Tag Archive: politics



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I know I’m late in posting this, but one of the highlights of summer for me is the 4th of July Parade in our town. It’s a good parade, and very traditional with lots of floats, bands, community organizations, fire departments, military groups, veterans, and, of course, local politicians who want to be “seen”. My husband is on the “CVO” (Combined Veterans Organization) parade committee, and is involved in putting the parade together. This means I go alone, and am free to travel up and down the streets with my camera looking for good photos ops.

One group I always love is the Revolutionary War re-enactment militia. And — of course they shoot the cannon – while all the little children hold their ears, and bury their heads in their mother’s arms: (click any photo to see it larger in Flickr)

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Other military groups:

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1. World War II Vets – ride in various cars and floats
2. Korean War Vets
3. Vietnam Vets

A few bands:

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A few of the community floats and parade entries. There were many more, but this is just a sampling:

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1. Little League
2. Mason’s
3. Long Island East Ski Club. My husband and I were members of this group for a long time when we were younger (and our knees were better…) and took a few wonderful skiing trips out west…
4. Human Resources of the Hamptons
5. Lions Club
6. Kiwanis Club

And – then there are the fire departments….!

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Southampton Fire Department’s antique fire trucks

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1. Long line of fire trucks from North Sea Fire Department
2. The junior fire fighters

In my opinion (and only my opinion) the only negative of this parade – – and many parades, for that matter – – are the more politically motivated parade entries. Each year there are one or two, and I see them – at least in this atmosphere – as unnecessarily divisive. Parades are there to bring people together. Political statements divide. Or – at least that is the way things are in the present climate. Such was the affect of this year’s main political entry – the Suffolk County 9-12 Project – The Tea Party. It was one of the largest entries – many banners, marchers, a few decorated cars… I could not deny that it was impressive!

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In previous years there were entries from the “other side of the aisle” – which I didn’t like either, so it’s not about the Tea Party group, per se. Can we not put aside political divisiveness for one day and join together in what we DO share — the celebration of our nation’s birth. Since the parade there has been some contentious discourse in the “letters to the editor” of our local paper about an alleged ugly, unkind bumper sticker on the side of one of the cars. I didn’t see it, but I cannot deny that it could have been there – like on the other side of the car from where I could see. But – whatever the case, the ultimate result is divisiveness among us.

After the parade is over, I head for the Veteran’s Memorial Hall to meet up with my husband who is there after his work is done with the parade. we have some refreshments – usually hot dogs, chips and cake – before we go on home.

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1. The judges stand at the end of the parade
2. Sag Harbor Community Band plays a few patriotic selections after the parade is over
3. Veterans Memorial Hall
4. Across the street from Vets Hall is the World War I Memorial Park where both the Memorial Day and Veterans Day services are held.

When my hubby first began working on this parade, I didn’t like being left alone to watch it. In the early years, I didn’t always attend, as I’d always thought a parade is a social event, enjoyed by families and friends together. But – it didn’t take long for me to pick myself up and just … go. Once the photography bug hit me, it gave me another focus while I watched the festivities. I also found it was fun to be a free spirit at a parade. As I walk up and down the streets looking for photos, I always stop to chat with people I know along the way.

I think this is what I like about parades – – the joining of together of a community to commemorate a particular holiday or event. And, in the process the community (and friends and family) bond(s), as it also celebrates itself.

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There is something to be said for not writing about an issue or event immediately after hearing of it or experiencing it.  Sometimes certain situations require time to cogitate, and must roll around in one’s mind first.  How you feel immediately will not always be the way you ultimately will feel.  Time changes attitudes, especially after reading and hearing more about it and discussing it with others.

The death of Osama Bin Ladin is one of those situations.  I have run the gamut of emotions, and I do not discount the possibility that I may change again as time moves forward.

On the night that it was announced, I did not have the TV news on at all, and totally missed it live.  Even my husband – the dedicated, non-stop news junkie – didn’t have it on, either, so it went right by us – until about midnight when Ray noticed a news story as he was cruising around on his computer prior to going to bed.

“Bin Ladin’s dead” he said – almost nonchalantly.  ‘Huh?”, I responded.  “Who reported that?”, I asked, cynically.  Then I added, “And, I won’t believe any of it until ALL the news services have also reported the same thing”.

I quickly realized that it WAS being reported all over – and apparently was true.  The skeptic in me also wondered if they got the right guy, but it didn’t take long for me to begin to realize that this really did happen, and it was “for real”.

My first instinct was not jubilation, but relief – and gratitude for the Navy Seals heroic actions.   I honor them and the risks that they took to complete the mission both efficiently and quickly.  I am grateful that the deed was finally done after all these years.  I’d begun to wonder if we’d ever be able to do it.  Despite all these feelings, as I watched the rejoicing in Washington DC continue into the early morning hours, I became increasingly uncomfortable.   At that time, that response felt to me to be shallow, and maybe a bit “over the top”.

