Thursday, October 06, 2005

A Little Bit Drunk

It wasn’t easy being enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Two weeks pay never lasted two weeks. The Saturday evenings before payday were like the movie Groundhog Day. Every Saturday evening before payday was a repeat of the previous Saturday evening before payday.

Marines back then would scrape together their last few pennies and head over to the base club to hang with other depressed Marines and sip the cheapest beer on the planet. The base club never managed to stay open until closing time because the beer money didn’t last that long. As the last remnants of the paychecks were handed over to the bartender and as the brews took effect, the frustration of the Marines grew, and as the frustration grew, the Marines needed to fight. The last person in the world a Marine wants to fight is another Marine. However, if the only person available to fight is another Marine, the other Marine will have to do.

Republicans this week have been acting like frustrated and depressed Marines, the Saturday before payday, and a little bit drunk. Some conservative Republicans were so ready for a fight with the Democrats that when no Democrat's showed up to fight, they had to take out their frustration on other Republicans. They are frustrated by the fact they have labored so hard to acquire some power and they are depressed by the fact they are not able to have all of the power. Just like a Marine wanting more beer, these conservatives wanted more power.

Marines who woke up on a Sunday morning in 1980 with a black eye, a swollen jaw, and various bruises knew that payday was just around the corner and good times were on the way. It is amazing how men trained to do serious bodily injury to others with their bare hands are able to restrain their aggression when fighting another Marine. Perhaps it is a sixth sense or perhaps it is just the honor of a serious fight to a draw with a comrade.

The Marine Corps Private, the Saturday before payday, after a beer or two, seems to have more honor than some of the conservative commentators this week. It is one thing to disagree with the decision of President Bush. Maybe our President deserves a bruise or two. It is an entirely different matter to try to take him out completely. Claiming that President Bush has lost the right to be trusted due to one bad decision is wrong and completely over the top. A person does not lose the right to be trusted for being wrong. A person does lose the right to be trusted for not keeping their word, or breaking a promise, or telling a lie. President Bush can not possibly be right all of the time, but he has done nothing to forfeit our trust.

As crazy as it sounds, the fights on base between Marines are good for the Marine Corps. It is good to know the guys you are going to battle with have what it takes and are willing to do whatever it takes to win the battle. The guy with the courage to fight, and the control to know when to stop fighting, is the guy I want next to me in any battle.

There are many Republicans this week who need to develop a little control to go along with their rhetoric. If they are able to develop control, the conservative movement will strengthen and good times will be on the way. However, if conservatives are not able to develop control, all of the hard work will have been in vain.

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