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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Bitter Irony

I was at the base Exchange on Elmendorf Air Force Base today.

I stopped by after work to pick up a few things.

I followed a guy into the parking lot. He was driving a newer model foreign made SUV. I’d seen this particular vehicle around base before. In fact I’d followed it through the gate last Tuesday morning. Something about the vehicle made it stand out and when I followed it through the gate and I asked the guard whether the person driving it was military or a civilian. She looked confused, then confessed that she had no idea despite the fact that she had examined the driver’s ID and, supposedly, glanced at the driver not more the fifteen seconds before and despite that fact that it is her job to notice such things, guarding as she is one of America’s military bases – just another reason why, in my military opinion, we should have Marines at the gate and not half assed, don’t give a shit, ten-sandwich eating out of shape rent-a-cops, but then nobody asked me.

Why did I ask about this vehicle? What caught my eye and made it stand out? Why would I care if the driver was military or a civilian?

It was the bumper stickers.

One said “It’s an Obamanation!”

Now you could take that a number of ways. I’ve seen the term “Obamanation” used by both pro-Obama and vehemently anti-Obama people.

However, the other bumper sticker cleared up any ambiguity. It said simply: “Fuck Obama.”

The reason I wondered if the driver was military or civilian was that if the driver was military, he was in gross violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice – specifically Article 88, Contempt Towards Officials.

If he was military, I fully intended to give his First Shirt a call and have him straightened out. He’s welcome to think what he likes, he’s not allowed to express such sentiments regarding the Commander In Chief. Period. Don’t like it? Don’t join the military. Don’t swear the oath. When you hold up your right hand you agree to abide by the law, rules, and regulations of the military, which includes certain limitations on your freedoms. Either your word is good or it’s not. And if it’s not, you are accountable. Period.

If he was a civilian, well that’s a whole other ball of wax – and not much I could do about it.

Tuesday I didn’t have time to run him down and find out.

But today I ran into him in the parking lot of the base exchange.

I parked next to him.

He was a civilian.

Some type of contractor, a construction type, I gathered from his apparel. Probably one of the yahoos constructing the new F-22 hangers, if I had to guess.

He caught me looking at the bumper stickers.

“You really think that’s appropriate on a military base?” I asked.

“How so? I have a right to say what I think!”

“Not saying you don’t. But do you think that’s appropriate given that he’s is the Commander In Chief?”

“He’s not the CINC, he’s nothing but a usurper (he pronounced it “err-serper”). It’s a damned disgrace, what he’s doing to this country,” he said angrily.

Ah, a birther I guessed (but kept to myself, really didn’t feel like dealing with the fanatical crazies today).

As I started to walk away he said, “The sooner the military tosses him out the better. We need to take back America.”

The sooner the military tosses him out…?

Oh Christ on a crutch, not only a birther, but a revolutionary.

“Don’t hold your breath,” I told him.

He snorted in agreement – I don’t think he caught that my sarcasm was directed at him, and not the supposed dithering forces of righteous revolution.

Somebody has been watching way too much Glenn Beck.

And like Beck, they are neither capable of critical thought, nor understanding America’s military.

Beck, of course, in addition to his own acidic vomitus, was regurgitating columnist John Perry who penned a rightwing extremist screed in Newsmax calling for a resolution to the “Obama Problem.”

Will the day come when patriotic general and flag officers sit down with the president, or with those who control him, and work out the national equivalent of a "family intervention," with some form of limited, shared responsibility?

Imagine a bloodless coup to restore and defend the Constitution through an interim administration that would do the serious business of governing and defending the nation. Skilled, military-trained, nation-builders would replace accountability-challenged, radical-left commissars. Having bonded with his twin teleprompters, the president would be detailed for ceremonial speech-making.

Military intervention is what Obama's exponentially accelerating agenda for "fundamental change" toward a Marxist state is inviting upon America. A coup is not an ideal option, but Obama's radical ideal is not acceptable or reversible.

I’d give you a link to the original story, but the post has been taken down. Apparently calling for revolution and military juntas in the US are just a little far beyond the pale for even a rightwing blowhole like NewsMax. A PDF copy of the original post, however, is available here.

Beck and Perry weren’t the only ones calling for a military led revolution, Jim Quinn from The War Room with Quinn & Rose on Clear Channel called on troops to “run for your life, get out, this guy [Obama} is going to get you killed.” He went on to say, " Discussing health care reform, you have got to say no to this, and if they push this through, you need to riot in the streets. You need to riot in the streets. Our country was built on revolution and it's about time we took it back.”

Michael Savage of the Savage Nation keeps talking about revolution, “We're going to have a revolution in this country.” Savage is particularly concerned about how “the white male” is being discriminated against in America. (I shit you not, it’s a common theme with Savage, how Da Man is keeping Whitey down. Retch).

Hell, even kicked in the head one too many times Chuck Norris jumped up on the revolutionary bandwagon, “How much more will Americans take? When will enough be enough? And, when that time comes, will our leaders finally listen or will history need to record a second American Revolution? We the people have the authority according to America's Declaration of Independence." (Chuck is not real clear on the difference between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and which one forms the basis of law in this country and which one is little more than an interesting historical document. He also doesn’t seem to grasp that a majority of we the people elected the current President.)

