Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cost of Free Speech

Like most people, there are some topics I am more passionate about than others.

Discussions around the lunch table at work will cover politics, religion, golf, fishing, weather, marriage, kids and grand kids, and immediate news stories. Sounds a little familiar doesn't it?

I suppose that the list above could be a general list of topics at most any workplace, but what is it that makes an individual so driven as to the relentless discussion of 'their' thoughts and 'their' beliefs as the "only" right way for the general populace to adhere to?

The fact that the individual has pored over documentation and studied the writings and testaments of a few other 'like' thinkers would / could be a reason for their present day position.

Does it really make it right? Not if you choose to disagree.

Do you stand up for your beliefs and confront the issue of the minute...or do you just listen and realize that the situation is bigger than the both of you and basically there is nothing you can do about it.

I have just finished reading a book I received for my birthday and I realized that towards the end of the book, feelings I hold near and dear to me had surfaced once again. True stories will do that to me, especially when the subject matter is so 'in your face' with today's media.

How do you feel about the race that lives just below the surface of politics and the ultimate election day for the candidates? What race am I speaking of?

The media race to be first. The first news network to report the winner, no... make that, the projected winner of the selected political race.

Who actually cares if one network lists the winner before another network does? How many channels can you watch at one time during an election coverage? Can the outcome be changed by projecting blue or red states? Eventually the votes will be counted and the winner announced and sworn into office. Period.

The media can drive public opinion in any direction the network chooses to go.

The book I alluded to earlier was a testament to just that. The fear of the media back home would crucify the team members of their actions to protect themselves and the mission; IF they chose to eliminate the immediate threat of being discovered.

In the end, three members of the four man Navy SEAL team were killed in action due to their decision.

The option to not eliminate the threat of the Afghan goat herders that had stumbled onto their position, would lead to the largest loss of life in Navy SEAL history.

Simply stated, the rules of engagement set down by our politicians and the fear of what a media blitz would do to their military careers, the option cost American military lives.

In my humble opinion, the American people have forgotten the feelings we all felt on September 11, 2001. That Tuesday morning when the innocent killings of friends and family took place in front of us, changed our way of thinking for only a short time. All in the name of religious beliefs so very different than the beliefs this great nation was founded on.

We must not forget our history. We must support our military and let them do what they are trained to do. The rules of engagement today, shadows the history of engagement known to our veterans of Viet Nam.

Get the book. Read the book. Then let me hear from you.

"Lone Survivor" by Marcus Luttrell. It's a #1 National Bestseller.

It Is What It Is.

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