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Will we ever learn Mr. Buckley’s lesson?

“That the so-called conservative, uncomfortably disdainful of controversy, seldom has the energy to fight his battles, while the radical, so often a member of the minority, exerts disproportionate influence because of his dedication to his cause."

I might not be so disquieted if those words had been spoken last month, last year or even last decade.  Tragically, these wise words were written by William F. Buckley, Jr. almost 60 years ago in his brilliant tome, "God and Man at Yale."

I wish I could tell the venerable Mr. Buckley that we have learned this lesson.  I wish I could point to endless examples of the silent majority roaring. But I can’t.  I watch staid, professorial water cooler debates.  I read, and participate in, blog chats where conservatives work to impress each other on-line with a firm grasp of the nuances of political arguments.  So much preaching to the choir it is dizzying.  And yet I have watched monuments defaced, recruiting stations attacked, and anti-war marches go unaddressed.  It is a deafening silence.

For 40 years the anti-war left and their ever increasing posse of socialists, communists and anarchists have set the tone for public debate and decreed rally etiquette.  They have mastered the use of bullhorns, speaker systems and verbal aggression.  They have set the rules for inflammatory signs, inappropriate settings and visually charged imagery.  They have draped flags on coffins, burned and desecrated flags, screamed war-mongers and baby killers at our soldiers and berated veterans and their families.  For the most part, they have done this without opposition, without consequence and without censure…indeed the mainstream press is virtually orgasmic with every anti-American, anti-military effort the left makes.

When will we learn?

Certainly there is the tap, tap tap of the keyboard on the right.  Conservative blogs place a tiny finger on pent up frustrations and allows wisps of steam to escape.  Online magazines and websites disseminate material with dizzying speed and are often a lifeline to those who have spent decades without a sense of camaraderie or stable of publications.  The mainstream media, content for decades in their ability to drive the information stream, are no longer able to allow only their leftist sanctioned propaganda onto the airwaves.  Dan Rather knows this lesson first hand thanks to a member of the new media.

I admit to moments of despair and frustration, but for the first time in a very, very long time, I have been given glimpses of hope on the horizon.  Like a battle weary soldier catching sight of reinforcements just over the hill, I see changes on the front line and I am heartened.  Anti-war rallies, dating back to March 17 of this year to as recently as last week at the Coast Guard and West Point Commencements, finally had vocal, charismatic members of the opposition on the other side of the permit.  A collection of individuals and organizations, spearheaded by the newly hatched Gathering of Eagles, seems to have tapped into the frustrations I have felt for decades.  Lacking access to the deep pockets and well funded ANSWER and Moveon, GOE managed to out number anti-war protestors in Washington, D.C. in March 2007 by a 3 to 1 margin.  While decidedly non-partisan, it appears that GOE might finally be taking up the baton that Mr. Buckley tried to pass almost six decades ago.

What is especially heartening is the swelling sound of whimpering and whining on the left.  Like spoiled little children who must finally be held accountable for the very chess game they created, they moan about the big, mean, scary opposition.  They whine about the harsh words and the loud bullhorns aimed in their direction.  They have the unmitigated audacity to hold flags upside down and wave signs at the recent academy graduations with vitriolic and ugly slogans, including “Gathering of Eagles, Bush’s Gestapo” and then ball up their righteous little fists and cry foul when countered.

One leftist whined, “ I heard derogatory name calling directed at those who were demonstrated (sic) against the Iraq war and/or urging the impeachment of Bush and Cheney. I heard attempts to drown out speakers at the anti-war rally, including the parents of a soldier who was killed in Iraq. That to me showed the utmost disrespect and contempt for this family whose son had given his all.”

This lefty apparently thinks that using chants and bullhorns is only acceptable when the slogans he approves of are chanted.  That the only inflammatory signs that are acceptable are those disparaging our leaders or our troops and the only mothers worthy of compassion are the ones on the left who agree with their platform. 

Where was this kinder and gentler lefty when Judith Young, a Gold Star Mother, opened her inbox to find this “fan” letter from one of his mates, “   Puhleeze, offering comfort to mothers whose children were killed while fighting an illegal war. NEVER. Those fools got exactly what they deserved and I can only hope and pray that the tears of their mothers will form a flood of biblical proportions but NEVER find any comfort. solace or peace. If these "mothers" were truly concerned with their childs welfare, then they would have protested sending them to fight in an illegal war. THEY DIDN’T and GOT WHAT THEY DESERVE. I hope this mother’s day and every subsequent one will reopen the wounds and overwhelm these stupid (*&()_ so that they end up taking their own pathetic and worthless lives!!!”

I don’t know what the future holds for GOE and the other organizations out there that might finally be at a tipping point in this stacked game.  Perhaps this was a bright flame that hit its flash point when the monuments were threatened in March.  Perhaps it is the first chess move in a game where we play by the same rules.  At last.

Mr. Buckley, I hope we’re listening.

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Ms. O'Malley is a freelance writer from the New York City area and has been a non-profit fundraiser for 15 years. Write her at katiehastingsomalley@yahoo.com

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