Death of a Nation

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Tonight, in the spirit of the howling, frothing medieval mob gathered in the yard at the Tower of London, we witnessed the public execution of the United States Constitution.  For years now, this entity, unique to all the world, has been tortured, flayed, starved and torn, pelted with blood, shredded by claws, and now, it meets an end from which no one who could, no one assigned the duty, had the courage to rescue it.

That so many — not a majority, mind you, but far too many — tonight are cheering its end, that is a phenomenon that those of us who still believe in the last great hope and the miraculous meeting of minds and hearts that led to its founding in the midst of a tyrannical world centuries ago will never, ever, understand.  With only our memories of liberty, we watch from the sidelines as the mob surges forward to kiss the ring of the executioner, to weep upon his feet and vow once more in those tears of rapture, to obey and succumb to whatever he asks.  He nods.  They bow.  Medieval.

Perhaps tomorrow those who do embody the word “American,” those mourning, not cheering tonight, perhaps tomorrow we can rally as those Americans who came before us did at Valley Forge; at Fredericksburg, Shiloh, and Gettysburg; in the trenches on the Western Front and the jungles of Vietnam; at Pearl Harbor, Bastogne and Normandy Beach; and at Ground Zero.  But tonight, no.  Tonight, Shakespeare.  “Good night, sweet Prince, And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”

A Wicked Masterpiece for Wicked Times

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I had the great privilege the other day of seeing the hit Broadway musical, Wicked. For years I had heard that this alternate take on The Wizard of Oz was must-see theater, but I had no idea what I was in for.

I purposely went in knowing only that this is the so-called “untold story” of a beloved American classic. And I understood that it involved serious themes, which, as I have said here before, lie at the heart of my own passion for theater.  I thus expected a story that would touch on prejudice and bigotry, and indeed I found that, but what I did not expect was such brilliant and unblinking attention paid to domestic violence, the abuse of children and animals, power and control, torture, tyranny, courage and redemption. Without revealing details, let me say as a dissident voice recently targeted for silencing, that what resonated most personally for me was the silencing of dissident voices by corrupt authority figures and fawning, feel-good minions. Sound familiar?

What I saw in the theater on that day was a retelling of a beloved American classic  that mirrors what at least one member of its audience (me) sees occurring beyond those theater doors in our own non-Ozian world. I both hope and expect that I am not alone in this, that this accounts for this show’s wild popularity, despite what the show’s creators might have intended originally. The moment art of any kind is released into the atmosphere, it becomes whatever an individual reader/viewer/audience member wishes it to be, a fact I first experienced personally years ago when a short story I had written for an undergraduate fiction seminar was suddenly being discussed as a retelling of the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden. News to me.

I speak here then as an audience member who was never a rabid fan of the original Wizard, but who now includes the “untold” version of that tale, one filled with rich and desperate themes – including one of the most powerful scenes I have ever witnessed on the stage (hint: torn flesh, the stain of blood) – on my list of all-time favorites. I urge others to see it, as well, just as I urge us all to resist the silence and the goosesteps.

No Training, No Inclination: Dr. Strangelove Exposes Obama

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Sometimes life’s moments dovetail in an unexpected coincidence that you couldn’t script even if you tried. I experienced such a moment the other night in the wake of the president’s brief words on Libya, designed to double as a lead-in to Dancing with the Stars.

As expected, said Libya-words/Dancing-intro made little impact on the universe, apart from, I would imagine, inspiring the slobbering lapdog media minions who consistently herald anything this president says as the greatest speech ever made by the greatest human in the history of humans…blah, blah, blah. (This would include, I will presume, the lapdogs this administration locks in closets to prevent objective reporting, which has allegedly happened more than once, the incarcerated lapdogs in question claiming it was a-okay with them).

Well, immediately following Obama’s latest attempt to appear hawkish to those anxiously awaiting a dance competition show, my son popped 1964’s Dr. Strangelove in the DVD player for an essay he was writing for school.  For those unfamiliar, with the talents of, among others, George C. Scott and Peter Sellars, this satirical treatise on the Cold War paints both the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. as foolish countries narcissistically bent on destroying each other, and, in the process, the world.

