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This Memorial Day, millions of US citizens will take a day off from work for a solemn day of watching parades, grilling dogs and burgers, risking melanoma on a beach, or checking out this season's wildest amusement-park roller coasters. The aim behind the moroseness and merriment: to remember soldiers who gave the "supreme sacrifice to protect and defend American freedom." The expectation is that all those who live on these shores will take part in the celebration and join in the collective "thank you."
Um, not this one. No, thanks.
Nothing against the soldiers, particularly the ones who served prior to the ending of the military draft: Those forced to go into service -- including my grandfather, who served in World War 2 -- had no choice if they didn't want to make another supreme sacrifice, going to jail for their beliefs. And the ones who made the choice to enlist in the armed services (a sad choice, in this writer's opinion) made the decision based on their individual situations. As a pacifist who believes in self-determination, I can't quibble with their choices, however repugnant I find them.
And, yes, I find the choice to enlist repugnant and unremittingly sad. There is no justification for killing, in my book. None. So you can imagine that the prospect of a day when practically all around me insist that I show gratitude to people hired to kill in my name and against my will causes me untold distress.
Are all Americans equal under law? Of course not. US law, as it stands, denies millions of law-abiding Americans the freedom to fully enjoy their inalienable, Creator-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The grand tradition of the armed forces, complete with images of bombs bursting in air and filled with stories of freedom fighters battling all manner of enemies in defense of the American way of life, is a slap in the faces of those who don't have equality. Sure, there are people who are heroes due to extraordinary actions they took to save, not take, lives in dangerous times. They deserve honors. But to honor death brigaders just because they died? I can't.
So how can an anti-military progressive pacifist mark this day? One could hide and pretend Memorial Day does not exist. Or one could face it head on and commit to keeping more of our young people out of harm's way and out of uniform.
Yep, an action alert is coming.
From Boston Craigslist:
The greyhound track in Plainfield, CT voted on April 26th that they would discontinue greyhound racing. Unfortunately - and heartbreakingly - they've also decided that rescuers have only two weeks to get the dogs out, and any dogs remaining at the track on May 14th will be euthanized. This is a monumental task because there are at least 500 dogs currently at the track. These are all young, healthy dogs, 2-4 years of age, who would make great family pets.
We've committed to saving as many dogs as we possibly can in the next two weeks.
How can you help?
My sisters and I all have left the Great State for school, but we still keep an eye on Texas politics. The older one sent this news storywith the query "What's going on at home with the governor's race and internal squabbling?" Longtime senator Kay Bailey Hutchison apparently is going to challenge current governor Rick Perry in the next gubernatorial Republican primary, which someone thinks is a good sign for the Democrats.
My little sister replied, "Do you really think we have a chance at winning Texas? just because there's a challenge in the primaries doesn't mean the Republican won't still win... although it will be good if Kay Bailey doesn't run for senator again."
My two cents: I hope that Hutchison doesn't run for governor, though -- I think the reason she's looking at it is that Perry's weakened himself since his '02 election, with all the screwups of budgets and particularly school funding, so he'd be extremely vulnerable in a primary. But I'd much rather have a Dem to go up against a weak Perry than against Hutchison, who's got no black marks against her of which I know (other than the obvious one of being a Republican, which of course is not a negative in Texas).
But my favorite part of the whole article was the "You hugged Hillary Clinton!" "Oh yeah? well you praised her healthcare plan!" part.Texas Two-Step
May 3, 2005
Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison is running an unorthodox primary challenge to Gov. Rick Perry, refusing to speculate publicly about her intentions even as she privately prepares for the possibility of a bruising intraparty battle.
Aides to Hutchison argue that she has truly not decided whether she will run for re-election in 2006 - a race in which she would likely cruise to victory - or challenge Perry in a contest that would set off a civil war within the party.