December 17, 2008

A very long way to make a point

There is a low long black wall on the Mall in our nation's Capitol that lists the names of the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice in Southeast Asia. Over 50,000 names are inscribed on that Wall. The war in Vietnam raged while I was young boy. I was 13 when Saigon fell. I know people that served in this time, but none of my relatives died for their country in the jungles or mountains fighting the spread of insidious Communism.

For most families of the 1960's, our daily lives were not changed by the war. It was five minutes on the evening news. Contrary to popular belief, only a minority of college students were actively marching on Chicago or planning to bomb the Pentagon in cahoots with William Ayres. The only time the War really intruded into the lives of ordinary Americans was when a neighbor lost a son, or when Cronkite lied about Tet. If we look at our families in the time of the Civil War we would see a much different effect on everyday life.

There was hardly a family that did not have at least a son, a brother, a father or uncle serving in one of the Armies. There was real hardship and suffering on the home front. Foodstuffs were scarce, especially in the South. The toll on the young men who fought in the four years of war was huge. Over 500,000 men died. An estimated 1/4 of the youth of the Southern States died. A generation destroyed. The carnage was exceptional. 53,000 at Gettysburg. 27,000 at Antietam. 6,000 Federal soldiers were casualties in just hours at Marye's Heights in the assault on Fredricksburg. The Battles of the Civil War are now legend. Bull Run, The Seven Days, Shiloh, Perryville, Vicksburg, Antietam, Vicksburg, Gettysburg, Chicamauga, Missionary Ridge, Cold Harbor, The Wilderness, Atlanta, Nashville, Petersburg and Appomattox recall death and destruction the likes our country has not seen since.

To put it into perspective, if the casualty rates for the Civil War had been duplicated in WWII, the US would have lost 6.2 MILLION soldiers! Think on that.

Now ponder this. In the effort to distribute wealth, to elevate the working class, to make sure every citizen was guaranteed equal success (as opposed to opportunity), Lenin and Stalin killed an estimated 20 million Russians. It is estimated Mao murdered an even greater number. When Hillary Clinton and Obama describe themselves as Early Twentieth Century Progressives, these are the people they are trying to emulate.

You should sit down and seriously think about your freedoms. Is the America where the Government tries to force you to drink a certain kind of soda a country of Freedom? Is this what our families suffered and died for in the hills of Tennessee or the jungles of the Mekong Delta? Did your grandfather live through the trenches of Petersburg or France to see a nanny state usurp your rights without a fight? The next time you drop your vote into the ballot box you should see just what your candidate means when he boasts a progressive platform. Hope and Change just might not be the future you thought it was.

Maybe I should make this more simple. The Sons of Liberty threw tea into Boston Harbor over a 5% tax. Where are the howls of outrage in New York as the Governor tries to impose a 15% tax on a soft drink? Is this what we have become in America? Why isn't there an immediate call for impeachment?

Are we going to stand by as the President Elect proclaims he will destroy the one source of abundant energy in the country, promising your heating bills will skyrocket? I can only pray our ancestors who died for the freedoms of all Americans are not in the jury when we come before judgment.

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