I wasn’t paying much attention to the film until I was called to it by a rant from American General Jack D. Ripper (such a clever, subtle name for the man who ultimately drops the bomb on the Soviets). “…today, war is too important to be left to politicians,” says the General.  “They have neither the time, the training, nor the inclination for strategic thought.”

Brilliant, I’d say, especially from a film meant as a satirical indictment of the United States military — the same United States military, mind you, that less than 20 years before this movie was made brought an end to Hitler’s final solution, as well as to Hitler himself, but Hollywood has never been known for a firm grasp of history, or morality.

No longer relevant is what General Ripper’s rant meant back in the 60s. His words find new meaning today in a post-9/11 America, a meaning far more dangerous, far more damaging than anything some avant garde film makers may have fancied back in 1964.  Coming as this rant did for me personally on the heels of a speech made by an inexperienced, incompetent, anti-military career politician perfectly embodying General Ripper’s description of such a player, it is downright frightening to watch this politician using our military like little toy soldiers for his own narcissistic ambitions.  Like I said, we couldn’t script this material or its timing better if we tried.

I would guess that General Ripper’s speechwriter back in 1964, who further “satirized” military commanders with the General telling his men that “…in conclusion, I would like to say that in the two years it has been my privilege to be your commanding officer, I have always expected the best from you, and you have never given me anything less than that…”never dreamed that his words could possibly reflect a clear and unexpected truth beyond the confines of a “revolutionary” film of the 1960s. Indeed who would have guessed that on March 28, 2011, in a dramatic coincidence, those words would serve to illuminate and expose a so-called commander-in-chief commanding the U.S. military without benefit of time, training, strategic thought or fundamental respect for our men and women in uniform in a genuinely, and increasingly, dangerous world. Dangerous times indeed. God help us all.

Lessons Learned: Beware of Arbitrary, Undefined “Change”

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To all who were lured into the touchy-feely belief two years ago or so that change for change’s sake is a goal to which we all should aspire, I would imagine, and hope, most of you are having second thoughts by now.

Those not so easily swayed know now, just as they (we) knew then, that in its most simplistic terms, change can be good, and change can be bad. To sign on haphazardly to arbitrary, undefined “change,” is to enter dangerous territory for yourself, your family, and, as we have witnessed firsthand, your country.

A quick look at history is all we need to see where that dangerous territory can lead. Hitler wanted “change.” Remember? And he made it happen.  Mao, Castro and Lenin wanted “change.”  And they made it happen.  Indeed just about every tyrant and dictator in human history has wanted change – sometimes defined for the masses, sometimes not – and with long-term, often damning consequences. On the flip side, our nation’s founders wanted change, too — clearly defined, clearly documented change — and they made it happen. Tyrants and dictators of the world (including those within our own nation’s capitol) no doubt view the success of the American experiment “dangerous,” and indeed it is for those who hunger for unbridled power and control of we the people.

And today the mainstream lapdog media, the United States president, and various pundits with undefined qualifications but clearly defined agendas, are singing the praises of change in Egypt after several weeks of undefined Egyptians demonstrating and causing mass destruction in the streets of Cairo. I won’t pretend to understand precisely what is going on in Egypt, but we all know that the Egyptian president Mubarak has stepped down, it appears the military has stepped in (the word “coup” being somewhat avoided), and the Egyptian parliament is being dissolved.  Our president, in turn, using these events to court college students in his bid for reelection in 2012, is congratulating those who have made these dreams a reality, insisting that such undefined, revolutionary “change” is what the slobbering college students are all about.

Because I am no expert, I will look to Israel, rather than the current U.S. president, for clues as to the true significance of the events in Egypt. Said U.S. president has not been what we might call supportive of Israel, so I will assume that his support for the undefined change in Egypt does not necessarily bode well for the Jewish State. Israel, in turn, has hardly been rejoicing over the events in a nation that has been the closest they have to an ally in their shared and very volatile region of the world. I also personally don’t find comforting the words “Sharia Law” and “Muslim Brotherhood” as potential consequences of the Egyptian rebellion.

