United States Marines Invade Toledo!
Alert Mayor Saves the Day!Toledo's Mayor Finkbeiner wouldn't let Marines get off a bus in his city earlier this month.
The Marines had planned to conduct a three-day urban patrol exercise downtown, as they had about two years ago. The Marines would have been working out of the Madison Building. Toledo owns the building, and it's mostly vacant.
A city employee, acting on instructions from Mayor Finkbeiner, told them they couldn't get off the buses.
I suppose that the mayor might have let the Marines know they weren't wanted earlier, but he says he was taken by surprise. Although some of Toledo's police officials had known about the Marines' plans for weeks, the mayor apparently didn't know about the exercise until he read about it in the "Toledo Blade."
That's plausible: the police wear uniforms, like soldiers do, and have a paramilitary organization. That could make them very hard for some people to communicate with. Graduates of the sixties who remember their lessons know that only squares hang with the fuzz.
Now Toledo businesses are paying for the mayor's decision. Organizations and businesses outside Toledo are having second thoughts about deals they had been considering.
Mayor Finkbeiner - Defender of Toledo's FeelingsMayor Finkbeiner explained his reasons for refusing to let about 200 Marines practice urban warfare in Toledo.
Essentially, he seems to be afraid of soldiers, and assumes that everyone in Toledo is, too.
Mayor Finkbeiner told the "Toledo Blade:" "No matter how much I respect, love, and appreciate the military, there are better places to conduct military planning and staging sessions than the central business district," establishing a reasonable and conciliatory tone. "I think the military brass would understand and appreciate that."
Then, we get to Mayor Finkbeiner's reason for ordering the Marines out of town. He didn't want what the "Blade" called "a repeat of the last time the Marines' battalion trained downtown in May, 2006."
"I saw the military with guns drawn emulating warfare, and I observed the expressions of citizens who happened to just be coming down the sidewalk that particular Saturday noon in wonderment, asking, 'What have I found myself in the middle of?' " Mayor Finkenbeiner said. "There was a look of wonderment on some people's faces, and there was a look of fear on other people's faces."
Guns + uniforms = fear.
I understand that reaction all to well: I remember the sixties.
Fearful Feelings and Marines in CamouflageNot everyone in the Toledo area share their mayor's feelings, though. According to the "Toledo Blade," A 55-year-old man from West Toledo, Douglas Finch, Sr., couldn't believe the mayors "concerns."
Mr. Finch was there, in May of 2006, when the Marines were downtown with their camouflage and rifles. The sight was grabbed his attention, but it wasn't scary. "We have enough empty buildings here, so why not let them train in one?" Mr. Finch said.
I think the answer is that the Mayor of Toledo is one of a not-inconsiderable number of Americans who
- Don't like war (a reasonable attitude, shared by quite a number of soldiers, I've read)
- Think war is unnecessary (a much more debatable belief)
- Are frightened of soldiers - any soldiers (a regrettable and somewhat pathetic response)
Most people, who grew up in America, have no practical reason for fearing the American military.
It's too bad that several generations have now grown up with a conditioned fear of the warriors who defend them. Particularly since these days, there are people out there that Americans really should be afraid of.
"Finkbeiner taking flak over Marines - Mayor defends his decision to cancel urban war games" "Toledo Blade" (February 10, 2008)
(The source for the quotes and most facts in this post.)
"Don't Blame Us For Berkeley/Toledo Attacks Against Marines Say Businesses"
"NewsBusters" (February 16, 2008)
(The writer argues that Toledo businesses deserve to lose business, since Toledoans elected their gun-shy mayor. Unless Finkbeiner was elected by a landslide, there's a problem with the idea - but that's a topic for someone else's blog.)