Mr. President … Tear Down These Barrycades

Never mind … we’ll do it ourselves.

Many of us who couldn’t go to Washington are happy that those who did tore down the Barrycades and dumped them in front of the White House.

Wish I could have been there to help!

Don Johnson – October 2013


7 responses to “Mr. President … Tear Down These Barrycades

  1. Yes, symbolism over substance anytime. Thank God those republicans reopened that memorial, boldly wading into that photo op!

    • Thanks Yawn for your comment.

      Yes indeed, it is about symbolism, and about substance. But not in the manner you infer. It may be difficult for a non-veteran, and a liberal non-veteran as you appear to be, to understand, so let me make an attempt.

      Let me begin by pointing out just how rare, and just how special liberty really is, and this is perhaps at the root of why so many veterans feel as we do about our service.
      It has been estimated that something on the order of 4% of all people who have ever lived at any time, and in any place in this world have lived in a free society … the remainder have lived under the control of one form of despot or another; whether it be a Pharaoh, King, Queen, Emperor or the dictators of modern times in Nazi Germany, the Communist Soviet Union, China, Cambodia and elsewhere around the world, and throughout history.

      Then in 1787 something very new and profound happened. A group of brave American patriots asked the question that perhaps had never been asked before in all of history … can man govern himself? This group of men answered in the affirmative, and created a form of government that was based on the worth and dignity of the individual person; a form of government that declared loudly in its opening words … “We the People … ” A form of government that banished the rule of kings, queens and despots from the shores of America.

      That form of government has been largely successful since 1787, and a large part of that success has been the sacrifice of the many veterans in the many wars since 1787.

      Preserving America as the “shining city on a hill” has enabled many others around the world to share in and expand this 4%, and is at the root of what has made this nation exceptional. Freedom and liberty, and the opportunity to achieve success and a new life is what brought millions to our shores, including my father and my grandparents.

      Liberty is what has made America exceptional, not it’s material wealth .. not it’s natural resources and beauty … not its great literature … not its great inventions. Liberty and opportunity makes America Exceptional.

      I’ve recently talked and broke bread with four who served in the South pacific battles of World War II; four who stepped foot on a small destroyer and spent the next 2 years, 7 months and 4 days at war.

      I’ve talked with and broke bread with sailors who supported GIs and marines in Korea … in the dead of winter where temperatures were 38 degrees bellow zero. I’ve walked those same decks off the coast of North and South Vietnam … there were no inside passageways, and I can only imagine the treachery of walking those icy decks off wintery Korea.

      I served with sailors during the early years of the Vietnam War, and recently had the privilege with reuniting with some of those men.

      I’ve talked with and listened to the stories of the wives left behind as their men went off to war … not knowing when or even if their husbands would return.

      I recently met and talked with a lady at our local YMCA. Janice lost her older brother to Vietnam and years later was instrumental in building a monument to those from our local area who lost their lives there. She knows and shared with me how much a war memorial can mean, even to those who did not go to war.

      So Yawn, memorials can be and are very personal to many people. A picture I did not post was one of a young man with two artificial legs helping to carry a barricade to the White House.

      And there was Sarah Palin speaking on behalf of those tearing down the barricades. Yes she is a political personage, but don’t forget that as Governor of Alaska she was Commander in Chief of the National Guard units of her state … and the mother of a young man who volunteered to go to war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

      What happened on the National Mall was filled with substance … filled with symbolism. Substance and symbolism that I can take great pride in.

      I hope this helps in your understanding of what happened at our national capital this past weekend … I only wish I could have been part of it.