What exactly WERE they celebrating?  With all the difficult issues within the US, like recent floods, tornadoes, bad economy, discord over politics, etc. – did we so desperately need a definitive “something” to celebrate that this served that purpose?  Finally we have a clear cut victory!  Did these people (many of whom appeared to me to be college students), think that now that this one person was dead, that our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, etc. would miraculously end (and they would not have to go to war)?  Did they think that the death of the of the Taliban’s leader would end the Taliban and all wars having to do with them?

With Bin Ladin in hiding for so long, even if he was as involved as they now say he was, he had to have had others who did the “leg” work for him.  I conclude from this that there probably is no shortage of leaders to replace their “fallen leader”.   The Taliban may be in some disarray, but I can see where they could, and probably will regroup.   To us – to me — the killing of Bin Ladin is justice served.  However, I suspect that others in the Taliban see it more as revenge, and will easily respond in kind.  The truth is that revenge begets more revenge.  We have to be ever watchful for these kinds of attacks – not only on our shores, but elsewhere in the world.   We did not defeat an army – only one important man in that “army”.  I suspect the war continues…

Something else bothered me as I watched the celebrating that night.  It seemed to me like a Pyrrhic Victory. For example, the 9/11 and the military casualties are just as “dead” as they always were. Killing Bin Ladin didn’t suddenly change things and bring them back to life.

I’m sure it’s my Christian roots kicking in – but there also seems to be something awry in celebrating any human being’s death, no matter how evil that person’s deeds might have been.  We killed him.  It was justice served.  It was the right thing to do.  However, despite how correct this action was, I could not “rejoice”.  I was relieved, and grateful, yet, at the same time, I felt sad that he was such a waste of a human being.  I suppose it’s our shared humanity that makes me sad.  It sounds awful – even to me – that I have allowed myself to share anything with one so evil, but the reality is that I shared “humanity” with Bin Ladin, though only as far as the two of us shared “human being” status.

Because of this, I have always struggled with the death penalty.  Killing another human is a grave and a very “final” decision, one that cannot be reversed.  I have always questioned whether humans should be making these kinds of decisions about other humans.

I wished that they had been able to take Bin Ladin alive – then put him on trial.  However, I acknowledge that doing so would have been way too risky, putting the entire mission in jeopardy.  Plus – do we need the fall-out of what a trial could do to the mood of our nation?  Maybe it’s best for all concerned to move on as soon as we’re able and not dwell on this man any more than needed.  This IS war – kill or be killed.  That, in my opinion, was the mentality of the Navy Seals inside that compound when confronted by Bin Ladin, who may have been reaching for a weapon at the time he was shot.  It could have had a very different outcome…

At this point, I wrote an entry in Live Journal – my locked journal open to chosen friends.  Against my better judgment, I also left one ill advised status message (what I realize now was an inaccurate Martin Luther King quotation being spread around) on Facebook, too.  I was not prepared for a few of the responses I got.  I had clearly not seen the other side of the coin.  And – it’s possible I may come to regret this blog entry…?!

What I failed to take into consideration was the intense emotions which those who have paid a direct price for Bin Ladin’s actions.  Those who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks, or military service families whose lives have been forever changed in the last 10 years were these people.  The military has seen so many deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan – – so many wounds – legs lost – LIVES lost – all as a result of Bin Ladin’s Taliban.  Of course this is understandable celebration time!  It is THEY who protected the rest of us so that we could live our lives relatively normally, and be allowed to have these beliefs.   It has come to my attention that it’s way too easy for me to sit here and pronounce that we should not celebrate his death.  All of my thoughts are simply “concepts” – – untested concepts – – because I have not had to pay the ultimate price for this man’s evil.  How would my actions and feelings differ if I had lost a loved one as a result of this man?   Thankfully I have not had to know.

Do not judge another’s actions and beliefs until you understand from whence come their feelings.   In my opinion, the ability to do this is strangely lacking in our country – as each of us proclaim our views, rarely hearing and understanding the depth of why others might have an opposing view.  We judge and proclaim what we think “all” should believe – not allowing ourselves to understand.

I still stick to my personal belief that I cannot celebrate any human being’s death – despite their evil deeds.  I still stick by my belief that SOME of the celebrations MIGHT have had little depth to them.  However, it is a personal belief and one I do not necessarily expect others to share.  If I was in different circumstances in my life, I also might not hold to it.  I now have a more in depth understanding of some of the celebrations – especially in the military community and for those directly affected by 9/11.

9/11 2010 – a day later.


The following entry was something I posted yesterday on 9/11 in my private Live Journal friends group.  I posted it with comments disabled, as I did not want to discuss those things on such a day, in order to keep the day more as a memorial.  Now that the day is over, I will be re-enabling comments on that post soon.  I also thought I’d bring the post over here.


