Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas My Friend

Merry Christmas to our Armed Forces and Semper Fi to all United States Marines serving around the world to keep us free.

Merry Christmas My Friend

by Marine Lance Corporal James M. Schmidt (1986)

Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone,
In a one bedroom house made of plaster and stone.

I had come down the chimney, with presents to give
and to see just who in this home did live.

As I looked all about, a strange sight I did see,
no tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand.
On the wall hung pictures of a far distant land.

With medals and badges, awards of all kind,
a sobering thought soon came to my mind.
For this house was different, unlike any I'd seen.
This was the home of a U.S. Marine.

I'd heard stories about them, I had to see more,
so I walked down the hall and pushed open the door.
And there he lay sleeping, silent, alone,
Curled up on the floor in his one-bedroom home.

He seemed so gentle, his face so serene,
Not how I pictured a U.S. Marine.
Was this the hero, of whom I’d just read?
Curled up in his poncho, a floor for his bed?

His head was clean-shaven, his weathered face tan.
I soon understood, this was more than a man.
For I realized the families that I saw that night,
owed their lives to these men, who were willing to fight.

Soon around the Nation, the children would play,
And grown-ups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom, each month and all year,
because of Marines like this one lying here.

I couldn’t help wonder how many lay alone,
on a cold Christmas Eve, in a land far from home.
Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye.
I dropped to my knees and I started to cry.

He must have awoken, for I heard a rough voice,
"Santa, don't cry, this life is my choice
I fight for freedom, I don't ask for more.
My life is my God, my country, my Corps."

With that he rolled over, drifted off into sleep,
I couldn't control it, I continued to weep.

I watched him for hours, so silent and still.
I noticed he shivered from the cold night's chill.
So I took off my jacket, the one made of red,
and covered this Marine from his toes to his head.
Then I put on his T-shirt of scarlet and gold,
with an eagle, globe and anchor emblazoned so bold.
And although it barely fit me, I began to swell with pride,
and for one shining moment, I was Marine Corps deep inside.

I didn't want to leave him so quiet in the night,
this guardian of honor so willing to fight.
But half asleep he rolled over, and in a voice clean and pure,
said "Carry on, Santa, it's Christmas Day, all secure."
One look at my watch and I knew he was right,
Merry Christmas my friend, Semper Fi and goodnight.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Face time

Wednesday evening I had the pleasure of tipping a pint of Schell's Snowstorm with thirty or so of some of my closest friends — closest to me politically, anyway — over at O'Gara's Bar and Grill in Saint Paul. Activist Laura Gatz had convened a Christmas party of the conservative social group Red, Right and Brew, providing a great excuse to belly up to the bar and hobnob with my fellow politicos for a few hours.

As I entered the crowded bar area, I greeted fellow blogger Bridget Sutton (Another Everyday Wonderwoman). Blogger (Shot in the Dark) and talk radio host Mitch Berg held court at the "fun table," which is pretty much at whichever table Mitch is currently seated. At one point I was the only one in our little corner of O'Garas who had never hosted a radio show. We opined with former gubernatorial endorsement candidate and current talk radio host Sue Jeffers about the Republican Party of Minnesota's State Central Committee meeting (December 31) to select its next chairman. Mara from the SW Metro Tea Party told us about her group's regular meetings, which include independents, people new to politics, and some Ron Paul supporters.

Dan McGrath of Minnesota Majority discussed with me the recent temporary restraining order blocking the vote ordered by Governor Mark Dayton to unionize the state's home-based childcare providers. Just getting this far has been very expensive, and it will take a lot more to pursue a permanent injunction to stop unionization of and government intrusion into home daycare businesses, which Childcare Freedom says have increased what parents pay for childcare an average of 35% in other states that have unionized independent childcare providers. Please consider a donation of any amount to help. If a only small minority of providers is allowed to vote and it passes, union dues and "fair share" fees (forced union dues from union non-members) will create a war chest that could push union activity to childcare centers next, and parents will be wondering, "How did this happen?"

Anthony Hernandez, who hopes to win the Minnesota Republican endorsement for U.S. Senate and unseat Sen. Amy Klobuchar, stopped by the "fun table" to introduce himself and his fiancée, and discuss his campaign. Hernandez ran unsuccessfully for the state Senate in SD64 (Saint Paul) last year, against an entrenched incumbent and strong DFL presence, but he is convinced that conservatives can find common ground with independents and even some Democrats by communicating in non-ideological, practical terms.

I wish that I had more time to hear Minneapolis-born Lynne Torgerson talk about her bid to unseat Fifth District Congressman Keith Ellison, but fortunately she left a few campaign business cards behind.

Online communication is a wonderful networking tool, but activists need to get face time with each other and do some old fashioned socializing and networking on a regular basis, not just at precinct caucuses and conventions.

The SD45 Republicans do a great job of meeting one Saturday morning every month at a local bagel shop for informal conversation and networking (and make effective use of their website and social media). The Red, Right, and Brew happy hours do a great job of bringing together Republicans and like-minded non-Republicans and independents, and sometimes candidates and elected officials. Tea Party groups across Minnesota are also meeting to discuss politics. Find a group that suits you, and get some face time on a regular basis. Doing so will move you off the bench and into the game, and the entire team will benefit.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Occupy Wall Street is only a prelude to 2012

The future of American political discourse, particularly the 2012 elections, is Occupy Wall Street and the tactics of Saul Alinsky's 1971 book, Rules for Radicals. For example, at a recent campaign appearance, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) was a victim of Alinsky's tactic #13:

Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.

Bachmann, her campaign, and even her staff and supporters going back to her first campaign for the Minnesota state Senate are by now also very familiar with these Alinsky tactics:
  • Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.
  • Keep the pressure on with different tactics, and actions, and utilize all events of the period for your purpose.
  • The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.
The recent "mic check," the "glitter bomb," "penny dump," and the old cream-pie-in-the-face are all examples of these tactics. So are the attack blogs against Bachmann and former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Remember, the Republican Party hasn't even endorsed a candidate yet. These recent actions are just warm-ups. We ain't seen nothin' yet.

For more on how the left and the Obama campaign uses Alinsky's tactics, follow the Alinsky Defeater's Blog.