority of the people. Out-of-control tax and spend policies threaten to undermine the rights of the people. What would our founding fathers have said about this?
At the close of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia on September 18, 1787, an anxious crowd assembled outside awaiting the results. As Benjamin Franklin emerged from the adjourned convention, a woman was reported to have asked him: “Well Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?”
“A republic, if you can keep it” responded Franklin.
Never before has that prophetic statement rang more true. Some of us might argue that in light of the current national policies and plans that seem to be determined to tax the United States into oblivion–its already too late. Maybe if Franklin were alive today, he would say, You have a republic if you can salvage it.
Yes, we can. We can salvage our republic by taking back both of our political parties. In 2010 we can replace every representative who has voted for this madness with people who promise to overturn it. Then if they dont do what they say, we can replace them with new people in 2012. We still have the power of the ballot. As long as our Constitution still stands as the law of land, we can do things in a civilized manner. We’re still citizens and not subjects–at least not yet.
We the People, can do this.
As one sign at the Tea-Party read, You cant fix stupid, but you can vote it out.
It just makes sense.