Thursday, January 31, 2008

The City of Berkeley Shuts Itself to the Marines

In resolutions passed January 29, 2008, the City Council of Berkeley, California has declared that United States Marine Corps recruiters are "uninvited and unwelcome intruders" within city limits and applauds those who choose to "impede" the Marines in their recruiting mission. The justification presented by the Council for these obnoxious and misdirected resolutions is that the council objects to the Marines' role in Iraq, the laws forbidding open homosexuals from serving in the armed forces, and with the entirety of American history on the grounds that the United States has allegedly launched a series of "illegal, immoral and unprovoked wars of aggression."

Article I, Section VII of the Federal Constitution empowers the Congress with the responsibility to raise and support armies, while Article II, Section II empowers the President with the role of Commander-in-Chief. In contrast to these decision-makers, the role of the members of the Marine Corps is to prepare for and wage war as authorized by the Constitutional process. Unlike the President, the Congress, or the Berkeley City Council, the Marines are not a policy-making body.

For the Berkeley City Council to blame the Marines for the laws passed by Congress, or to condemn them because their members fight in a war that some choose to oppose is a grave miscarriage of justice. It implies that the Marines can choose which laws that they follow, or which wars that they fight in. It implies that the Marines are not beholden to the very Constitution that they swore to defend.

Furthermore, the Berkeley City Council's desire to prevent the Marines from speaking to young people about their mission within Berkeley's city limits while simultaneously giving anti-Marine protestors preferential treatment implies that the City Council is comfortable with its youth receiving information from only one side of the debate. This position insults both the Marines, many of whom are veterans of the current war and are able to provide a perspective interested people should be free to hear, and Berkeley's youth, who apparently are judged by the City Council to be too incompetent to form their own intelligent opinion about the armed forces and the responsibilities and risks that go with military service.

As a Marine veteran, I would like to voice my steadfast opposition to the Berkeley City Council's despicable actions. In protest, I simply refuse to conduct any business within Berkeley city limits, or patronize any company that has its headquarters within Berkeley. Furthermore, I call upon other veterans to join with me and demand that the U.S. Congress and the California State Legislature to suspend all federal and state payments that go to support any activity conducted by the Berkeley City Council until such time as the Council chooses to rescind its anti-Marine resolutions.

The Berkeley City Council has taken a position that puts them outside the constitutional union. They have targeted the innocent and have actively worked to keep their citizens ignorant of viewpoints that they have every right to hear. Until such time as the citizens of Berkeley elect to restrain their local leaders to their proper role, I simply choose not to deal with them or support their lives in any way.

1 comment:

Cedar Bristol said...

This is a disgrace which should get national attention and a response from the federal government in line with what you describe.

But how many conservatives who throw the word "fair weather federalist" at each other will be able to get behind, much less demand such a response? People who have for decades now pushed an interpretation of "supreme law of the land" as meaning "law with no force against any state or local government" will recognize this as one of their own chickens coming home to shit all over something that they might like to honor and defend if they had any principles.

This brings their perverse idea of "federalism" into direct conflict with something they claim to value. Which one wil take precedence? I'm almost afraid to find out. Will they act to reign in Berkely? Or will they use Berkely as an example of why other cities and states should be allowed to criminalize abortion, or even blasphemy?

I think conservative "federalists" are more to blame for this than the elected special-needs children who are directly responsible.

I'm actually looking forward to voting for the first time in my life. I now hate the Republican party so much I can't wait to vote against Mccain. I might hold my nose and vote for some Republicans in congress, but I really look forward to voting them out of the White House.