Meanwhile, our president stands smiling before those cheering, maybe hungover, college students, taking credit for that rebellion, which has thus far resulted in a military coup, the loss of a parliament, and the opening of floodgates to other nations in the region who seek to destroy Israel.  But fear not, America, one of this administration’s top security officials is out there smoothing the feathers of skeptical Americans by insisting that the Muslim Brotherhood, mild and moderate “secular” organization that it is, is nothing to fear.

Sorry, this skeptical American intends to remain so.  In an era of undefined, arbitrary change, only a fool signs on without thought of consequence. Whether we’re talking light bulbs, portion control at restaurants, tin-can death-trappy “smart” cars, or national security and stability, the consequence of change for the sake of change, arbitrary and undefined, can be, and usually is, tyranny.

Pearl Harbor, a High School Debate, and Arming Our Daughters

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Sixty-nine years ago today, Japan ushered our nation into World War II with an early morning decimation of our Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor.  Imagine sitting in a typical American living room on that day of infamy, 1941, gathered with the family around the large domed ratio, listening to words from the tinny speakers almost too shocking to believe. Though I was not around in 1941 to have shared that moment, I, along with anyone reading this now, was alive and well on a terrible day in September 60 years later, when another early morning attack would, like Pearl Harbor, shake us to our core and usher us into a war with those hellbent on destroying our great nation.

Driven as I am always to find connections, I think, as well, today about a great debate that erupted organically in my son’s high school social studies class a week or so ago.  The topic: the necessity of war. As expected, many in the class regurgitated the tired liberal – fatally pre-programmed — axiom: War is never the answer. My son and his best friend held the opposing view – a view that will one day in such a setting earn them the title of “warmonger” or similar tired liberal labels. But they may take comfort from the countless souls in this world, past and present, who, in times of unspeakable circumstance and evil, are and would be forever grateful to those men and women who recognized when war was truly the only answer.

So I say to those who believe otherwise, go ahead and cling to your “war is never the answer” cliché. Ignore the suffering and salvation of victims and survivors of the Holocaust.  Ignore the suffering and salvation of men and women shackled and punished under despotic and primitive rules of “law.” And ignore the suffering and liberation of people throughout the world held as slaves and/or sentenced to the wonton cruelties and absurd policies of tyrants. Only then can you truly embrace the notion that “war is never the answer.” But for many, if not most of us, the enormity of the human suffering that has been relieved when one side takes up arms against another proves too powerful to ignore.

Which brings me to yet another connection: an article I stumbled upon yesterday on the Town Hall website entitled “Girls Just Want to Have Guns.” Here author Doug Giles discusses in graphic detail the atrocities committed against young women in our so-called feminist society – a sad and despicable state of affairs that could be averted if we only prepared our girls to declare war on the perpetrators with martial arts and weapons training.

Though the response to Mr. Giles’ piece was overwhelmingly supportive from people who obviously do wish to see their daughters, wives, moms, sisters and friends protected and prepared to fight when necessary, peppered throughout, as well, were the typical wimpy, worn anti-gun, kumbaya liberal “self-defense is never the answer” gibberish.

So once again the liberals tell us it’s just dandy to ignore a fascist dictator who is destroying an entire population with gas and ovens, because, you see, war is never the answer. Once again the liberals tell us they are perfectly content to allow tyrants to torture, maim and murder in a demented quest for power and entertainment, because, you see, war is never the answer. Indeed the morally and intellectually superior liberal types find it both commendable and necessary to accept rape, home invasion and indiscriminant murder, even against members of one’s own family, one’s own children, because, you see, war, guns, martial arts, knives, self-defense and self-protection are never the answer.

