Small Talk About Big Issues

Touching Base with Common Sense

Indiana Democrat Insults Soldiers and Indiana Voters

Indiana Democrat Rep. Dave Cheatham

          Incompetent politicians, when backed into a corner of tough decisions, run and hide.  Such is the case with the Indiana Democrat’s walkout that lasted more than a month.  Not surprisingly, now that the Democrats have returned, they are scurrying about looking for some way to justify their cowardice and save their seats in the Indiana House of Representatives.

           Take Representative Dave Cheatham for example.  In the March 26th Third House Meeting in Madison, Indiana, Dave tried to justify his dereliction of duty by comparing his spineless retreat to Illinois to the bravery of an American Soldier going to Afghanistan.  Before reading further, watch this video.

          What you have just witnessed is an ancient “winning” technique called “Sophistry”.  The following are definitions of “Sophistry”:

2011 Merriam-Webster, Incorporated

1. subtly deceptive reasoning or argumentation

 The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009.

1. Plausible but fallacious argumentation.

2. A plausible but misleading or fallacious argument

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

 1. (Philosophy)

a.  a method of argument that is seemingly plausible though actually invalid and misleading

b.  the art of using such arguments

2. subtle but unsound or fallacious reasoning

          Now notice these key phrases: “subtly deceptive”, “fallacious”, “misleading”, “invalid and misleading,” and “unsound”.

          Dave Cheatham’s little story has all the makings for a heart-wrenching, tearjerker of a tale.  The problem is, whether the story is fiction or non-fiction (and I am leaning toward fiction), it is an unsound argument that seems plausible at first but fails the test of reality.  Mr. Cheatham and his band of run-away Democrats are frantically reaching for anything that might make sense of their walkout to their constituents.  Unfortunately for Rep. Cheatham, his story is a barf bag worthy insult to American Soldiers and their bravery.

           I am a disabled American veteran.  Like so many others, I bear in my body and on my mind the scars of my service to my country.  I am not claiming bravery or heroism here.  I am simply trying to illustrate that I understand the difference between running to a fight and running from one.

Loyal American Soldiers carry the wounded to safety.


          The American Soldier to which Mr. Cheatham is referring is going off to war.  He will see things no human should have to see.  He will endure the harsh conditions of war.  He will suffer sleepless nights and hellatious days.  He will put his life in harm’s way everyday he is in Afghanistan.  He will feel the anxiety of patrolling the streets amid a hostile people.  He will feel the emptiness of being without his family.  He may even lose his life leaving his wife a widow and his son without a father.  Nevertheless, one thing is for certain, Mr. Cheatham, the American Soldier you reference will not desert his post.  He will not go AWOL.  He will stand and fight, and through his bravery and heroism, he will help secure freedom for all Americans.


Indiana Democrats relaxing at the Comfort Suites in Illinios.


          Now let’s see, Mr. Cheatham.  You and your rebel band of weak and fearful Democrats left Indianapolis and traveled in your luxury cars to the Comfort Suites in Illinois.  You slept in warm, soft beds.  When it got hot, you turned on the air conditioner.  When it got cold, you turned on the heater.  You safely traveled at will from your hideout to your home.  Hotel maids cleaned your room each day.  You sat in big comfortable chairs and played on your laptops.  Someone else prepared your meals…no C-Rations or MRE’s for you.  You abandoned your post, your place of duty.  You broke your sacred oath to not only all the voters in your district, but to all the voters of Indiana as well.  How can you possible equate your cowardice with the American Soldiers bravery?

          The truth be told, Mr. Cheatham, your words and actions on Saturday night, March 26, 2011, make you nothing more than an irritating pimple on that American Soldier’s behind.  It is such a tragedy that you have stooped so low.  Yes, Mr. Cheatham.  You have insulted a gallant American Soldier and all of our brave men and women serving in the Middle East.  You have insulted the people of Indiana by thinking them too stupid to see through your sophistry.

          So my question is this: If you have so little respect for the Indiana General Assembly, the American Soldier, and the people of Indiana, why don’t you and your fellow scamocrats resign and go home?


April 4, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 1 Comment

War and Peace

WARNING: The following post contains graphic pictures and descriptions of war. 

 I have left the photographers’ names off their pictures for two reasons: 1) space and, in many cases, the unavailability of that information, and 2) the photographers were not seeking fame when these pictures were taken they were seeking to tell the true story of the cruelty of war.  Every picture is real, every person depicted had mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles, cousins and friends.  Every person you see in these pictures had hopes, dreams, goals, and desires.  Some of these pictures are quite famous, others are rather obscure. All are readily available on the Internet.  Just as a personal note, I met or knew a couple of these photographers.

William Tecumseh Sherman is credited with the origination of the phrase “War is hell,” and he should know.  Serving under the command of Ulysses S. Grant and, later, as the Commander of the Union Army, he became infamous as a cunning strategist and unmerciful foe in the carrying out of his “scorched earth” policies against the Confederate States.  As a soldier, he carried out the directives of President Grant and helped get Abraham Lincoln elected.  As a politicians’ soldier, he was loved because he struck fear in the heart of the enemy and diminished their will to fight, and because he was willing to dirty his hands when others would not.

“War is hell,” as anyone who has been there will affirm!

Unlike citizens of many other countries, the majority of Americans can only give academic acknowledgment to this fact.  The reality is this: Nowhere does the desire for peace burn more intensely than in the heart of a soldier.  Warriors from every nation across the globe understand the horrors of war, regardless of the time frame in which they lived or are living.

