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Social Commentary from the C-Suite to Main Street℠

A Blog by Gary Wright II

Berkeley stand fast! Who are the REAL patriots???

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

Berkeley stand fast! Who are the REAL patriots?

A lot of attention has been paid to Berkeley's city council vote that asks Marine recruiters to leave town. This is such a sensitive issue, that both sides are loud and very emotional. But who is right???

Let's break it down:
The Merriam-Webster describes a patriot as someone who loves his or her country and supports its interests. Part of the oath that is taken by our military (and our President) pledges to "be loyal to the United States, it's Constitution, and it's laws....to defend the Constitution and laws of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, either by military, noncombatant, or civilian service."

Let's quickly review:
1. Support US interests
2. Loyal to both US and Constitution
3. Defend the Constitution against ALL enemies foreign AND domestic

Now for the scores:
Berkeley - They support the interests of our nation. We can no longer afford the cost of this war (in cash or in blood). We must look long-term and plan the future of our nation.
Marines - Always faithful. Even to their last breath. Too many soldiers have taken their last breath in both Iraq and Afghanistan. We don't have the resources to continue the mission overseas, and now we no longer have the resources to protect ourselves or our interests.

Berkeley - Invoking free speech rights of 1st amendment.
Marines - Unable to use free speech rights without being portrayed as disloyal.

Berkeley - Defending us against domestic enemies, which should be a higher priority than our foreign enemies.
Marines - Defending us against foreign enemies, but don't have the resources to protect us against the "domestic" enemies who have rapidly eroded all of our rights away. We are defending the rights of foreign countries, while allowing the rights of our own citizens to be stripped away.

So it looks like the final score is Berkeley 3 points vs. Marines 0 points. The young men and women who are serving our country are just faithfully following the orders they receive from the leaders of our military. The current condition and failures of our country is directly related to the lack of leadership at the top.

I am a disabled veteran, so I stay in constant contact with my buddies still serving our country, as well as the friends who have left the service. They are unable to speak freely without fear of retribution. None of them want to be involved with their current mission, but they are being intimidated by their chain of command.

If you pause for a minute, and look at the big picture: The citizens and leaders of Berkeley are being patriotic and are doing what is best for our beloved country.

The men and women serving our country are being patriotic and following the orders that they receive.

The leadership of our military (including the recruiters who lie, bribe, and deceive people into joining the military) and our nation are NOT being patriotic. They are NOT doing the job that they pledged to perform. They are NOT protecting our Constitution or the rights that we hold most dear. They are NOT protecting or doing what is best for those who serve in our military.

The point that makes me most angry: We have rallied together and "surged" our troops. WE HAVE FAILED TO SURGE THE VA AND OTHER AGENCIES WHO MUST TAKE CARE OF OUR TROOPS WHEN THEY GET BACK HOME!!!

It takes months (sometimes years) to transition from active duty to veteran services. Once in the system, it can take months to see a doctor. The staff members are rude and sometimes go out of their way to be very unhelpful. Many of the physicians are not competent and seem irritated when you ask them questions. The rules of the system are complex, and hard to work through. There are very few advocates that are willing to help, and most of those are powerless to make changes.

The focus of our nation should be cleaning up the mess that we created. Those who speak out for justice should be celebrated for their courage, not labeled as traitors. There is no excuse for the condition of the VA, and funding is NOT the problem. You could fire 2/3 of their employees and not even notice a degradation in service.

If you disagree with me on any of these points, I encourage you to visit the veterans and the hospitals to see for yourself. You are also welcome to join me whenever I visit Atlanta's VA medical center.

There is no mission that is more important than the recovery that lies ahead. We must all pull together to fix our nation, remove the current leadership, and set our country on the right path for the future of both us and our children.

Best regards,

-- Gary Wright II

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