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Editorial: White House pettiness will not soon be forgotten
Guest EditorialOctober 9, 2013 | 1,672 views | 1 comment
By Patrick Dorinson
They grew up in the Great Depression. As young men they went to war. They fought in far-off places with names they had never heard of before and places they had only read about in a geography book. Guadalcanal, Anzio, Iwo Jima, Normandy, and Bastogne are names now burned into their fading memories.
Those who came home returned to the cheers of a grateful nation. Those who didn’t lie in peace where they fell in battle. Row upon row of white marble crosses and Stars of David from France to the Philippines serve as testament to their sacrifice and mark the long road that ended in ultimate victory.
When the war was won, they shed their uniforms and without hesitation joined their fellow citizens who worked on the home front providing the tools that achieved that victory and together they began building America once again. They waited for many years to see a memorial built in their honor. And as they entered their twilight years it finally became a reality. It is now one of the most visited memorials in Washington.
When the government shut down on Tuesday, the World War II Memorial was closed. When a group of World War II veterans arrived, many in wheelchairs and others slowed by the years, they were told they could not enter this sacred ground -- ground that they had already paid for more than 70 years ago on countless battlefields around the globe.
They knew the government might close when they embarked on their journey and they asked the White House for special permission to visit the memorial. They were denied. But just as they stormed Omaha Beach and Iwo Jima under merciless fire, they would not be denied their right to see this memorial in what for many might be their first and only time. In their act of civil disobedience they achieved one final victory before they pass into history. Somewhere in the corners of heaven reserved for heroes, their comrades are smiling their approval.
The denial and closure were petty acts by a petty and vindictive president and his minions. By the end of the week the temporary barricades had been wired shut.
But it didn’t end there.
While Camp David, the presidential retreat in the Catoctin Mountains of western Maryland, would remain open, broadcasts of NFL football and Major League baseball games would not be available to the troops defending America in lonely outposts around the world. The grocery stores on military bases were closed, creating added burdens for military families. What kind of commander-in-chief treats the troops that way?
The administration sent a message to the American people, which was best articulated by a park ranger in Washington. “We’ve been told to make life as difficult as possible for people as we can.” He then added, “It’s disgusting.” The White House website is asking for sob stories from citizens so they can spoon-feed them to the media to create a narrative of hardship.
And finally on Thursday an anonymous senior White House official said that they didn’t care how long the shutdown went. They were “winning.” Denying veterans a visit to the memorial they built and active duty military personnel the pleasures of home is not “winning.”
On Capitol Hill, Harry Reid has called his fellow Americans “anarchists” and “arsonists.” The vitriol dripping from his mouth is unbecoming of the leader of the United States Senate and by Friday he was forced to eat a little humble pie. Democrats led by the same Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and the president have pulled out the old playbook of demonizing their opponents with over-the-top comments and actions.
But this is not 1995 when the big showdown between President Clinton and Speaker Gingrich occurred. Back then the Democrats relied on the national media to be their press agents. Those tactics worked back then.
Today the traditional media are still the press agents for the Democrats. But in the age of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, it won’t work. One picture on the Internet of a wheelchair-bound veteran of the greatest generation being denied access to the memorial built in their honor will have more impact in the coming days than all the speeches by the politicians of both parties.
So here is your Cowboy Wisdom for the Week:
“When you give a lesson in meanness to a critter or a person, don’t be surprised if they learn the lesson.” The pettiness and downright meanness of the White House on display this week will not set well with the American people over the long haul.
And when the autumn leaves turn next fall and Election Day nears, Democrats better hope that when the voters enter the voting booth they have forgotten the lesson in meanness they taught them this fall.
Patrick Dorinson is a radio host, writer, and commentator at The Cowboy Libertarian.
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