April 12, 2014
We should all be alarmed by the extent to which roles of parents and families have been relinquished to government. As Ronald Reagan once said, “As government grows, liberty contracts.” What should be the administration of academic learning and a few basic social skills has grown into a monstrous dependence on government to meet the needs of children, from food, to shelter, to moral instruction. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, “As dependency on the public school system grows, the American family contracts.”
The following is the aggregate list of services offered, decade by decade, by America’s public schools. Jamie Vollmer, a teacher, consultant, and public education advocate, compiled this list as evidence for his argument that public schools need and are worthy of ever increasing levels of funding. Although I am using Vollmer’s list in it’s original form, my purpose in using it is not to support the growth of government-run education, but instead to reveal how many parental responsibilities have been taken up by public schools.
It’s alarming to see the the extent to which roles of parents and families have been relinquished to a government entity. As Ronald Reagan once said, “As government grows, liberty contracts.” What should be the administration of academic learning and a few basic social skills has grown into a monstrous dependence on government to increasingly meet the needs of children from food, to shelter, to moral instruction. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, “As dependency on the public school system grows, the American family contracts.”
From 1900 to 1910, we shifted to the school responsibilities related to:.
- Health (Activities in the health arena multiply every year.)
From 1910 to 1930, we added:.
- Physical education (including organized athletics)
- The Practical Arts/Domestic Science/Home economics (including sewing and cooking)
- Vocational education (including industrial and agricultural education)
- Mandated school transportation
In the 1940s, we added:.
- Business education (including typing, shorthand, and bookkeeping)
- Art and music
- Speech and drama
- Half-day kindergarten
- School lunch programs (We take this for granted today, but it was a huge step to shift to the schools the job of feeding America’s children one third of their daily meals.)
In the 1950s, we added:.
- Expanded science and math education
- Safety education
- Driver’s education
- Expanded music and art education
- Stronger foreign language requirements
- Sex education (Topics continue to escalate.)
In the 1960s, we added:.
- Advanced Placement programs
- Head Start
- Title I
- Adult education
- Consumer education (purchasing resources, rights and responsibilities)
- Career education (occupational options, entry level skill requirements)
- Peace, leisure, and recreation education [Loved those sixties.]
In the 1970s, the breakup of the American family accelerated,
and we added:.
- Drug and alcohol abuse education
- Parenting education (techniques and tools for healthy parenting)
- Behavior adjustment classes (including classroom and communication skills)
- Character education
- Special education (mandated by federal government)
- Title IX programs (greatly expanded athletic programs for girls)
- Environmental education
- Women’s studies
- African-American heritage education
- School breakfast programs (Now some schools feed America’s children two-thirds of their daily meals throughout the school year and all summer. Sadly, these are the only decent meals some children receive.)
In the 1980s, the floodgates opened, and we added:.
- Keyboarding and computer education
- Global education
- Multicultural/Ethnic education
- Nonsexist education
- English-as-a-second-language and bilingual education
- Teen pregnancy awareness
- Hispanic heritage education
- Early childhood education
- Jump Start, Early Start, Even Start, and Prime Start
- Full-day kindergarten
- Preschool programs for children at risk
- After-school programs for children of working parents
- Alternative education in all its forms
- Stranger/danger education
- Antismoking education
- Sexual abuse prevention education
- Expanded health and psychological services
- Child abuse monitoring (a legal requirement for all teachers)
In the 1990s, we added:.
- Conflict resolution and peer mediation
- HIV/AIDS education
- CPR training
- Death education
- America 2000 initiatives (Republican)
- Expanded computer and internet education
- Distance learning
- Tech Prep and School to Work programs
- Technical Adequacy
- Post-secondary enrollment options
- Concurrent enrollment options
- Goals 2000 initiatives (Democratic)
- Expanded Talented and Gifted opportunities
- At risk and dropout prevention
- Homeless education (including causes and effects on children)
- Gang education (urban centers)
- Service learning
- Bus safety, bicycle safety, gun safety, and water safety education
In the first decade of the twenty-first century, we added:.
