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Kevin Buck: Semper Fi

Democratic Voices

Posted: December 29, 2008 7:31 p.m.
Updated: December 30, 2008 4:30 a.m.

Savvy conservatives long ago figured out that those of us on the political left are not guided by conscience or individually acquired thought. So they've concluded.

Rather, it is widely believed that we proceed with our plan to overthrow the Constitution and destroy capitalism guided by tenets put forth in the Liberal Handbook.

It's true: I received my handbook from my Jesuit teachers when I was in college.

Chapter 13 of the Liberal Handbook, "The Medium is the Message," teaches that liberals need to humanize themselves to the public whenever possible.

If we can create a façade of normalcy, then our nefarious plan to take all the rich people's money and give it to welfare queens to buy Cadillacs becomes more palatable.

Toward that end, I present myself as a family man, a husband of 33 years (still working on my first marriage), father to three successful adult children, a teacher, an event planner and a United States Marine.

Today I want to talk about my son, Private First Class Adam J. Buck, recent graduate of the Marine Recruit Depot, San Diego, and now attending laser technology school at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland.

The most common reaction to my having a son in the Marine Corps is that it must be torture for me, some sort of cosmic payback for having opposed the pointless and destructive wars in Vietnam and Iraq.

The assumption is that I am miserable about my son's choice and I must wonder where I went wrong.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

I am proud of Adam; he has chosen a difficult path and has excelled every step of the way. Any father would be proud to say that about a child.

The common misconception is that Democrats and liberals are anti-military. This is untrue and always has been.

We are anti-illegal wars and against having our sons and daughters sent off to die to enrich the coffers of the military-industrial complex or to advance personal political agendas. But we are not anti-military and certainly not anti-soldier.

We know there are bad people out there, and no fellow traveler of mine thinks we do not need our military to protect us from those who would do us harm, anymore than any of us believe we should disband police and fire departments and hope crime and emergencies will just go away.

We may be bleeding hearts, but we are not stupid; evil always needs to be confronted. I am proud of my son, proud of his service and proud he has chosen to stand up and sacrifice.

Speaking of sacrifice, we were outraged to find out that Marine recruits are expected to pay for everything during boot camp, including meals.

The government pays these patriots the princely sum of $1,200 a month to take a bullet for the rest of us.

Out of that Marines must buy their own uniforms, boots, running shoes, toiletries and - most galling of all - their meals.

Uncle Sam can spend a billion dollars on a single stealth bomber but expects young Marine recruits to pay $3.25 for each meal and $8 for each MRE when they are in the field.

This petty outrage is further compounded by the fact that the credit union every recruit must join charges a $5 fee for each transaction, so a $3 toothbrush at the PX really costs a young Marine $8.

For those of you so compelled, this would make an excellent subject for a letter to your representatives in Congress.

On a happier note, Adam's service has been recognized by complete strangers.

While in the Baltimore airport awaiting his flight home this Christmas, a man walked up and handed him a card. One side read, "Thank you for your service and dedication."

The reverse side had these words, "Dear American Hero, I am not certain how to express my gratitude for all you have done to secure my freedom. Please accept this simple card as a token of my appreciation."

Adam carries that card in his wallet and beams when he shows it to friends and family. Clearly he gets that this is all about something greater than himself, and so do I.

That is a reward for both of us.

Kevin Buck is a Santa Clarita resident. "Democratic Voices" runs Tuesdays in The Signal and rotates among several local Democrats. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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