You're all aware, I'm sure, of the several attacks against our fighting men and women perpetrated by city governments of late. The Berkeley City Council, who intended to try and kick Marine recruiting offices out of the city, and Toledo, where Mayor Finkbeiner refused to allow the Marines to exit a bus in his city when they arrived to start planned upon exercises, are all over the news. It is also well known that in Toledo, Ohio and Berkeley, California protesters for and against the Marines have been deployed to face each other and the news media have been there to chronicle it all. But, one paper has taken it upon itself to try and excuse the very people who put these ignorant politicians into office who caused these rows in the first place.
The Toledo Free Press published a recent article titled "Controversy over Marines rejection impacts city's development efforts", the main thrust of which is that people shouldn't blame the businesses of either Toledo or Berkeley for the actions of their politicians. But, after seeing all the whining about lost revenue by the business community in both cities and after seeing them plead with people not to blame them for what their politicians do, it left me wondering why shouldn't we hold voters accountable for what their politicians do?
The TFP detailed the fact that several projects from corporations and businesses outside the city that were considering investing in Toledo have begun to report that they are reconsidering their investments there because of the actions of Mayor Finkbeiner. For instance, Ward Brewer, CEO of a Florida based corporation that had intended to bring a multi-million dollar project to Toledo, is putting a hold on plans until the situation is resolved in the Marines' favor.
Brewer, during a phone conversation from his Florida office, said Finkbeiner's handling of the Feb. 8 incident was “inexcusable.” He said he would be speaking with “Marines,” which he declined to name, before issuing a final decision.
And Brewer isn't the only one.
Brewer is not alone in his sentiment, according to a Feb. 13 e-mail from Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce President Mark V'Soske. The chamber received more than 60 e-mails and 30 phone calls Feb. 11 that addressed Finkbeiner's actions. Several of the individuals who called or wrote indicated they would change plans and not visit Toledo, V'Soske wrote in the e-mail, which was sent to the chamber's board members. Others said they would relocate their meetings or conventions from Toledo or boycott the city's businesses.
The Toledo Free Press also reported the moaning of Ted Garrett, CEO of the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce who said his office has been flooded with cancellations for the businesses in Berkeley since the City Council's stupidity made national headlines.
Garrett said his staff has since been explaining to responders that the Berkeley chamber's viewpoint is not the same as the city's elected representatives.
“Unfortunately what's happening is our businesses are being targeted as result of the city council's actions,” Garrett said during a Feb. 12 phone conversation.
Garrett said several Berkeley restaurants and hotels received an “unprecedented” number of cancellations after the council's Jan. 29 actions. Most callers and writers, he said, are blaming “everyone other than the person who's responsible” for the incident.
“This couldn't have come at a worse time,” Garrett said. “The economy is in the throes of a recession and this now just adds insult to injury.”
OK, it is true that the businesses in these two cities are hurting as a result of the disgusting actions against our soldiers by the two city governments. But, to a patriotic American, it would seem to be logical and just deserts for the denizens of those two places. Losing revenue and business is exactly the sort of retaliation that Americans specialize in when they find a business or city that violates good taste and patriotism. The power of the purse is a persuasive force as these whiny businessmen are discovering.
And what does the TFP try to hand us? Pity for the very people who voted these idiots into office! The TFP gives us the finger wagging warnings of Steve Weathers, the CEO of the Regional Growth Partnership of Toledo, who says that, "... Elected officials are just that -- elected. They do turn over." It's all as if we shouldn't blame the people of Toledo for what their politicians do and Weathers also wants us not to blame his Toledo businesses for what the city government does. But, who the heck puts them there? Who the heck has the power to control what these governments do if not the businesses and people who put these ignoramus politicians into office in the first place?
Then the TFP switches tracks and tries to shift the blame even farther from the politicians who attacked our armed forces personnel. The TFP shows us who is really at fault for all this. Why it's all those evil conservatives’ fault! They quote John K. Hartman, a journalism professor at Central Michigan University, to that effect.
"Basically, [conservatives] are looking for a distraction. They're looking for something to get their people fired up about to get them to forget the country is turning away from their point of view,” Hartman said.
Ah, so it isn't the unpatriotic politicians in office who actually were the ones that attacked the Marines, it's the fault of conservatives who have the gall to get upset by it! Simply amazing.
But here is the truth. If a city council does something stupid, it is absolutely the fault of the people who voted them into power. And it is completely legitimate for those who do not support the actions of the democratically elected politicians to step back and divest in the businesses in that city as a protest against their actions. It is a perfectly legitimate and peaceful solution to speak out against these cities by taking business elsewhere.
In this way, the people of these cities are feeling the pressure of their own votes. If the citizens of Berkeley and Toledo still firmly support the actions of their city leaders, why then they will be perfectly willing to deal with the financial loss that accompanies that decision. If, on the other hand, they do NOT support the politicians, why then they have the opportunity to use their power as voters and business leaders to force their politicians to listen to them and alter their policies against our armed forces.
But, stop the whining, will ya? There's no whining in business. And if you have the backbone to stand up and loudly proclaim that you hate our soldiers, well then stop being wimps and say so. On the other hand, if you want to be true, patriotic Americans, also stand up for that and force your politicians to do what YOU want them to do.
After all, politicians are supposed to listen to the voters, right? And the voters are ultimately responsible for what those politicians do. And the Toledo Free Press is out of line to suggest otherwise.