- No Child Left Behind (Republican)
- Bully prevention
- Anti-harassment policies (gender, race, religion, or national origin)
- Expanded early childcare and wrap around programs
- Elevator and escalator safety instruction
- Body Mass Index evaluation (obesity monitoring)
- Organ donor education and awareness programs
- Personal financial literacy
- Entrepreneurial and innovation skills development
- Media literacy development
- Contextual learning skill development
- Health and wellness programs
- Race to the Top (Democratic)
Please visit JamieVollmer.com to read more about him and his list.
Posted by Marjorie Haun 4/12/14
This article contributed by Revealing Politics was published on ColoradoWatchDog.org on April 9, and posted with permission by Reagangirl.com April 10, 2014.
Equal pay is great, until it applies to Colorado Democrats
By Revealing Politics posted April 9, 2014
For “Equal Pay Day,” Colorado Democrats in the Legislature offered up a joint resolution to support equal pay for equal work. Republicans in the Colorado Senate supported the idea, so much so, that they offered an amendment to resolve two offices held by top elected officials should offer equal pay for equal work as well: the White House and that of U.S. Sen. Mark Udall.
This amendment derailed the resolution and the majority party decided to postpone a decision. See the video:
This article contributed by Revealing Politics was published on ColoradoWatchDog.org on April 9, and posted with permission by Reagangirl.com April 10, 2014.
April 8, 2014
“Like buzzards on carrion, Democrats swarm mass tragedies which occur outside of human control and exploit them as justification for creating bad policies which, in turn, lead to human-caused mass tragedies.” ~Reagangirl
FROM THE DESK OF OLD SARGE:
Well, once again we see the Democrats following one of their prime directives; i.e. never let a good crisis go to waste. Bodies were still being wheeled into surgery at Fort Hood when Democrat politicians and talking heads in the media started their clarion call for gun control. These people are despicable, and use everything from tragedies to funerals to promote their party line.
Obama, while making a series of cliched speeches oriented towards the low-information types, alleged that Republicans want to take away everyone’s health insurance. Mr President, no one has taken more health insurance policies away from the American people than you have! Since the implementation of Obamacare, over seven million policies have been cancelled, many of them being family policies, as insurance companies struggle to adapt to your “one size fits all” insurance requirements. You falsely claim that seven million people are now signed up for Obamacare, but you fail to mention that more than ten million are now uninsured because of your brutal health care law. That sounds like a three million person loss overall, if I remember my high school math rightly.
Certainly we are now firmly in the era of the “Newspeak” that George Orwell predicted.
- Premiums are going up and up, but Obama says they are going down.
- 7.5 million signups were expected by Democrats by the end of November, but we are being told that that the seven million signups allegedly recorded on 1 April have met the stated goal.
- The economy sucks, but we are being told by Obama and his party that it is booming, partly because of Obamacare.
- Pelosi tells us Obamacare will create jobs, but the nation is still losing jobs, and the mandates for business haven’t even clicked in yet.
- Obama drones are being told things other than the reality, and they are cheering like good little Germans at Nuremberg in 1932.
- Most absurd of all, Obama has implied that getting health care coverage gives a person dignity and self worth.
Mr President, those values come from a much higher authority than yours, sir! An authority that you do not truly accept, since you know of nothing higher than yourself. You incessantly push forward enslavement of the people by the state, and you disregard the Constitution and the holy principles that this country was founded on. So do not belittle that which instills dignity and hope into the thinking individual!
Go with God, my valued brothers and sisters, and remember that nothing can silence the real Master, the true source of hope and dignity in the universe.
- The Sarge
Old Sarge, Forrest L. Gomez, is a Vietnam veteran, patriot, author and friend to Reagangirl.com. This post was published with permission on 4/8/14
April 8, 2014
Written and originally posted by the staff at TheVeteransSite.com
The Homecoming They Never Had
This is a sad but true story of a Kentucky base that was socially ostracized on their trip back home from Vietnam War. In fact, it was once said that “at no point in our country’s history have our veterans been hurt more by our own countrymen than by the enemy.”