Hannity, Limbaugh, Beck, Savage, Quinn, my friend in the parking lot – all of them have watched one too many of Chuck’s movies, I suspect, where countries are overthrown, the girl bedded, and democracy triumphant in a flurry of mano e mano fisticuffs in just under 90 minutes.

But see, reality isn’t a Chuck Norris movie. And the military is nothing like Hollywood.

We swear our oath to the Constitution of the United States and to obey the orders of the President. Quinn, Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, and Savage have no idea what that means. But Norris served in the military, the Air Force to be precise – hell, that’s where he learned to fight. He was the Air Force’s Veteran of the Year in 2001. He really ought to know better.

Monday, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates summed up the American military’s role very, very precisely. He said, (I’m paraphrasing here) our job is to give the President the very best advice we can. But once the decision is made, our job is to carry out his orders. Period.

And that’s it exactly.

Our job is to advise the President to the best of our abilities, experience, knowledge, and training in military matters. But once the President gives the order, whether we agree with it or not, our job is to march forward smartly. Period.

Anyone who has taken the oath should damned well know that.

It’s ironic that these super patriots, these men who think they are the only true Americans – Limbaugh, Beck, Quinn, Savage, Norris, and their followers – would advocate a military coup in this country in order to overthrow the duly elected, democratically elected, majority elected President. It’s ironic that these so-called patriots would turn the United States into nothing more than some third world shithole where monthly revolutions and military juntas are a way of life – all while beating the drum of American patriotism. It’s ironic that they would wave the American flag and a copy of the Constitution while advocating deposing a president they call a communist and a Marxist and a dictator in order to bypass the Constitutionally designated electoral process and install their own leader – exactly the same way the dictator Saddam Hussein came to power, exactly the way the Communist Joseph Stalin came to power, exactly the same way the Marxist Fidel Castro came to power.

It’s ironic that these men who wave the Constitution as a rallying cry seem not to have actually read it – otherwise they’d be familiar with the constitutional process for removing a president from office. (Hint: It doesn’t involve a military coup). Or maybe they have, and realize that they have no grounds for their claim, leaving only revolution to get their way and impose their will on the American people – that’s not irony, that’s hypocrisy, but I digress. Again.

And it’s ironic that they would call upon us military folks to uphold our oath to the Constitution, when they clearly have so little respect for it themselves, and even less respect for honor, moral courage, and duty.

And it’s just plain pitifully ironic that the Grand Old Party of the Republic has been reduced to this.

19 comments:

  1. Ironic.

    That's not the first thing that comes to my mind when I consider these things. And I know your vocabulary is larger than mine, so I commend your self-restraint.

    It will be entertaining to see the spin given to a Nobel Peace Prize, don't you think?

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  2. Jim

    It doesn't matter that it is Obama, Clinton inspired similar lunacy. The block my wife was raised on in Westchester held an impromptu cocktail party in 45 to celebrate the death of FDR.

    I never heard my father utter a kind word about FDR and my father volunteered in late 41 or very early 42, with wife and child.

    There seems to be a small core on the right which honestly believes that a Democrat (or anyone much to their left) has no right to be President and the removal of such a person is a Constitutional necessity. I suspect that 3 of the Justices hold that position.

    Education would seem to be an answer, but it must be done young, and much of the country doesn't want education. It literally is against their religion.

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  3. What's a bit frightening to contemplate, and at the core of the fundamental irresponsibility of the demagogues, is that there's the off-chance some of those listeners might finally act under the mistaken opinion that there's any real support for them, that all the revolution needs is one good match and it will take fire. The fact is that any armed gang of "revolutionaries" would be treated as an armed gang by law enforcement and, if need be, by the armed forces.

    Another Civil War simply isn't going to occur. That might not keep some people from dying over an attempt to start one.

    The other thing that's striking about the amateur revolutionaries set is that they clearly loathe and distrust democracy and don't know it. As bad as things were getting under Bush, I had little doubt with my naive faith in our culture that things would be set aright during the next election cycle or fixed by the judiciary--that our institutions would right themselves and adjust as they always have and are supposed to. The genius of American democracy, after all, is that it's supposed to make armed revolutions unnecessary by regularly scheduling peaceful ones at predictable intervals. It's both baffling and offensive, frankly, that people who are opposed to President Obama aren't American enough to trust our system to poke its way through regardless of whatever real or imagined missteps may briefly occur along the way. On the whole, after all, those institutions have done reasonably well since 1868.

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  4. I was in the Y locker room yesterday when, from the next aisle of lockers, I hear "Well, the man is a joke. If he had any real power he would have known that he was getting the Olympics before he got on the plane. He's just an embarrassment."

    Rapidly followed by "But at least he's preventing us from having race revolution in the streets. I just don't know who can come in and clean up the mess after this."

    So I went around the corner and there's one guy, far side of middle-age, talking to himself. Loudly. Still, shocked me: I have apparently too little imagination to share the world-view. Suggestions for a sane commentary that would help in such understanding would be very welcome.

