Merry Christmas, My Friend by Corporal James M. Schmidt, former U.S. Marine First published in "Leatherneck Magazine", December 1991
'Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone, In a one-bedroom house made of plaster and stone. I had come down the chimney, with presents to give and to see just who in this home did live.
As I looked all about, a strange sight I did see, no tinsel, no presents, not even a tree. No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand. On the wall hung pictures of a far distant land.
With medals and badges, awards of all kind, a sobering thought soon came to my mind. For this house was different, unlike any I'd seen. This was the home of a U.S. Marine.
I'd heard stories about them, I had to see more, so I walked down the hall and pushed open the door. And there he lay sleeping, silent, alone, Curled up on the floor in his one-bedroom home. ,
He seemed so gentle, his face so serene, Not how I pictured a U.S. Marine. Was this the hero, of whom I’d just read? Curled up in his poncho, a floor for his bed?
His head was clean-shaven, his weathered face tan. I soon understood, this was more than a man. For I realized the families that I saw that night, owed their lives to these men, who were willing to fight.
Soon around the Nation, the children would play, And grown-ups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day. They all enjoyed freedom, each month and all year, because of Marines like this one lying here.
I couldn’t help wonder how many lay alone, on a cold Christmas Eve, in a land far from home. Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye. I dropped to my knees and I started to cry.
He must have awoken, for I heard a rough voice, "Santa, don't cry, this life is my choice I fight for freedom, I don't ask for more. My life is my God, my country, my Corps."
With that he rolled over, drifted off into sleep, I couldn't control it, I continued to weep.
I watched him for hours, so silent and still. I noticed he shivered from the cold night's chill. So I took off my jacket, the one made of red, and covered this Marine from his toes to his head. Then I put on his T-shirt of scarlet and gold, with an eagle, globe and anchor emblazoned so bold. And although it barely fit me, I began to swell with pride, and for one shining moment, I was Marine Corps deep inside.
I didn't want to leave him so quiet in the night, this guardian of honor so willing to fight. But half asleep he rolled over, and in a voice clean and pure, said "Carry on, Santa, it's Christmas Day, all secure." One look at my watch and I knew he was right, Merry Christmas my friend, Semper Fi and goodnight.
Mery Christmas and God Bless to all who the brave men and women in the USA Armed Forces.
After today's posts there will be a post on Christmas eve but that will be it until after new Years.
In 2009 I am going to attempt to give the President Elect Obama a honeymoon and avoid blogging him. I actually think that since he is entitled to that (unless he does something really bad ) But I do have some controversial things I plan to Blog on.
Education whats wrong with it and how to fix it.
Christianity positive influence or not? Which religion is true and how to tell. Christianity and the founding of our country. I recently got in a heated discussion on these subjects on another blog but for some reason the thread was deleted. So we will have the discussion here. It should be scads of fun.
We will also try to discuss economics. Here is hoping their are some economists out there who can help with that discussion. Oh yeah and a farewell blog to president Bush.
I’ll be frank, this economic crisis has had me baffled. I can not understand how 10% of mortgages in the US being at risk can sink a global economy. I am now subscribing to a straw that broke the camels back or in this case consumer confidence theory.
I have been listening to a lot of pundits on the subject. I heard a really good interview with Steve Forbes Saturday morning he seems to have a good handle on the why and the how to fix.
Anyway we do need to learn from our mistakes and to that end I have put together a list of things I think led to this. This will not be a list that bashes one group, person or party because frankly everybody has some skin in this game. Here it goes not in any particular order. Just free form.
1. Politicians who cannot control their need to spend taxpayer dollars. 2. An economic policy that kept the dollar to weak. (Thanks Alan Greenspan) 3. Consumers who went into hock up to their eyeballs. 4. Failure to regulate Fanny and Freddie Mac. 5. Greedy, stupid bankers and Wall Street moguls. 6. Investors who focused on short term stock prices rather then the long term health of companies and the Boards of Directors who let that drive their decisions. 7, Corporate CEO’s who wasted money on luxuries like corporate jets and fancy parties (take a lesson from good old Sam Walton) and the stockholders who paid them ridiculous amounts even when they did not perform. 8. New accounting rules that needlessly destroyed the book value of some financial institutions. 9. Politicians who mandated banks make bad loans so more people could own homes. 10. Panic.
Feel free to add suggestions for additional reasons. i am sure I missed some.