Watch as they finally get the homecoming they deserved so many years ago!
As seen on TheVeteransSite.com , originally posted one year ago.
Reposted by Reagangirl.com 4/8/14
April 7, 2014
This article was originally published by Zbigniew Mazurak and subsequently posted on Reagangirl.com, April 7, 2014.
Strategic Command and State Department confirm: Russia is building UP its nuclear arsenal
For many years, this writer has been warning against any reductions in the US nuclear arsenal, based on the fact that Russia was building up its own, China’s nuclear arsenal’s size was unknown and likely to be in the thousands of warheads, and North Korea’s nuclear capabilities were steadily increasing.
Accordingly, this writer has always consistently opposed any cuts in the US nuclear arsenal, including those mandated by the New START treaty, and has argued vocally against proposals by Obama admin officials and non-governmental arms control advocates like the “Arms Control Association” to cut the nuclear deterrent even further.
As time passed, more and more evidence emerged proving this writer’s claims – and proving nuclear disarmament advocates wrong.
But last Wednesday, the most powerful piece of evidence arrived: State Department cables from Moscow and Congressional testimony by Adm. Cecil Haney, commander of the Strategic Command, in charge of America’s entire nuclear commander.
According to US State Department diplomats in Moscow, who monitor Russia daily, Moscow is “vastly increasing” its nuclear arsenal and aims to reach “nuclear superiority over, not nuclear parity with, the US”, as Bill Gertz reports in his newest column in the Washington Free Beacon.
This is consistent with previous media and think-tank reports that Russia was building up its nuclear arsenal, was building additional strategic Tu-160 bombers, and had ordered 400 new ICBMs. The State Department and Bill Gertz have now simply confirmed this.
Thus, we have irrefutable evidence that a) Russia is dramatically increasing its nuclear arsenal, and b) its buildup is aimed at achieving nuclear superiority over, not parity with, the US. Which also proves that New START is a treasonous treaty highly dangerous to US and allied security, because it requires nuclear arsenal cuts only of the US, while allowing Russia to dramatically increase its own arsenal.
Russia currently has:
- About 414-434 ICBMs capable of delivering at least 1,684 (and probably more) nuclear warheads to the CONUS, with its fleet of 68-75 SS-18 Satan ICBMs alone being able to deliver 10 warheads each (750 in total);
- 13 ballistic missile submarines, each armed with 16 ballistic missiles (20 in the case of the sole Typhoon class boat), each missile being itself capable of delivering 4-8 warheads (12 in the future, when Bulava and Liner missiles replace the currently-used Skiff) to the CONUS even if launched from Russian ports (Moscow has had such long-ranged missiles since the late 1980s), meaning over 1,400 warheads in total deliverable by Russia’s strategic submarine fleet;
- 251 strategic bombers (Tu-95, Tu-160, Tu-22M), each capable of delivering between 7 (Tu-95) and 12 (Tu-22M) nuclear warheads to the CONUS. Russian bombers have, in recent years, repeatedly flown close to, and sometimes into, US airspace.
- 2,800 strategic nuclear warheads in total, of which 1,500 are now deployed – and more will be deployed in the future – on the forementioned ICBMs, submarines, and bombers.
- Over 20 attack and cruise missile submarines, each carrying nuclear-armed cruise missiles (one such submarine of the Akula class popped up last year near the US submarine base at King’s Bay, GA).
- The world’s largest tactical nuclear arsenal, with around 4,000 warheads deliverable by a very wide range of systems, from short-range ballistic missiles to artillery pieces to tactical aircraft (Su-24, Su-25, the Flanker family, Su-34), to surface ships using nuclear depth charges.
