Saturday, November 07, 2009

Into the Breach

Reading accounts of the Fort Hood shootings, I am struck by the immediate and selfless behavior of the soldiers. One sentence particularly caught me attention:
Other unarmed soldiers in the area also began to sprint toward the gunfire.

They headed toward danger. Unarmed. No matter. They were ready to do what needed to be done. They would figure something out as the situation developed.

I call that bravery and professionalism. The normal person, upon hearing gunfire, would head the other way. Soldiers confront danger. That's the nature of the work.

Thursday at Fort Hood, the nation saw up close how good America's soldiers can be in difficult, dangerous circumstances. That's something to think about this coming Veterans Day.

Something else to think about is why America is squandering these soldiers in extended, foreign occupations. As has been often mentioned in the articles about the Fort Hood shootings, our soldiers and their families are bearing a disproportionate burden of America's "boots on the ground" around the world foreign policy.

Others are asking "What has America done in eight years?" Americans should ask the same question.

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Sunday, November 01, 2009

Election Eve, Sort Of

From all the accounts I read, Virginia Democrats will not repeat their string of electoral victories on Tuesday. (The accounts are mostly Washington Post but I've seen the same consensus in other stories.) Not only will the Democrats not win the governorship but a truly dedicated conservative activist will replace winner-designate McDonnell as attorney general. My satisfaction in seeing Terry McAulife lose the primary in June is certainly dimmed by Creigh Deeds'lackluster, unfocused campaign.

McDonnell, on the other hand has been very focused. So focused that he tries not to look too much like the conservative activist he is. If the Republicans are looking for a come-back strategy, they seem to be doing pretty well by not talking about what they really believe. R emember Grover Norquist's statement about "drowning government"? That kind of rhetoric only appeals to a limited minority of zealots and tends to drive away the more pragmatic voters. It's best not to be too vocal about those beliefs, no matter how dear.

Out this way, something of the same is going on in King County, where a former news anchor turned conservative Republican activist presented herself as a non-ideological moderate to win one of two non-partisan nominations for King County executive. (King County is most Democratic county in Washington and the state's overwhelming largest. It is Seattle, its exurbs, suburbs and a whole lot more, including a severe budget deficit.) She was the top vote getter in the primary and has led in all the polls until just last week when it seems that voters are beginning to realize what a shipwreck she would we. I hope so.

I would like to hope that Virginia voters would be as prescient. But I don't think so. My (mostly) native state committed heresy last year by voting for Obama, not to mention two Democratic (no matter how conservative) senators and two Democratic (also conservative) governors in a row. I will not be surprised if Virginia voters step back from that Democratic abyss this time around.