Pretty twisted viewpoint, if you ask me.  I’ll stick with those among us – the majority, I believe – who know that sometimes war is the only answer, whether that be war between nations or war waged by criminals and terrorists against our families on the homefront. And on this day, an infamous December 7th, I thank those men and women who gave their lives in Pearl Harbor that day, and every day before and after that day to keep our nation, our families and our children safe.

We Will Never Forget

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“Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?”

I awoke this morning with these words from Alan Jackson on my radio, my country station featuring such songs as Jackson’s “Where Were You” to commemorate this day, September 11th.

I know where I was. We all know where we were. And though there are some in this country with screeching voices and amplified microphones who would rather we forget, we won’t. Ever.

And that is why the vast, vast majority of Americans, all Americans, never dreamed that nine years after that September day, we would be arguing not over the design of the buildings that should replace the Twin Towers, but the building of a mosque upon the sacred ground where the Twin Towers once stood.

The opposition hurls names at this majority of Americans who wish to keep that ground, and the remains of the thousands of souls lost on that ground, sacred. They scream that we are anti-this, anti-that, phobic-this, phobic-that, and, most laughably, they claim we are un-American. For this instance and this instance only, the fundamentally frightened appeasers haul out the Constitution, claiming we who oppose the plan are defying our founders’ intent – and, most importantly, placing ourselves in grave danger.

From politicians to media hacks to talk show hosts, the politically correct ignore pleas to investigate the shady funding behind the project (which, if terror-rooted, would throw the whole “freedom of religion” argument out the window), pleading instead in so many words that if we don’t do this, if we don’t obey, they’ll hurt as again. And indeed, more than one imam has declared publicly, one on national television: If you don’t build it on that site, on that ground, where we say it must go, more attacks will follow.

The left, including the President of the United States, has heeded such threats, and, with the help of New York City’s mayor, New York’s leading candidate for Governor, various New York Congresspeople, leftwing media outlets and formerly funny late night talk-show hosts, they are trying desperately to obey the edict.

The only trouble is, we the people are not so obedient. We know conquest when we see it. We know that the same people pleading the mosque’s case would be singing a different tune if the targets on that September day had instead been Rockefeller Center or the Ed Sullivan Theater. We also happen to be far more familiar than they with our Constitution and our founders’ intent. We believe good and evil exist in this world, we believe in right and wrong, and, above all, we remember where we were when the world stopped turning on that September day. So, no, we won’t obey. And we won’t forget. Ever.

Disneyland’s Lincoln Warns Us of Dangers Within

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I don’t think I have mentioned in these posts that I am a fanatic for Disneyland (the original in California). Having grown up practically next door to the park, and working there summers during college, I have never gotten the place out of my system.

I was thus thrilled during my recent visit to the park to see that Abraham Lincoln has returned after a several-year absence in the legendary “Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.” The President returns in the audioanimatronic form and setting in which he was originally seen in the 1960s, original introductory narrative, graphics, and speech intact, said speech featuring prominently our 16th President’s profound belief in liberty; the American people; and the notion that if America is ever to be destroyed, it will be from within.

You could not be more timely, Mr. President.

This experience took me back to my one and only visit to Walt Disney World in Florida six years ago. A highlight was the Hall of Presidents, a seemingly living gathering of all American Presidents, past and present. I was fortunate to see an audioanimatronic George W. give the keynote address, as the sitting President is granted that honor. Needless to say, I won’t be returning to the great hall as long as an audioanimatronic you-know-who is featured speaker.

But seeing Disneyland’s tribute to Abraham Lincoln got me thinking: Perhaps the Powers-that-Be at Walt Disney World should consider changing things up a bit at the Florida outpost. Perhaps they should grant the speaking position to the certainly deserving President Lincoln.

Think about it, Disney-World-Powers-that-Be, would you please? Imagine Mr. Lincoln, flanked by his presidential colleagues, delivering the same words he shares with us in California:

The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty. And the American people, just now, are much in want of one.

What constitutes the bulwark of our liberty and our independence? It is not our frowning battlements, our bristling sea coasts. These are not our reliance against tyranny. Our reliance is in the love of liberty which God has planted in our bosoms.

Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands, everywhere. Destroy this spirit, and you have planted the seeds of despotism around your own doors. At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it? Shall we expect some trans-Atlantic military giant, to step the ocean, and crush us at a blow?


All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.

At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer: that if it ever is to reach us, it must spring from amongst us….If destruction be our lot, we, ourselves, must be its authors and finishers. As a nation of free men, we must live through all times, or die by suicide.

“Or die by suicide.” Think about that. And look around.

He turns then to face the current President who stands arrogantly nearby nodding to the adoring masses in his spindly designer suit. The 16th President points a long index finger at the 44th.

“I’m talking to you, Obama,” he growls.

Then, turning back to his audience, he concludes: “Let us have faith that right makes might,” he says, “and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.”

Ah, well, I can wish upon a star, can’t I?

Happy Birthday to Our Nation

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I have always loved the 4th of July for what it represents: the birth of our nation, a nation unlike any other in any imagination, at any time, anywhere. I revere the men who risked their lives to create this grand experiment, and the men, women and families who have sacrificed their lives for us to keep it.

But today I find myself reflecting on the fact that this year we observe a 4th like no other. We celebrate our nation’s birth at a time when she faces a great danger unlike any other. Certainly our nation has faced danger before, particularly back in the 1860s during a war that threatened to tear us apart. But our threat today comes from forces within our own government who seek to tear our nation down and rewrite her story to fit a twisted view that in no way resembles what she is and what she is meant to be.

I refuse to see this happen. And I end today, as I listen to the songs that celebrate the greatness of our nation and the people throughout our history who have created and preserved that greatness, knowing I am not alone in my resolve. I remain faithful, even as those in Washington attempt to dismantle and shred the Constitution that is our backbone, that the vast majority of us beyond those cloistered DC walls feel the same in our collective devotion to that nation we are blessed to call home. I thank all of you who over this last year since I began writing on these pages have stood up with me and confirmed what we all know to be true about the American spirit and its endurance.

So now together we embark on the road to the next 4th. Together let us pray — especially after an important wake-up call we are confident will be coming in November to push those deadly forces back — that this time next year we will be breathing a great sigh of relief, knowing we are headed back from the brink. In the meantime, my humble thanks go out as they do every year to our founders, to our troops who keep and have always kept our nation and our children safe, to the courageous and often unsung heroes who have made the nation what she is, and to our God for remaining with us in our past and in our present. Happy birthday, America. Not a day goes by that we are not grateful for you.

Generations of Sacrifice

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February 16, 2010 | Comments

I’ve received some interesting, not entirely unexpected, feedback in regard to my most recent post on Patrick Kennedy’s (D-RI) decision not to seek reelection to his seat in the House of Representatives this year.

As we all know, the Kennedy legacy (or mythology) is alive and well, and we are all entitled to our own opinions and interpretations of it. What puzzled, and even saddened me, as I read the feedback opposing the opinion I presented in the February 12th post, was the generalized statement that no family has sacrificed more for this country than the Kennedys.

I’m sorry, but that simply is not true.

The history of the United States is graced with countless families that for generations have sacrificed everything to build, protect and maintain this great nation of ours. From the pioneers who first carved out an existence on the eastern coastal regions of the United States, then moved westward, facing unspeakable hardships to create our notion of “sea to shining sea;” to immigrants who brought to life such wonders of the world as railroads, skyscrapers, tunnels through the Rockies, and their own proud multi-generational dynasties and traditions in the promised land that is America; to slaves that made the ultimate sacrifice to claim freedom for their children; to those military families that for generations have devoted themselves to the protection of our nation and our Constitution….each has demonstrated the extraordinary brand of sacrifice that has for centuries set this country apart from every other nation on earth.