- Illegal (banned by the INF Treaty) intermediate-range nuclear-armed missiles (Yars-M, R-500, Iskander-M) that can target any place in Europe and China. (Nonetheless, despite these facts, the Obama administration and NATO are too afraid to recognize and name Russia as an INF Treaty violator.)
Russia is now dramatically increasing that arsenal, as the State Department and the Strategic Command’s leader have now confirmed. In addition to deploying more warheads and building more bombers from stockpiled components, it is:
- Deploying new submarine-launched ballistic missiles (the Bulava and the Liner) that can carry 10-12 warheads each. Russia plans to procure around 140-150 missiles of each type; when these are fully deployed on Russia’s 13 ballistic missile subs, that fleet will be able to carry 2,000-2,200 nuclear warheads all by itself.
- Deploying additional Yars-M, R-500, and Iskander-M IRBMs – in violation of the INF Treaty.
Russia is also steadily modernizing its existing nuclear arsenal and fleet of delivery systems. It is:
- Developing and deploying a new class of ballistic missile submarines capable of carrying missiles such as the Bulava and the Liner. Two of them have already been commissioned and at least eight in total will be built.
- Developing a next-generation intercontinental bomber, slated to first fly in 2020 – before the USAF’s planned Long Range Strike Bomber will.
- Developing a new submarine-launched cruise missile, the Kaliber;
- Procuring and deploying a new air-launched cruise missile, the Kh-101/102;
- Developing and deploying three new ICBM types – the light Yars (RS-24, SS-29) to replace the single-warhead Topol and Topol-M missiles, the midweight Avangard/Rubezh (slated to replace SS-19 Stiletto missiles), and the Sarmat (AKA Son of Satan), intended to replace the SS-18 Satan heavy ICBMs.
- Developing a rail-based ICBM type on top of the forementioned ICBM classes.
- Developing a hypersonic missile that could carry nuclear warheads to any point on Earth in an hour and easily penetrate US missile defenses.
Note that the RS-24 (SS-29) Yars ICBMs will be able to carry 10 warheads each, whereas the missiles they’re replacing – the Topol (SS-25 Sickle) and Topol-M (SS-27 Sickle-B) – can carry only one warhead. Therefore, as these missiles enter service, the warhead carriage capacity of the Russian ICBM fleet will greatly increase beyond the (already huge) number of 1,684 warheads immediately deliverable to the CONUS.
By 2018, 80%, and by 2021, 100% of Russia’s ICBMs will be missiles of the new generation – the he Avangard/Rubezh, and the Sarmat heavy ICBM, as well as the forementioned rail-based ICBM.
By contrast, the US, under the Obama administration, has unilaterally retired and scrapped its nuclear-armed Tomahawk submarine-launched cruise missiles and their warheads, plans to kill the procurement of conventional Tomahawks, has no program to replace its ICBMs or air-launched cruise missiles, has delayed the induction of its next-generation bomber until the mid-2020s (and plans to procure only 80-100 of these crucial aircraft), has no plans to develop or deploy mobile ICBMs or medium- or short-range ballistic missiles, and has delayed its ballistic missile submarine replacement program. And even when these boats enter service, there will be only 12 of them, each carrying 16 missiles as opposed to the current Ohio class carrying 24 missiles each.
This is as simple as “Russia and China have nuclear-armed submarine- and ground-launched cruise missiles and IRBMs, the US does not.”
Which means that, even without further cuts, the US will be at a nuclear disadvantage vis-a-vis Russia (and China).
Russia would’ve been a huge nuclear threat necessitating the maintenance of the US nuclear arsenal at no less than its current size even WITHOUT this nuclear buildup. With it, it is becoming an even greater nuclear threat, thus necessitating that the US nuclear arsenal be increased, too.
This isn’t just Zbigniew Mazurak speaking; this is the State Department (through its diplomats in Moscow) and the Strategic Command’s leader, Adm. Haney (who is in charge of all US nuclear weapons), speaking. As Bill Gertz of the Washington Free Beacon reports:
“The blunt comments [by Adm. Haney - ZM] came in response to reports that Russian strategic nuclear forces recently held a large-scale nuclear exercise coinciding with saber-rattling conventional military deployments close to Russia’s eastern border with Ukraine.
Haney said the Russians conduct periodic nuclear war games and in 2013 produced a YouTube video that highlighted “every aspect of their capability.” (…)
State Department cables sent to Washington earlier this year included dire warnings that Russia is vastly increasing its nuclear arsenal under policies similar to those Moscow followed during the Soviet era. The cables, according to officials familiar with them, also stated that the Russian strategic nuclear forces buildup appears aimed at achieving nuclear superiority over the United States and not nuclear parity.
The nuclear modernization has been “continuous” and includes adding fixed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and mobile ICBMs, along with a new class of strategic missile submarines, Haney said in testimony.
“Russia has articulated their value in having strategic capability, and as such, each area they have invested in both in terms of nuclear strategic capability as well as space capability and cyberspace capability in terms of things,” Haney said.
“And as a result, we have seen them demonstrate their capability through a variety of exercises and operations. They maintain their readiness of that capability on a continuous fashion. And it’s a capability I don’t see them backing away from.”
By contrast, Haney testified to the committee that U.S. nuclear forces are in urgent need of modernization to update aging nuclear weapons, delivery systems, and support and production infrastructure, most of which were made decades ago. Under budget sequestration, which could be re-imposed in 2016, U.S. nuclear force modernization will be undermined.”
These facts utterly refute any claims – including those of Barack Obama, Congressional Democrats, and other nuclear disarmament advocates like the Arms Control Association and the Ploughshares Fund – that the US has too many warheads and can afford to cut its nuclear arsenal safely, or that this arsenal is a “Cold War relic” cutting which is “overdue and in the national interest.”
These despicable traitors wanted – and still want – America to cut its nuclear arsenal further and unilaterally, without Russian reciprocation. And for that, they should be severely punished with the maximum penalty foreseen by law for treason.
They have been blatantly lying. All of their claims, without any exception, are blatant lies. No, the US nuclear is not “too large”, “ripe for cuts”, nor a “Cold War relic.” No, its mission is not obsolete by any means – on the contrary, its mission (nuclear deterrence) is more important now than ever. No, cutting the US nuclear arsenal is not “overdue” nor “in the national interest” – it would be completely AGAINST the US national interest and utterly suicidal. It would invoke a Russian nuclear first strike on the US.
No, America cannot afford to cut its nuclear arsenal ANY FURTHER. It should increase, not cut, her nuclear arsenal.
Specifically, the US must:
- Not enter into any more arms reduction agreements ever again, especially not with countries which routinely violate such treaties, like Russia.
- Not reduce its nuclear arsenal by even one warhead and not retire any warheads except those whose service lives cannot be extended.
- Begin quickly increasing its arsenal and the production of cheap, simple plutonium-based warheads. Ample plutonium for their production can be easily obtained from spent fuel from American nuclear reactors.
- Resume nuclear testing.
- Accelerate the development of the Long-Range Strike Bomber and procure 200, not 80-100, of these aircraft; and require that they be certified as nuclear-capable from the moment they enter service.
- Quickly begin developing and procuring new, longer-ranged, stealthy replacements for the USAF’s cruise missiles as well as the Navy’s Tomahawk. The new cruise missiles should be of the same type, launchable from a wide range of platforms, and capable of delivering nuclear and conventional warheads. Their range should be at least 2,000 kms.
- Accelerate the development of hypersonic weapons. The B-52, the B-1, and the B-2 should all be made capable of launching hypersonic missiles. The HTV and Blackswift programs should also be resumed.
- Accelerate the Ohio class replacement program.
- Develop and deploy a new ICBM for the USAF, which should come in rail- and silo-based variants.
- Build more tactical nuclear warheads to reassure US allies around the world.
Once again, it must be repeated: THE US MUST NOT CUT ITS NUCLEAR ARSENAL ANY FURTHER, WHETHER UNI-, BI-, OR MULTILATERALLY. PERIOD.
The opinions expressed by Ziggy’s Defense Blog do not necessarily reflect those of Reagangirl.com.
April 5, 2014
Meet three species still struggling despite the Endangered Species Act
By Travis Perry / April 4, 2014
OSAWATOMIE, Kan. — There’s no doubt about it, the Endangered Species Act is the kind of fuzzy, feel-good legislation that most people can back in theory. After all, who doesn’t like the idea of protecting Mother Nature?
But in practice, steps taken to protect flora and fauna often pit folks against one another. The battle usually comes down to protecting people versus plants and animals.
But a quick look at the ESA’s success rate sheds light on reasons for the opposition. In the Wall Street Journal in December, Damien Schiff and Julie MacDonald opined on the ESA’s recovery statistics:
A law intended to conserve species and habitat has brought about the recovery of only a fraction —less than 2% — of the approximately 2,100 species listed as endangered or threatened since 1973. Meanwhile, the law has endangered the economic health of many communities—while creating a cottage industry of litigation that does more to enrich environmental activist groups than benefit the environment.
Though the debate has been recently revived in Kansas because of the recent “threatened” listing of the lesser prairie-chicken, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lists at least 18 threatened or endangered species that live in or cross through the Sunflower State. And at least three of them have seen mixed results after being brought under federal protection.
The American Burying Beetle (Nicrophorus americanus)
A carnivorous bug that has been listed as “endangered” since 1989, the American Burying Beetle can be found in Chautauqua, Elk, Labette, Montgomery and Wilson counties in Kansas. A five-year review released by USFWS in 2008 admits that despite the insect’s protected status, a number of factors surrounding its conservation are foggy.
“The biological and ecological factors that are sustaining ABB populations in different locations within the species range, and the threats to those factors, remain poorly understood for most occurrences,” USFWS reported.
Aside from human encroachment, conservationist’s best guess is that population numbers are also partially affected by the availability of animal carcasses, on which the beetle feeds and breeds.
The last beetle population study in Kansas took place in 2001, and so far all known occurrences have been on private land.
“The USFWS lacks reliable data to indicate whether the habitat base is stable within the four-county area of the occurrence,” the report stated.
The Whooping Crane (Grus Americana)
Without a doubt, the Grus Americana, better known as the Whooping Crane, is the poster child for environmental protection. Sadly, its population figures haven’t reflected the sheer amount of effort that has been poured into conservation of the species.
Figures dating back to 1949 pin the wild population as low as 15 birds. The crane was listed as “endangered” in 1967, and in 2010 the number of wild birds was pegged at just shy of 400. While it’s an impressive comeback, it’s still far from where it needs to be.
Human population growth and environmental factors, such as extreme droughts and blizzards, have hurt the Whooping Crane’s recovery. USFWS estimates it would take as many as 1,000 birds to avoid genetic degradation of the species.
According to a 2009 report, the federal government planned to spend upward of $15.7 million between then and now to promote recovery of the crane. However, USFWS said at the time it would ideally need an additional $41.7 million to purchase easements for 40,000 acres of winter habitat and buffer zones, among other initiatives.
But even with such an extreme focus, the future is bleak. At best, the population might recover by 2035.
“Given the many threats to breeding, migration and wintering habitat, it is unlikely the whooping crane will ever become abundant,” USFWS wrote in a 2007 international recovery plan for the crane.
Mead’s Milkweed (Asclepia Meadii)
While species conservation usually conjures images of furry woodland creatures, plant life are also among those under federal protection. Mead’s Milkweed has been listed as “threatened” since 1988 due to habitat destruction, the advancement of invasive species consumption by weevils, deer and cattle, just to name a few factors.
But there’s a kicker: The feds aren’t really even sure if things are getting better.
“Current monitoring data is not sufficient to determine whether populations have been stable or increasing for 15 years,” USFWS wrote in a five-year review released in November.
But that didn’t stop them from making dire predictions.
“Based on the continuing threats, and the lack of recovery of viable populations, this species may become endangered in the foreseeable future throughout all or significant portions of its range,” the report stated.
Contact Travis Perry at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter at@muckraker62. Like Watchdog.org? Click HERE to get breaking news alerts in YOUR state!
Posted by Travis Perry of Kansas Watchdog and reposted with permission by Reagangirl.com April 5, 2014
April 4, 2014
This rant comes from the sweat-soaked horror in which I awoke the other night upon realizing that one of the best movies of my young adulthood was responsible for the destruction of the American family and the emasculation of two generations of men.
Don’t be deceived by the title of this post. No, it’s not about encountering Liberals at commie pinko coffee shops and having to hear them rave about how Joe Biden is a statesman of great stature. No, it’s not about encountering self-loathing Atheist trolls on Twitter. No, it’s not about encountering young liberal parents who let their toddlers run amok in a restaurant because they believe they should “chose their own way.” This rant comes from the sweat-soaked horror in which I awoke the other night upon realizing that one of the best movies of my young adulthood was responsible for the destruction of the American family and the emasculation of two generations of men. That subversive, toxic flick is Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
During that chilling dip in my stream of consciousness, I wondered to myself if Steven Spielberg realized that when he wrote and directed Close Encounters that he would be giving middle-class American guys carte blanche to abandon their roles as husbands and dads when the wives and kids get annoying and run away with the spaghetti-necked aliens. The central character, Roy Neary–played by Hollywood progressive, Richard Dreyfuss–is a stressed-out working hack married to Ronnie Neary, played by the bouncy Teri Garr, who has some close encounters with strange atmospheric phenomena, and sets out on a journey to understand why a tree stump-shaped something or other captures his imagination. Strange manifestations, and weird lights, and impressions of tree stumps in mashed potato mounds grip him in an obsessed mania as his wife and three kiddos slowly fall apart, wanting Roy’s attention but getting only his increasingly preoccupied and irritable rebuffs.
You guys have all seen this movie–which at one time seemed to me a clever and human science fiction romp–so I don’t want to parse the entire plot. Suffice it to say that Neary, played comically and sympathetically by Dreyfuss, melts down in his own home and walks out on his family so he can slip the chains of fatherly responsibility, flee to Wyoming, hook up with another woman, and join the Jiminy Cricket space and time-traveling aliens in the shadow of the gigantic tree-stumpy volcanic mountain and leave forever his burden of suburban angst. You got it! Men across the world were handed justification to leave their naggy wives and whiney kids if they felt “called” by something other-worldly such as a giant tree stump in Wyoming, or a supernatural stirring in their pants.
Although, by that time, children, families, marriage, and fathers were already under attack by pop culture and lawmakers, divorce rates in 1977-78 were 700% of what they were a century earlier. Spielberg and Dreyfuss may not have been responsible for the decline in esteem for husbands and fathers as providers and protectors, but Close Encounters of the Third Kind painted an American man who abdicated his responsibilities as a hero whose wife and children deserved abandonment because they were demanding and irritating.
That’s what got stuck in my craw and interrupted my otherwise peaceful night. I was deceived by this movie. We were ALL deceived. And you, like I, probably remember the clapping and soft cheers which arose from cinema audiences the moment Richard Dreyfuss walked out of his chaotic house, got in a car, and left his irritating wife and kids to satisfy his vague compulsions and absurd spacerific wanderlust.
Well, there you have it. Happy dreams.
by Marjorie Haun 4/4/2014
April 3, 2014
2014 marks the 50th Anniversary of America’s official entry into the Vietnam War. This month, April 2014, marks the 39th Anniversary of our final evacuation from Southeast Asia. A growing wave of belated support and appreciation for our brothers who fought in Vietnam, then returned home to abuse, indifference, and decades of resentment, is sweeping the country as Americans acknowledge the extent of their sacrifice, and the courage with which they have borne their wounds for all these years. I lost my oldest brother in Vietnam, but those who came home are my brothers as well.
This article was originally published on May 28, 2013
I refuse to sit by and let my brothers who served in Vietnam go a minute longer without due tribute to their willingness to fight for their country to stop spread of Communism into Southeast Asia and preserve the worthy ideal of liberty for all.
Frederick Don Snyder was killed on May 17, 1970. He was the machine gunner perched on top of the second of three swift boats patrolling the Dam Doi river in the marshy deltas of South Vietnam, just miles inland from the South China Sea. The first boat in the patrol came under fire by the Viet Cong who were hidden in the jungle thickets along the banks of the river. Don immediately took his position and fired on the Viet Cong. In the ensuing firefight, Don was able to give sufficient cover to the first boat to allow its escape. Don sustained wounds from shrapnel throughout his torso. His lungs were hit, and he died in a military hospital the next day. He was 22.
I was a eight, just a few months shy of nine at the time my oldest brother was killed and my parents’ hearts were intractably broken. I am the youngest of their seven children, my only sister was the oldest, with five brothers in-between. Don was born on my sister’s first birthday, March 6, 1948. We were the classic boomer family with our births covering the years from post WWII, to the early sixties, the space age, and the decade of Vietnam.
Perhaps it is due to of the loss of my brother when I was in such a tender stage of psychological development, or maybe it is because of my patriot heart–or both–that the guys who came home, our Vietnam veterans, are so special to me. And I find particular satisfaction in defying and disproving the culture and media organs that have for decades mis-characterized them, slandered their efforts in Vietnam, and hidden their stories of heroism and compassion.
I refuse to sit by and let my brothers who served in Vietnam go a minute longer without due tribute to their willingness to fight for their country to stop spread of Communism into Southeast Asia and preserve the ideal cause of liberty for all.
I returned from a church service a couple of years ago when July fourth fell on a Sunday and wrote one of my first ReaganGirl.com posts called “The Acceptable Blood.” This is a quote from that early post:
I was moved and changed that day by the remarks of those so personally touched by war. No earthly standard teaches more about the Savior of the World that the examples of those who have given all they have to the cause of freedom, which is His cause and is central to His eternal plan.
I came home with my children, put together a simple meal and we broke our fast after having gone without for breakfast and lunch. My oldest daughter sat down and in her petulant and provocative way said, “So, why did Brother ***** spout off today about how great America is and all that?” I told her to stop. And I said, “Do not mock the blood sacrifices of those who have died to ensure that you can sit down to an abundant table, in a free land, to speak your mind, for good or ill. Right now I will speak.”
I related to my children what had been taught at the pulpit earlier. It took awhile because I had to pause often to staunch the overwhelming emotion within me. But they listened, in riveted silence they listened.
“You see, the Lord Himself brought forth His gospel, which transcends the Law of Moses. The first law was completed by the Savior’s atonement, and when He died upon the cross the need for blood sacrifice was fulfilled and would never be required again, save for the one type of blood sacrifice which remains acceptable to Jesus Christ. It is not the sacrifice of a lamb without blemish. It is the sacrifice of those who willingly pay their installments towards the cost of freedom. The blood of patriots who are willing to lay down their lives in the name of individual liberty and in the defense of justice for all, is not just an acceptable sacrifice to the Lord, but it is the most holy of earthly gifts.”
“In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me.
As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free,
While God is marching on…Glory Hallelujah!”
This is the simple tribute to my brothers who served in Vietnam, my friends who served during the Gulf War, my Fathers who served in Korea and WWII, and my Grandfathers who came before them. May the richest of Heavenly Father’s blessings fall upon my sons and daughters who now serve in Afghanistan and other regions of the world for the just cause of liberty and human dignity. My heart is with you all on this Memorial Day, 2012.
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By Marjorie Haun 4/3/14