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October 26, 2004
Trick or Treat (Part III)By Greyhawk
One of the last things I accomplished before leaving home was a visit to the legal office to update the Will and prepare a Power of Attorney for the Mrs. While there we noticed a rather agitated gentleman who seemed to be having trouble with the legal folks. He was older, a civilian, possible retired, and standing next to him at the reception counter it was impossible not to overhear the issue. Seems he was trying to establish his state of legal residence, having been in Germany for nine years, but he was unhappy with the option he was getting from legal. They were telling him his "home state" was "state A" - the one he lived in immediately prior to coming overseas, while he wanted to be a resident of "state B" - because he did not want to pay the nine years of taxes he would have to pay were he to be declared a resident of state A.
That's all I know of the situation. At this point one of the lawyers appeared and ushered the man off to an office, presumably to do all they could do within the limits of the law to assist him.
Why this man was suddenly eager to be a citizen of a certain state after nine years of living in Europe is up to the reader to decide. Why he wanted to be a resident of a state with no income tax (are there any other than Florida?) seems a bit more obvious. Or perhaps not.
The fact that the Kerry campaign has been making furious efforts to register overseas voters is certainly one possibility. A fellow military blogger in Germany describes some of those efforts here :
The Kerry campaign is sending waves of operatives to other countries to request absentee ballots for ex-patriots, non citizens who were falsely registered as voters due to flaws in the motor voter registrations, and any other absentee voter they can muster. Since I have a personal friend directly involved in this effort, who refused to disclose the source of the funding because of legal questions (both foreign and domestic), I know for sure that this is actively going on in many countries as we speak. This same person showed me the voter registration card of his non-citizen wife, that had been issued to her because she got a Driver's License. The card came to his home long after she had returned to her country of citizenship.
In contrast, I know of no efforts whatsoever by Republicans to rally overseas voters - though some might claim the military's extraordinary efforts to ensure it's people vote this year is a de facto Republican effort.
But not completely. Here's an example, a young man who works in my "shop" who I suspect is a Kerry supporter (he's been known to say things like "I'm voting for Kerry", which leads to my assumption). However, as I was completing my absentee ballot I asked him if he had sent his in yet. Turns out he hadn't. In fact, he was not going to vote after all.
The hell you're not, I explained calmly to him. "You're telling me, standing here in the sands of Baghdad, that you aren't going to exercise your right?"
I was happy to see him later with his completed ballot in hand, headed for the mailbox. Even knowing it was likely going to essentially cancel the vote I had just cast myself.
Some of you may wonder how I could make such a statement. Believe me, the idea of an American GI not voting in this election is repulsive to me. Others might wonder why I never took the time to educate the youngster on his confused ideas regarding American politics. Undue influence is the simple answer. Though I did set the young man straight on the number of grievous inaccuracies in Fahrenheit 911 I would not for an instant attempt to sway a junior troop to my political point of view. I never talk politics with the troops, in fact that's one of the main reasons I use a pseudonym on this site.
So, given that I've now sort of cancelled my own vote, what can I do to ensure Mrs. Greyhawk's nightmare doesn't come true?
Just this: To all you folks who've offered your kind words, thoughts and prayers to me or any of the thousands of Americans fighting the War on Terror, I have this one request. Worth more than any care packages, books, wet wipes, or sunblock you could send us, do not let us down.
It's never mattered more.
Posted by Greyhawk / October 26, 2004 9:38 PM | Permalink
Just like the button above (yes it is a button to the original post at the Mudville Gazette) says, EXERCISE YOUR RIGHT WE FIGHT FOR. Everyday thousands of men and women from the United States who are currently stationed... Read More
November 26, 2010
I think anyone who's ever pondered the "comment" option - once only available on blogs and bulletin boards, now ubiquitous on almost any web site - will appreciate this:
The so-called faculty of writing is not so much a faculty of writing as it is a faculty of thinking. When a man says, "I have an idea but I can't express it"; that man hasn't an idea but merely a vague feeling. If a man has a feeling of that kind, and will sit down for a half an hour and persistently try to put into writing what he feels, the probabilities are at least 90 percent that he will either be able to record it, or else realize that he has no idea at all. In either case, he will do himself a benefit.
That's wisdom from the past, captured for posterity at the US Naval Institute, shared via the web on the institute's 137th anniversary.
