Friday, February 1, 2008

What a Country! Flower Children vs. the U.S. Marines

One of the reasons I like America is that it's a country where people, and communities, are free to make their own decisions. Even if those decisions dive deep into the well of daftness.

Let's make this hypothetical.

Take a fairly run-of-the-mill country: like Venezuela, Burma, or the Democratic Republic of the Congo; or someplace with a more traditional administration, like Saudi Arabia.

Now, imagine that:
  • The country has a capable and proud military corps that's nearly as old as the country
  • One city officially tells this branch of the country's military to take their downtown recruiting office, and get out of town
  • The same city assigns a parking place in front of the office to an antiwar protest group once a week, together with a protest permit
Now, imagine what would happen to that city.

My own guess is that there would be an abrupt and dramatic change in the city's public policy. Probably accompanied by new city administrators. If everything went well for the city's people, there wouldn't be any bloodshed. The old administrators might even be allowed to live out their lives in comparative peace and comfort.

America is different.

Berkeley, that wonderfully wacky city across the Bay from San Francisco, has maintained its reputation as a place unhampered by the world's concerns.

The Berkeley City Council decided that they didn't want those big, rough, Marines recruiting patriotic young Berkelians any more. So, they told the Marine recruiting office downtown to pack up and leave.

A U.S. Senator said, "The First Amendment gives the City of Berkeley the right to be idiotic, but from now on they should do it with their own money." Jim DeMint (Republican, South Carolina) said he'll draft legislation to stop the federal government from taking money from American citizens and giving it to Berkeley for vital projects like:
  • The Berkeley/Albana ferry service
  • Cataloging Congressman Robert Matsui's papers
  • Integrating lessons about wellness, sustainability and nutrition into the school curriculum
What a country! A city with a decades-old reputation of opposing American military policies, and the American military, kicks the Marines out of town.

The consequences?
  • The Marines may decide not to move their office
  • The Marines will not stop defending the Berkeley City Council's right to be silly
  • Berkeley may, possibly, get less money to
    • Get an obscure congressman's papers cataloged
    • Pay for a local ferry
    • Teach Berkeley kids about wellness, sustainability, and nutrition (emphasis mine)
I wonder how many people in Berkeley realize that there's a connection between the Marines recruiting office, and the freedoms they enjoy.
There's more about the Berkeley City Council's decision, in "U.S. Senator Wants to Revoke Funding From City of Berkeley, Calif., for Vote to Boot Marines" FOXNews, February 1, 2008.


davidwwalters said...

i don't live in berkley. If the city council decides to pass a law, well i thought that's what i join'd up to uphold.....representative government & rule of law

Brian H. Gill said...


Thanks for taking time to clarify that.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.