It is an understanding of peace the uninitiated to mortal combat will never know.  Those who have never lived on the razor-sharp edge of death; Those who have never watched a human-being fall to the ground lifeless just above the front sight of their own rifle; Those who have never felt the rush of gases being expelled from the person they just stabbed; Those who have never experienced the warmth of another human’s life dripping from their blade-filled hand; Those who have never swallowed hard to squelch the rising sick, empty, nauseous feeling in their own gut left from the realization of having taken another’s life can yearn for peace more than those who have.

Those who have never witnessed first-hand the bloating, rotting, decaying bodies of what appears to have been once human now covered in dirt and flies; Those who have never witnessed the bloody, disintegrated bodies of men, women, and children ripped apart and riddled by bombs or gunfire; Those who have never witnessed the silent calmness of a dead comrade floating facedown along the blood-soaked shores can understand the depth of a soldier’s desire to see peace abound.

Those who have never smelled the bitter-sweet stench of burning flesh; Those who have never choked on the clouds of spent gunpowder; Those who have never smelled the aroma of their buddy’s life draining from his veins onto the foreign, musty soil can understand the warriors’ yearning to breath in the fresh, clean air of peace.

Those who have never heard the roar of the guns, the explosions of the munitions, or the wicked heart-stopping snap of bullets breaking the sound barrier as they whip by your ear; Those who have never heard the fluids of a human body boiling; Those who have never heard the heat of fire popping and cracking human bones; Those who have never heard the cries of death, misery, and sorrow can fathom the soldiers’ need for the quite solitude of peace.

Unlike in the white-glove clean offices of the high-backed, leather chairs filled with Armani suits, the battlefield is sterilized of common human problems.  Political parties do not exist.  Racial issues are left back in camp.  Religious views are narrowed to only one, “God (whoever he is conceived to be) save us from this terrestrial hell!”

The war is never over for the soldier.  Nightmares interrupt is sleep.  Flashbacks invade his days.  Common, everyday sights, sounds, tastes, and smells draw him back to the battleground.  Even in peace the warrior is troubled: troubled by the past and troubled about the future.  In a world of more than 6.5 billion people, war is an ever-present danger the experienced soldier longs to avoid for himself, his family, his neighbors, his country, and his world.

Peace burns within the breasts of soldiers…regardless of race, nationality, sex, or creed.

Today as I have written the above and searched for the photographs that accompany this writing, my eyes have been continually blurred with tears and my heart heavy with sadness because of 1) my own remembrance, 2) the remembrance of other soldiers reading this, and 3) for the state of our nation and our world.

Everyday across the globe patriots are dying for their country.  Loved ones are mourning the loss of their dead and dying.  The human race has been fighting among themselves since Cain and Able.  One website I visited today claimed that over the last 3000 years, only 250 years have known peace.  That statistic is a sad commentary on human relations.

Perhaps the saddest commentary of all is that human beings are not learning the lessons we should have learned over the countless blood-stained years of war in our histories.

Although horrific, war is not the problem.  Like peace, war is a symptom not a sickness, a by-product, not product.  The problem humankind faces, the sickness that makes us ill, is that we love power.  We are power-addicts dredging for our next fix.  Cain desired his religion to reign over the beliefs and practices of his brother Abel.  Political parties crave victories to experience the high that can only be felt by the injection of power.  Nations seek supremacy over the others and spouses vie for power over each other.  Almost everywhere a relationship between two or more people exists, a fight for power ensues.

Regardless of how you feel about his life or his music, Jimi Hendrix may very well have given us a prescription which starts us down the road to recovery.  He said, “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”  May his words ring true in all the earth.

Great minds speaking of peace… 

“Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.”          Martin Luther King, Jr. 

“We make war that we may live in peace.”          Aristotle

“Peace is not something you wish for; It’s something you make, Something you do, Something you are, And something you give away.”          Robert Fulghum

 “The peace and welfare of this and coming generations of Americans will be secure only as we cling to the watchword of true patriotism: “Our country — when right to be kept right; when wrong to be put right.”          Carl Schurz

“Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living. We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount.”          Omar N. Bradley


I heard the bells on Christmas day

Their old familiar carols play

And mild and sweet the words repeat,

Of peace on earth, good will to men.


I thought how as the day had come,

The belfries of all Christendom

Had roll’d along th’ unbroken song

Of peace on earth, good will to men.


And in despair I bow’d my head:

“There is no peace on earth,” I said,

“For hate is strong, and mocks the song

Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

……….Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

November 18, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What will you do on Veteran’s Day?


The Veteran's Administration's 2009 Veteran's Day Poster

What will you do on Veteran’s Day?  Will you go to work?  Will you stay home?  Will you play with the kids, read a book, watch TV, or take your loved one out to eat?  The only correct answer that I can provide is this: you will do whatever you want to do because you are free to do just that.

For most Americans it will be business as usual.  The majority of people will go about their daily activities with only an academic acknowledgement of Veteran’s Day.  The majority of people will feel no pride in being an American, no sorrow for the loss of life or the physical dismemberment of our American soldiers.  No.  For most Americans, Veteran’s Day is just another excuse to offer a “Sale” or a “token” discount in their commercial world.

Only a few will stop long enough to remember the sacrifices by those who have paid and are paying for our freedom.  Only a few will shed a tear or say a prayer.  Only a few will place a flag by the headstone of a fallen American.  Only a few will visit their local VA Hospital and help a Vet.  Only a few will remember.  Only a few Americans will not forget.  Only a few will not forget those who have given and are now giving service to their country.  Only a few will not forget their beloved soldier who now resides in the silent city of the dead.  Only a few will not forget to utter a prayer of thanksgiving.  Only a few will not forget to offer a prayer of hope for those soldiers still serving their country in harm’s way.  Only a few will not forget.

What will you do on Veteran’s Day?

November 10, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment