It’s a small thing. Just one small decision. It reflects something much bigger though, that is beginning to permeate throughout all of life. And it’s not just me either, it can be seen all throughout the country. It starts with things very small and close to home.
I was in Costco on a regular shopping trip and I picked up a block of Feta, one of my favorite cheeses for my frequent omelettes, and as I casually looked at the label my heart sank, “Made in France.”
I had made a decision, you see. I will buy nothing from France. Actions have consequences. The French lied to Secretary of State Colin Powell about their support, stabbed him and our nation in the back, and threatened to veto any proposal we made in the Security Council at the United Nations concerning Iraq. I wasn’t aware of any products from France that I was currently using, but I’d made up my mind if I ran across any, I would not purchase them. Then I picked up that cheese.
The promise I’d made was no longer abstract, safe and distant. It was here, now, in front of me. The habit of comfort and the comfort of habit wanted to argue against principle. It was such a small thing, a single block of cheese. What difference would that make? What difference does one person make? Then I remembered the news stories of how the purchase of French wines and cheeses was down all across the nation and I knew that thousands, maybe even millions, of other individuals were coming down on the side of principle when confronted with just this kind of situation.
Can one person really make a difference? I recalled the story of the single Navy technician who confronted the anti-war demonstrators at Pearl Harbor recently. One single man who stood up to a mob at the gate.
When I first read that story, it made me ashamed that I wasn’t there. One lone man standing up to all those people. It made me realize I wasn’t doing enough and made me resolve to do more. I had been moving in that direction for some time, but now those thoughts became decisions.
As events unfolded, one of those decisions concerned not buying French products, but that was just one of many. Another included noting and remembering all who oppose defending this nation, or attack our president for doing so. Whether it is an actor, actress, musician, or politician, if they openly express that opposition then I will no longer buy their movies or support them in any way. They have every right to their opinions and I have every right to mine. And I don’t have to give my hard earned money to those who don’t appreciate the very people who make it possible for them to express those opinions, much less give them my political support.
I recall that morning when I awoke a little early and had a feeling I should turn on the TV and check the news, something important might be happening out in the world. On the tube there were these tall buildings burning and in the confusion it was several minutes before the reporters actually got around to explaining what was happening. Planes? Terrorists? What the blue blazes is going on here?
Then came another report about a plane crashing into the Pentagon. The picture got a little clearer and the horror of the truth began to emerge. Then the towers in turn fell. I remember thinking, “The world is different now. Things will never be the same after today.” I was right, but in ways I couldn’t even begin to foresee.
Having lived all my life on the West Coast I hadn’t paid much attention to the world “back East.” The World Trade Center was just another building like the Empire State Building, but the name really had little significance. I made some connection with the previous truck bombing there, but couldn’t say what really took place, what the building really was, (and, of course, it was actually several buildings) or why it was called the World Trade Center in the first place. All of that quickly changed.
As I learned more, and watched over and over again the planes smash into the buildings, the buildings fall, and the Pentagon smoldering, something happened. I began to grow angry, become very, very angry. All those people killed by a handful of fanatics. It was an attack upon my country. It was an attack upon me. Those people literally died for me. It was only the vagaries of chance that made it them and not me.
Then as the story of the heroes on Flight 93 unfolded — those who when they learned of what had happened to the other hijacked flights, fought with the hijackers and brought the plane down in a field instead of into whatever target for which it was planned — my anger grew and an admiration arose I couldn’t have predicted. Those people intentionally gave their lives to protect unknown others. They are true heroes in the highest sense of the word. This is the very epitome of the meaning of freedom that this nation is founded upon: To give one’s life rather than see one’s loved ones and countrymen become slaves, even for a moment.
My anger grew against a backdrop of not having been particularly patriotic previously. Like most people I appreciated my freedom, but to a certain extent I’d taken it for granted. My parents weren’t patriotic at all, to the contrary were rather liberal, and I doubt if my parents ever once voted. Over the years, as I variously studied philosophy, logic, economics, and more, my views began to shift. The realm of reason replaced that of upbringing, class envy, and good intentions. The struggle between socialism and capitalism as it takes place in our culture became increasingly clear.
The morning of September 11, 2001 was for me, like it was for a number of people, a wake up call. The inevitable result of decades of ignoring the truth, evading the reality, and appeasing the opponents of freedom came crashing down in the deaths of 3000 innocent people. Actions have consequences and the consequence of doing nothing to fight those who would destroy this nation became tragically clear. With that realization came the determination to accept the status quo no more, to become more personally involved.
It has become increasingly obvious that I am not the only one who has made such a decision. It first became evident with Bill Maher and his show Politically Incorrect getting axed because of the uproar over his stupid comments. Its progressed from there. The Dixie Chicks are among the most recent to misunderstand the nation’s changed mood. While I like their music and might have considered seeing them in person or buying a CD, I will never do so now. The Dixie Chicks may be sorry that Bush hails from Texas but I’ll bet that is nothing compared to the Texans that are sorry the Dixie Chicks claim to be from Texas. Actions have consequences.
This holds true across the board. Martin Sheen, Mike Farrell, Susan Sarandon, Bono, and all the rest of the anti-war bigmouths are all on the, “never again” list. They are all free to shoot their mouths’ off and I’m free to never watch or buy a single thing they participate in, ever. The evidence is surfacing that the vast majority feel the same way. Michael Moore was booed at the Oscars for his anti-Bush comments, something that would never have happened in the past. Susan Sarandon was dropped from a United Way fund raiser in Florida. It is no longer “chic” to be anti-America.
The firestorm that has erupted over the comments by Columbia Professor Nicholas De Genova is so great he is now in hiding, provides another example.
Just last night at a Pearl Jam concert, concert goers walked out when the band’s lead singer smashed and stomped a likeness of Bush.
This is just the beginning. I will not forget. I’m not going to forget what Rep. Neil Abercrombie said in this very forum. I’m going to remember that this state’s Legislature tried to pass a resolution opposing this war and was only stymied by State Rep. Cal Kawamoto who, though a Democrat, as a Vietnam Veteran couldn’t stomach the resolution. My memory of who opposed this president, this war, and this nation is going to be long, very long indeed.
The French are threatening to boycott U.S. products but this will quickly fade once the war is won. It is based upon sour grapes at losing the discussion. They will soon forget and go back to drinking Pepsi, eating McDonald’s, or whatever. I will never again buy anything from France however. The consequence that I couldn’t foresee on September 11th was the depth of my anger. I’m still angry and it shows no sign of abating. And the anti-war, anti-America, anti-Bush demonstrators and other leftist sycophants in the arts, major news media, and Hollywood only serve to increase and focus that anger with their thoughtless attacks upon our country and our president. They know not what they do.
I think this is why Michael Moore was booed, the popularity of Dixie Chicks has plummeted, and people walked out on Pearl Jam. These people don’t realize that when they open their mouths and say these stupid things, they become the focus of that smoldering anger that us true patriots all share. As the saying goes, we are mad as hell and we aren’t going to take it anymore.
I saw the same sentiment in positive form at the State Capitol and the Convention Center last Saturday. No, I didn’t let another opportunity go by, I showed at both events. I owed at least that much to that one brave Navy man and those brave dead on Flight 93. The hundreds of people who waved and sang and cheered made it clear that they weren’t going to just sit back anymore either. Same could be said for the thousands that drove by honking and whistling and waving. There are more of us than there are of the wimps, complainers, and whiners.
Things are different. The world has changed. I am different and millions of my fellow Americans are different. It shows in everyday decisions like yellow ribbons on fences and the refusal to let the anti-war protests go unchallenged. In Portland Oregon, where I lived for many years, American flags were banned from fire engines for merely a single day. This scenario is being repeated daily. No more will the anti-patriotic dominate the streets unanswered.
So I looked at that block of cheese, thought a moment, and put it down. Next bin over was a tub of crumbled blue cheese made in upstate New York. Seemed fitting enough. That’ll do for the mean time. I’ll get more Feta in the future, but it most likely won’t be from Costco and I’ll pay a little more. It will be Feta made in Greece probably, which invented it in the first place. What do the French know about making Greek cheese anyway? Seems the least I could do. There is so much more yet to be done. Just wait until the next election.
”’Don Newman is a free-lance writer based in Honolulu. He can be reached via email at:”’ mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org