"We don't hate the Marines. We love the Marines. We love them so much we just want them to come home and be safe, where they belong."
That's the head of Code Pink speaking in Berkeley, where presently the battle continues to rage over the Marine Recruiting Center on Shattuck Avenue. Code Pink, along with other citizens of Berkeley, wants the City Council to toss the Marines out of the city. Others find that idea offensive, and now there is some question about federal funding to the city being cut off if the City Council does vote to evict the Marine Recruiting Center. (At least, this is how I understand the issue at hand.)
Well, here in the Bay Area, we don't joke about its being "The People's Republic of Berkeley" for nuffin'.
This fight is, of course, insane. Folks, you may be against the war in Iraq (I know I am), but I'm also all for the values and virtues of the American Constitution. In other words, I'm all for freedom, as long as someone else's freedom isn't smacking into mine. There is no reason I can find that the Marine Recruiting Center doesn't have the right to be where it is. They pay their rent. The Center is also not discriminating against anyone, since anyone may enter or choose to not enter. It's not hurting anyone (Code Pink disingeniusly argues it is: it encourages young men and women to join the military, go to Iraq, and get killed.) But seriously. That is a big leap in logic. Anyone entering can listen and still choose to not enlist. Besides, that whole way of thinking reminds me of "The Grand Inquisitor"--let him save you from yourself. Give up your freedom of choice. If we remove the temptation, you won't be tempted. Leave it to him to make up your mind for you.)
That way of thinking is unamerican, as I see it.
Maybe it would take a 45 year-old lesbian to see through this nonsense. To me it's simple. All I have to do is substitute the words "the gays" for "the Marines" in the first sentence of this post, and add "to God" after the word "home." Having done so, you, too, will hear the condescending self-righteousness of every religious fundamentalist who keeps trying to shape the world to his or her own comfort--in total disregard for how I, or many others, may feel.
It's my hope that one day the extreme Right and the extreme Left will stop playing the "I'm right and no one else is" game and learn that nobody is "RIGHT." We all just need to make room for each other and give each other the respect we all deserve. This battle in Berkeley is an embarrassment to liberals and is a total waste of time, when we should be talking about so many other important matters.