From their about page:
"The Naval Institute has three core activities," among them, History and Preservation:
The Naval Institute also has recently introduced Americans at War, a living history of Americans at war in their own words and from their own experiences. These 90-second vignettes convey powerful stories of inspiration, pride, and patriotism.
Take a look at the collection, and you'll see it's not limited to accounts from those who served on ships at sea, members of the other branches are well-represented.
I'm fortunate to have met USNI's Mary Ripley, she's responsible for the institute's oral history program (and she's the daughter of the late John Ripley, whose story is told here). She also deserves much credit for their blog. ("We're not the Navy nor any government agency. Blog and comment freely.") We met at a milblog conference - Mary knew (and I would come to realize) that milbloggers are the 21st-century version of exactly what the US Naval Institute is all about. Once that light bulb came on in my head, I mentioned a vague idea for a project to her - milblogs as the 21st century oral history that they are.
"Put that in writing," she said (of course - see first paragraph above!) - and here's part of the result.
Shortly after the first tent was pitched by the American military in Iraq a wire was connected to a computer therein, and the internet was available to a generation of Americans at war - many of whom had grown up online. From that point on, at any given moment, somewhere in Iraq a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine was at a keyboard sharing the events of his or her day with the folks back home. While most would simply fire off an email, others took advantage of the (then) relatively new online blogging platforms to post their thoughts and experiences for the entire world to see. The milblog was born - and from that moment to this stories detailing everything from the most mundane aspects of camp life to intense combat action (often described within hours of the event) have been available on the web...
And et cetera - but since you're reading this on a milblog, you probably knew that. And you know that milblogs aren't just blogs written by troops at war, that many friends, family members, and supporters likewise documented their story of America at war online in near-real time, as those stories developed.
The diversity in membership of that group is broad, the one thing we all have in common is the impulse to make sense of the seemingly senseless, and communicate the tale - for each of us that impulse was strong enough to overcome whatever barriers prevent the vast majority of people from doing the same. Everyone at some point has some vague idea they believe should be shared - we were the people who, from some combination of internal and external urging, found and spent those many half hours persistently trying to write it down.
But where will all that be in another 137 years? Or five or ten, for that matter. That's something I've asked myself since at least 2004 - when I wrote this:
Membership in the ghost battalion has grown in the years since, and an ever growing majority of those abandoned-but-still-standing sites are vanishing. Have you checked out Lt Smash's site lately? How about Sgt Hook's? If you're a long-time milblog reader you know the first widely-read milblog from Operation Iraq Freedom and the first widely-read milblog from Afghanistan are both gone from the web. If you're a relative newcomer to this world you may never even have heard of them - or the dozens upon dozens of others who carried forth the standard they set down.
If you have a vague notion that something should be done about that, (a notion I've heard expressed more than once...) then you and I and the good folks at the US Naval Institute are in agreement. Preserving the history documented by the milbloggers is just one of the goals of the milblog project, the once-vague idea that we're now making real.
And it's a big idea, if I say so myself - too big to explain in one simple blog post, so stand by for more. Likewise, it's too big a task to be accomplished by just one person. So if you're a milblogger (and exactly what is a milblogger? is a topic for much further discussion on its own) I'm asking for your help. All I'll really need is just a little bit (maybe just one or two of those half hours...) of your time, and your willingness to tell the tale.
We've already made history, it's time to save it.
(More to follow...)
The Mudville Gazette is the on-line voice of an American warrior and his wife who stands by him. They prefer to see peaceful change render force of arms unnecessary. Until that day they stand fast with those who struggle for freedom, strike for reason, and pray for a better tomorrow.
Furthermore, I will occasionally use satire or parody herein. The bottom line: it's my house.
I like having visitors to my house. I hope you are entertained. I fight for your right to free speech, and am thrilled when you exercise said rights here. Comments and e-mails are welcome, but all such communication is to be assumed to be 1)the original work of any who initiate said communication and 2)the property of the Mudville Gazette, with free use granted thereto for publication in electronic or written form. If you do NOT wish to have your message posted, write "CONFIDENTIAL" in the subject line of your email.
Original content copyright © 2003 - 2011 by Greyhawk. Fair, not-for-profit use of said material by others is encouraged, as long as acknowledgement and credit is given, to include the url of the original source post. Other arrangements can be made as needed.
Contact: greyhawk at mudvillegazette dot com