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  5. The Nobel Peace Prize is just going to increase the froth level. Proof, to some, that "he" is in league with those dastardly Eur-o-pee-an socialists.

    Sigh.

    Dr. Phil

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  6. The funny part of that, Dr. Phil, being that just yesterday The Frothy Ones were going on and on about how Chicago's failure to secure an Olympics bid was proof that Obama's "celebrity" staus in Europe was on a slide, etc., ad nauseum. So I guess, speaking mathematically, Europe's love of Obama can be quantified as sufficient for a Nobel Peace Prize but insufficient for an Olympic Games? I was never sure how those things might relate (it had never even crossed my mind, actually), but I guess now we know.

    Now if we can just find out what Mr. Obama has to do for a Klondike Bar.

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  7. Jim –

    First and foremost I love the blog. Given that I was taught well in my military career, namely by you and a few others, and I still hold the title of Chief in the Navy Reserve I have to practice restraint on some of your topics that I wish to comment on. Unfortunately, the issue that started this thread is rampant here in the DC area; you would be surprised how many military personnel, officer and enlisted alike, have derogatory political bumper stickers on their vehicles.

    Just last week I ran in to a PO3 with a “pro-god, pro-gun, anti-obama” bumper sticker on his vehicle. I actually requested that he repeat the oath of enlistment and when he reached the “I will obey the orders of the President of the United States” portion I then requested that he removed the bumper sticker.

    The irony, whether it is with the political talking heads or one of our own seems to know no bounds.

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  8. Craig B, that's just ridiculous. And Jim too. I work for the civilian government, and we're not allowed to put political bumperstickers on our cars if we want to park them at work. Even leaving aside oaths and such (which those who swore them should never do), partisan political *anything* is not allowed on Federal property.

    (Civilian feds swear an oath too, but it's to protect and defend the Constitution, not obey any particular office.)

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  9. Well, CraigB's comment just made my day. You have my respect sir, even if you may think you were "only doing your duty" - it's the fact that said duty was done and done fairly that engenders my respect.

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  10. Bravo, sir. What I find sad/funny/pathetic is that the same things the liberals complained about during the Bush years, the conservatives are complaining about now, with no sense of irony.

    I guess it's "reassuring" the right-wing has rediscovered that it's their patriotic duty to question the president, even though a year ago, questioning the president meant you were a traitor.

    It is scary, though, the level of invective and hatred currently being shown.

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  11. I've seen you lurking around these last few weeks, Craig. I wondered when you were going to comment.

    Craig is one the best Sailors I ever had the privilage of working with. His actions are by no means out of the ordinary for a Chief Petty Officer. Which is why I laugh when I hear people like Beck call for revolution. If Beck and the rest had any idea of the degree of insult they've levied on the US military with this bullshit, they'd be in fear of they own lives.

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  12. Thanks Jim.

    I've been reading some old post just getting a feel for the place. I kind of like it around here. You will definitely see more post from me.

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  13. I worked for the liberal media for 34 years. We were activeily discouraged from any political speech, what so ever, beyond registering to vote and voting.

    No bumper stickers, no signs on lawns, no attendance other than work related at a politicl event. No opinion at such events.

    But because we insisted on telling people what happened and what was important, in the opinon of a handful of people mostly men, instead of telling people what they wanted. We got labeled the LIBERAL MEDIA.

    I suspect, even though it is an AFB and they are weird, that there is a post regulation on such bumper stickers. There was at Ft. Monmouth in 68, I had to take my brother's McGovern sticker off the car to pass inspection. I don't even think a F-ck McGovern would have been allowed. Take a camera with you next time. Post such photo here, somebody will carry the water.

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  14. Have I mentioned I don't have cable? (I disconnected it years ago when I was going to be out of town for a few months and never missed it when I got back.) Anyway, without cable, I don't get Fox. And I never listen to the radio except when I'm in the car. So my exposure to the more foamy conservatives is a little limited. (I'm happier that way.)

    The other day, I was flipping around the AM dial and listened to Savage for the first time in over a year. HOLY CRAP, that guy and his fans are some scary MoFos. Did you know his show has an offical handgun? I'm not sure about how that goes over in the rest of the country, but here in NYC, it just comes off batshit crazy.

    Also, I'd be surprised if a car with bumper stickers advocating Jihad would be welcome on a military base...on a military or civilian car. I have to wonder why a civilian is welcome to promote revolution there. What happens if I show up at Ft. Benning with a bumper sticker that says "Fuck the Army"? (Not that I'm going to try that little experiment any time soon.)

    :D

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  15. I worked for the Judiciary for a few years, and while I don't recall the exact details, I'm comfortably certain we weren't supposed to publicly be political if there could be any connection to our employment. I think bumper stickers on cars parked at work would have been out, yes.

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  16. re: Beck (et al) and their relationship to the military.

    "Wait till Otis sees us! He loves us!"

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  17. Bawahahaha. Great quote, Steve. Spot on.

    Welcome back from VP, BTW. Now, go write something and win the Cambell, will you?

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  18. Jim, your description of events there makes my heart sing.

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