So today I feel like I’m channeling Bob as I bristle with outrage but I don’t know what this country is coming to when an elected city official chooses not to even pretend a respect for our veterans. The Mayor of Richmond California doesn’t even hesitate about choosing a protest rally over a memorial ceremony on Veteran’s Day. Sure Veteran’s Day Memorials are not very exciting events with their patriotic music, lots of old geezers and politicians mouthing platitudes but that’s why we have the holiday. Maybe she just wanted to sleep in.
But she didn’t just stay home and sleep in. Mayor attended the Occupy Richmond Protest Rally instead. It is no big deal,the mayor says because she honors veterans on the other 364 days a year .She is apparently so worn out honoring veterans that she needs a break . Besides, she points out, the Occupy Richmond Protest will celebrate veteran Scott Olson who was injured at a recent Occupy Oakland Rally. So she is killing two birds with one stone, celebrating veterans and anarchy at the same time.
So where is Richmond California?
Now I don’t know the town of Richmond very well other than being the last stop on BART (the Bay Area Rapid Transit) and the place where I leave my car when visiting San Francisco. It seems an unremarkable town in a spectacular locale but next time I visit I will be looking more closely. Bay area suburbs are difficult to read because housing costs are so high that high income folks will be living in neighborhoods that look more like lower class areas in the rest of the country. Still is looks tidy and clean with none of the ominous atmosphere of nearby Oakland or the raffish, hippie style of even nearer-by Berkeley. Just another ordinary SF suburb trying to stay respectable. Apparently, however, there is more to Richmond than meets the eye.
McLaughlin is similarly hard to read as well. Her record, at least as recorded in her campaign website is fiscally responsible and socially progressive and her political career has been adept. She is the self-proclaimed highest level elected official of the Green Party. But it looks like the wheels have fallen off her bus with this move which reveals that the reasonable, nuanced progressive mayor is a well camouflaged nut job. Take a look at the Facebook page for the Richmond Rally and then check out the profile for Jose Lopez the organizer. Nothing about this Rally suggests community interest. What it reveals is the philosophy of the organizers which most surely includes the mayor.
Why protest on Veteran’s Day?
First look at the decision to hold the Rally on Veteran’s Day. Surely one of the other 364 days would have worked as well for the Rally but the organizers chose Veteran’s Day. Still, the mayor might have split her attention and attended both but she did not. The reasons are not hard to fathom for a proud progressive and Green Party apparatchik. Unfocused and chaotic as the recent swarm of protest rallies are, one of the common demands is the forgiveness of all debt including the debt incurred by student loans for college. This is a sensitive issue for the Mayor who recently declared bankruptcy to eliminate $100,000 in student loans. The trauma for the Mayor no doubt drew her to the Occupy Movement. Perhaps the personal philosophy of Mr. Lopez as listed on his Facebook page attracted her as well. All you need to know about the Rally you can learn from Mr. Lopez philosophy. “fuck the system . si se puede . i’m from Oakland biiiiitch lol “. Clear and concise!
Back on point.
So, now that I’ve gone all Bob over this California politician, let me try to get back on track. I won’t even try humor today. Veteran’s Day always does that for me because my war was Vietnam. The first and I hope the last war to have the population and its lick spittle politicians go south on their warriors. Not only warriors but drafted warriors. I freely admit that I would not have volunteered for the Army and that I was ambivalent about the mission, but dammit, I served my country when it asked me and for 30 years this country has literally spit upon Vietnam veterans and run from our destiny as leaders of the free world.
So Veteran’s Day always leaves me testy and concerned about the future of this country when our warriors are disrespected and misused in unfocused missions. The President has cut and run from victory to appease his supporters the spiritual children of those who spit on me and my brother warriors. I don’t really care about Mayor McLaughlin and her disrespect for our soldiers. What I do care for is our country. I worry about a future where politicians do not even pretend to respect our veterans and our history. Without our veterans, we would have lost our country long ago. With politicians like Gayle McLaughlin, we won’t have it much longer.