So please don’t insult or belittle these families, some renowned, some not, that have made America what she is and always has been. Most families cannot boast Presidents and Congressmen among their ranks, and, thankfully, most have never experienced political assassination. Yet virtually every family has experienced its own victories and injustice, and, like the Kennedys, its own brand of tragedy, self-made and otherwise. In other words, all have sacrificed, and in a land where all are created equal, all families that have sacrificed for this nation are worthy of honor – even if they don’t have powerful public relations teams and unbridled wealth behind them to tell their stories.

America is the product of these families, some who have been here from the very beginning, others who came later, all lured by the legendary promise of a nation unlike any history has ever witnessed. So go ahead and tell me precisely why a certain individual of a certain family may be deserving of a certain honor, reputation or office (more than merely a name, please) – and I may or may not agree with you. But let us also agree that the heart and soul of this nation are the many, many families who have made this country what she is, families that I believe remain devoted to that same mission today. I remain forever grateful to them, even if I don’t happen to know their names.

Betsy Siino | Comments

Massachusetts Miracle 2010

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January 19, 2010 | Comments

And now we can breathe. He won. Scott Brown won. And we have witnessed a miracle in Massachusetts akin to the same miracle that occurred in Massachusetts more than two centuries ago that led to the birth of the United States of America.

This is huge, folks. But I don’t have to tell you that. Massachusetts, a state dominated by democrats three to one elects a republican to the Senate for the first time in three decades. But it goes so much deeper than that. The seat this republican won “belonged” to Ted Kennedy, the beloved “liberal lion,” a virtual god in Massachusetts (or so we were told), whose legacy issue was the health-care bill currently being jammed down our….er, I mean, currently making its way through Congress. The symbolism is just more than I can even stand!

In only a few short weeks, Scott Brown overcame a double-digit deficit behind a woman of the democrat machine, a woman who promised she would do everything Uncle Teddy – and the current President – would want. A woman America was apt to assume was exactly what Massachusetts would want.

But then tonight the miracle occurred.

They tried to stop it. Bill Clinton, Uncle Teddy’s son Patrick, John Kerry (the other U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, who you know is shaking in his boots tonight knowing that he, too, could fall victim to these voters he formerly always trusted), and yes, even the President of the United States himself – to Massachusetts they came, singing the praises of the machine and their candidate’s place in it. But the voters of Massachusetts, the patriots who cast their votes for Scott Brown, they took as much heed of the Traveling Democrat Show as the voters in Virginia and New Jersey did last November.

Tonight we watched a state of deepest blue exercise the true spirit of America – and it did so on the eve of the first anniversary of this truck-hating President’s inauguration (again, you just can’t beat the symbolism here). Indeed tonight we witnessed history – and a wake-up call to politicians coast to coast, democrats and republicans alike. We have reminded them that we are the ones with the power, and they had better never again ignore and dismiss our anger and our fury. If these politicians who have carried this administration’s water were nervous before this election – and the San Francisco Chronicle even admitted today that has been the case in California, who have been watching the Massachusetts race very carefully – they are downright terrified now.

Lots of soul searching going on tonight among these so-called elected representatives of ours, I’m sure. Am I really going to sacrifice my career and everything I have accomplished for this  guy in the White House? Should I start listening to the American people — and to my own conscience – and realize I have been following marching orders from a guy who has never even had a job in a 7-11? Do I really want to identify with the unbridled arrogance and name-calling that has spread like a virus through the halls of power of this great nation?

We’ll see, won’t we. In the meantime, we can celebrate tonight the miracle in Massachusetts, the first shot in our taking our country back to where it is meant to be. But you know, maybe it wasn’t a miracle. The founding of America was a miracle, to be sure, but the American people’s fierce determination to protect this nation and her Constitution and her people is anything but. That is our mandate, our responsibility, our honor and our privilege.

Throughout the insanity we have endured over the past couple of years as we have watched our country overtaken by leftists, globalists, appeasers, terrorist sympathizers (you know who I’m talking about), I have always maintained that the heart and soul of the American people has remained what I always believed it to be. And tonight, yet again, they have not let me down. Thank you, Massachusetts. And thank you, America. Good night.

Betsy Siino | Comments