The last piece in my series on a Republican platform. What to do about the social issues. My answer is no surprise. No big changes. The Republicans gain more votes then they loose by supporting Pro Life, Pro family. Conservative social values. Survey after survey has shown this. For instance single issue pro-life voters outnumber single issue pro-choice voters 2 to 1. Most of the people who support liberal social policies and vote Democrat are not going to start voting Republican if the Republicans abandon those issues. Conversely a large number of Republican voters will stay home or migrate to third parties if the Republican party abandons conservative social causes. I am not arguing that this makes sense I am only stating facts. The Republicans do have to do a better job of explaining their views but that's another issue. On the two big ones I would try to accommodate some tweaking and too that end I have a massage to my religious conservative friends. I have been thinking about what Cal Thomas has been saying. He is right to a point. I do not think the Christian Right should abandon politics but morality does not follow the law the law follows morality. So you should spend more time on convincing the the world to be moral and then the laws will follow. Also think in increments. Abortion is a good example. An overwhelming number of Americans support abortion restrictions except where the life of the mother is at stake or in cases of incest and rape. We loose them when we insist that it be restricted in those instances too. I am not saying morally you are wrong to restrict it in cases of Rape and incest but that only accounts for what 1% of all abortions, Wouldn't it be great if we could stop 99%. We might be able too if we convinced the public we were the moderates on the issue by taking that circumstance off the table. Do that and eventually people will come to see it our way on the rest. Another big one Homosexuality . NO one should be discriminated against in housing and employment and government should not be telling people what to do in their bedrooms. We should say that. However we should also say that it is not the governments job to give affirmative approval to a lifestyle that a majority believes is of questionable morality. That is an important distinction. The Republican party and the Christian right need to discuss openly and come to terms with how theses issues are presented but it would be a great mistake for them to part ways.
I love Christmas and listening to Christmas Carols. So as my family gets ready to meet the day we listen to Christmas music on a station that plays nothing but from Thanksgiving till New years. This morning that sappy song from the 1980's African Live Aid concert came on. You know the one where they sing about "and there won't be snow in Africa this year."(1 ) (I much prefer the classics ). Any way I mentioned to my teenage son where that song came from and ended with the comment and they are still starving in Africa.
My Teenage son immediately responded with "That's because they are all run by dictators. if we just went in and removed the dictators they wouldn't be starving. I don't understand why people think its wrong to use military action to remove dictators." And the UN is no use because most of them are dictators."
Out of the mouths of babes comes wisdom.
(1)Nothing in the post should be considered a denigration of the efforts of Live Aid to get food to starving people. I applaud private charity work to relieve suffering if even temporarily. It is however a sappy song.
My favorite Bush is the one who didn't run for president. The articulate and popular former Gov. of Florida Jeb Bush. Not that I want to see any more Bush's run for President. I do think Jeb would be a great Senator and would win. News reports are he is considering running for Martinez's seat. Martinez has announced he is not running for re-election in two years.
Why do I like him. He is nothing like his Dad or Brother. Besides being articulate he says things like this.
"In an interview with Politico immediately after November’s election, the former Governor said the Republican Party should take four primary steps to regain favor with voters: show no tolerance for corruption, practice what it preaches about limiting the scope of government (“There should not be such a thing as a big-government Republican”), stand for working families and small business, and embrace reform. Bush said conservatives should “do the math of the new demographics of the United States,” explaining that the Republican Party “can’t be anti-Hispanic, anti-young person, anti many things and be surprised when we don’t win elections.”
As part of my continuing series on a new Republican platform lets talk about Education.
The Republican platform for a national education policy should be......a policy that we not have a policy. I'm not kidding. Newt Gingrich was right 10 years ago. Abolish the Department of Education. Think about it. The DOE was formed in the 1970's under Carter. Since then has our Education system gotten better? It has not. Look at the recent foray into education policy, No Child Left Behind is a disaster of a policy. By any measure we are failing.
This is because education is a local issue. It is a local issue because what determines how a school system performs is more then anything else the culture of the community. Yes quality and dedication of teachers and facilities condition play a role but the overwhelming factor is culture. What value do the parents and the community as a whole but on education.
Our education system needs to be reformed radically but it can not come from the top down it must come at the local and state level. This is where federalism can shine and states can innovate and try solutions that meet the particular needs of their communities. Innovation is the key to revitalization of our educational system. Some great ideas are floating out their and will be the subject of future posts but for now the message to the federal government is back off.
The key is to present this the right way. Giving power back to the States and Communities to educate their children. We are going to let the states find the right course. Giving power back to the people. These are the things that need to be said about education by Republicans.
I must admit I am pleasantly surprised. While I am sure I have some policy differences with President elect Obama's cabinet appointments so far they seem like competent appointments and none that would appear to want to drag the US in a radical direction. This is a good thing for the country on these perilous times.
Their has been a lot of questions about why he would appoint Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. Putting a former rival in a powerful position where they can undermine you is a dangerous proposition. Their are a lot of reasons why appointing her might be good or might be bad. Lets throw out one really devious reason that someone would do that. I am not claiming this is why the President Elect appointed her but if someone where an evil genius consider this. She has to give up a powerful senate seat. If a year or two years from now she gets fired as Secretary of State she has no platform for her future political aspirations. Think about it. (just for fun)
A bright spot for Republicans; Obama has picked a couple of popular governors and senators to be in his cabinet.
This now gives the Republican Party a better chance to win those seats.
My two favorite subjects to discuss Religion and Politics are taboo in polite society. This Blog is so I can indulge myself. My opinions will usually be conservative (with a few suprises) and often controversial. I hope you find it an interesting ride.
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