  2. Pingback: A Rational for tearing down the Barrycades | A Yearning for Publius

  3. Even the organizers of the are distancing themselves from the shameful politicking by the politicians:
    “UPDATED: Mon Oct 14, 2013 6:35 PM EST – The political agenda put forth by a local organizer in Washington DC was not in alignment with our message. We feel disheartened that some would seek to hijack the narrative for political gain. The core principle is about all Americans honoring Veterans in a peaceful and apolitical manner. Mr. Cruz, Ms. Palin and some attendees, including political parties may have not been aware of the goals of the marches which took place in over 60+ rallies across the nation. ”

    Yes, memorials are good and important and there is no argument there. I am happy that combinations of private and public dollars build them and I am happy that the park service maintains the ones that are federal. The people have a right to them. And to the national parks and forests and all the myriad programs and services from head start to medical research to roadway construction etc, that their representatives voted to originally fund and now are getting cranky over paying for.

    But sure, whatever. Get all fired up about knocking over some barricades (oops, sorry, barrycades. Forgot we are supposed to clever about the name there). Fight the power! But where is the march to go tell congress to reopen the government and pay their bills? ‘Cause if this keeps up all manner of veterans benefits payments and programs are going to crash, along with everything else.

    • I hope my previous points were well received and understood. These veterans, especially the WWII veterans, often plan these visits well in advance with the help of volunteer groups. Friends from Dallas are part of one of these volunteer groups and in the past year escorted WWII Normandy vets to Normandy to pay respects to fallen comrades (Normandy is also closed). They are also escorts for a group going to the memorials from Dallas, scheduled for the past Friday just after the shutdown. I’m told that the attitude of the vets is to go in whether or not the barricades are there or not, and I have not heard from them since the trip.

      This attitude, I have to believe, is not a partisan political attitude nor are the acts of civil disobedience associated with removing the barricades. The voices of politicians speaking on their behalf are also in my opinion not partisan political, but rather to give voice to the outrage felt by many of the vets.

      The marches you speak of to ‘tell congress to reopen the government and pay their bills’ have been taking place since 2009, mainly in the form of the Tea Party movement. The Tea Party movement sprang up primarily as a reaction to the fiscal and economic extremism of our federal government which places not so distant future generations in great economic peril. Excessive national debt has been a concern since the foundation of our republic, and many back in those days spoke out against the dangers of such debt. Same with the looming problems with programs such as Social Security and Medicare, whose bills will come due some day with predicable very negative consequences.

      There have been some attempts to reform Social Security, most recently by President George W. Bush, but such attempts were rebuffed by a liberal Democratic controlled congress. Since then a few Conservative Republicans, and ‘Tea Party’ republicans in congress are the only ones warning the nation of the dire consequences ahead if this debt situation is not addressed.

      It doesn’t take a sea-going corporal to see the future of what burgeoning debt will bring. We see the consequences in excessive family debt; in cities across the nation in, or facing, bankruptcy; and we see it in countries like Greece, Portugal and Spain; we see it in history as in Great Britain following World war II, and the economic and political collapse of the Soviet Union.

      So yes, we do need marches to open our government and pay our bills. But we need responsible national leaders to tell me and my grandchildren that they are doing their very best to reign in this ever growing national government and the economic burdens it is causing. Instead, what many of us see is an extreme government, out of control and heading all of us to disaster.

      The regulations (to date) associated with Obamacare, for example are a stack approximately eight feet tall, and roughly 30 times the number of words in the actual legislation itself. One thing I learned in my working career is to always try to do the simplest thing that could possible work. I also worked side by side with folks that seemingly went out of their way to make things unnecessarily complex. I also learned that even in the seemingly pristine technical world, that political decisions were often made at the expense of good design or business practice. Such political decisions were invariably bad decisions. I see Obamacare as such, a very large and unnecessarily complex political decision, with potentially disastrous consequences. People are right in questioning and opposing it … their future well being, and the well being of future generations is at stake.

      Lastly, what I see happening, and is illustrated by the sequester and this so called shut-down, is a transition from a Republic form of government with checks and balances (and communication and negotiation between the branches), to a two Party form of government, eventually transitioning to a one party form of government. This scares me!

      We must continually pay attention.

      Thank you for listening.

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