Today I sit alone in the house while Ray is "up the island" taking a Red Cross course on "mass casualties" – or something like that.  What an ironic course to be taking on a day like today…?!  But – my alone time is causing me to think about the day and it’s meaning – but it’s also moved to where our nation is 9 years after the horrible attack – and I’m sad about it.

I don’t often get into politics here, but I suspect I’ll touch on it in this entry, because it can’t be helped.

For one, our nation surely isn’t as unified as we were during the immediate aftermath of the tragedy.  We banded together and were there for each other like no other time I can remember.  It was a testament to the human spirit as to what we could be — and really are — if we allow ourselves to be that way.

Lots of things have entered our lives since then – most notably wars (Iraq and Afghanistan), and there’s nothing like "a little war" (said tongue in cheek) to bring out the worst in us, that’s for sure.  In all fairness, it can also bring out the best in us.  I *have* seen valor, bravery and patriotism among our service people, and, as a nation, I think we are proud of them for serving their country well, and with honor.  However, this is not what I’m talking about.  It’s quite understandable that emotions will run high during wars because "someone’s son/daughter" – "someone’s wife/husband" are getting KILLED in these wars.  We don’t want them to die "in vain".  If we are not sure – as a nation – that the purposes of these wars will bring about the desired result, then conflict and division among citizens ensues.  In addition, we are also not in agreement as to what the “desired result” should be!  And, it’s my opinion that not enough of us have been sure of these things.  Whether it’s "true" or "not true" that these wars’ purpose has value, or they have accomplished their purposes, we have not been unified as a nation about them.

I also think that the actions of George Bush post 2001, then the Presidential election in 2008 and Obama Presidency have polarized us as people.  I don’t intend to take sides in that statement — only to say that this has been the result.  Red state / blue state … rich / poor … urban / rural … Christian / non-Christian … Republican / Democrat … liberal / conservative … tea party / coffee party.  Somehow in the time lapse between 2001 and now, we have stopped listening to each other with respect.  Ad hominem attacks abound, and it’s easier to call people ugly things when they have been reduced to less than "human" or a "stereotype" in one’s mind.  We can’t seem to understand others who differ from us.  It’s not that we have to agree with them.  Why not simply understand that they have good reasons, based upon their personal circumstances why they believe what they do, and respect them for that.

Now … let’s add a little fear into the equation – – or, more fear than we already have had about the state of the world and possible terrorism.  Enter:  the faltering economy.  People have lost their jobs, pensions have been reduced to unlivable levels, and many are less sure about their futures.  Humans do funny things when we’re scared — like get angry at the nearest target, get into the blame game, and be even more ugly to others.  We huddle in the safety of those like us.

Now, even 9/11 has entered the conflict and we are divided over that.  Let’s hate *all* Muslims … let’s burn the Quran.  The anger that we legitimately have at a few extremists is now being aimed at an entire religion.  IMO, Christianity has it’s extreme elements, too, and it behooves Christians to look within a bit more and make sure they’re blameless before they go after another.  (And, I’m a Christian)  True — Christians have not run planes into buildings, but there is no difference between Christian (or any) extremism and theirs in their mentality.  Also (IMO), extremism begets extremism on the other side.  Humans so often react as a pendulum does.  If things go too far one way, we have a tendency to make it go that far the other way, probably out of fear to keep whatever it is as far away as possible.

This entire thing saddens me, because in all these things, imo, we have lost sight of what happened — and the meaning of this day — to remember those who died, and especially to honor the rescuers who were killed in the line of that duty.  It was awful and very wrong what happened, and anger is understandable toward the extremists who did the acts.  But — IMO — to blame all Muslims, and to allow this to turn our country (and people) into a Muslim hating country is not fair to them.  Ok — I’ve heard that they hate us, so we’re just being stupid to be understanding and respectful.  Well — to respond to this – the Christian message is not "revenge", but one of "taking the higher road" – or – that’s how *I* personally see it.  Bottom line:  how is peace and understanding going to be achieved with this mentality?   I’m not saying that we roll over and play dead, and we must be vigilant as far as unearthing possible terror threats.  Terrorists do exist!  It’s just this hate we seem to be feeling for anything and anyone that is different, and disagrees with us is surely not helpful.

I was going to leave comments open, but have decided as I write this that I’d rather not.  Today is not a day to debate any of this.  Instead, what I’d like is for any readers to simply remember those who died — and to honor those who who tried to rescue those trapped, but were also killed.  Please — just do that.


Of course the comments here on this entry are enabled.  🙂

And … as I think on this, I realize that this issue is a lot more complex than one blog post written by one “rank amateur” can ever cover.  Scratching the surface of the issue is a start.

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