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April 19, 2009
"Veteran Organizers"By Greyhawk
...has a different meaning outside the hard core Left: Sgt Mom's promised "next installment wherein she'll reveal "how a bunch of uninvolved, un-politically connected citizens managed to pull off a huge Tea Party rally in about ten days flat" is here.
The San Antonio tea party was one of the largest in the nation. That attendance figure probably wasn't hurt by Glenn Beck and Ted Nugent, but their presence doesn't change the fact that the event was what Sgt Mom called it - the result of efforts by inexperienced "organizers". Except that at least one of those organizers had military experience (military/media background, specifically) - experience that goes a long way in results-oriented planning and execution. It's not the combat training that makes veterans useful (critical, even) members in such groups (or major corporations or little league baseball) - it's the plan/act approach most bring to the table - if they see the purpose of "the table" as valid. San Antonio wasn't the only tea party whose organizers had a military background. None were chest-thumping or drawing attention to the fact, but that doesn't change the fact.
San Antonio is a big (make that BIG) military town - with fewer military installations now then a few years ago but a large military (and retired military and military family) population. These sort of folks aren't drawn to political events, but they were drawn to the tea parties. That might sound like fuel for the DHS fire, but for the most part I'm talking about vets of Korea/Vietnam/late cold war era, mostly a bit too mature (though mostly physically fit enough) for the Rambo option.
Here's my video of the Savannah event wherein you can see the response to a speaker's request for a show of hands by veterans or their relatives. It's easy enough for someone to make a false claim in such circumstances, but Savannah is a military town too - less so than San Antonio, but Hunter Army Airfield is in the city limits and Ft Stewart (home of the 3ID) is just up the road, and both installations have been around more than long enough for a significant retired population to build up in the area. The number of hands up in the crowd is proportionately large but not suspiciously so.
I can see where it behooves those who are made nervous by tea parties and their perceived threat to a desired future State to dismiss those involved as fringe elements of society. And given the hard-core Left's rather dismal results at attempts to "recruit" military supporters via the Cindy Sheehan/Appeal for Redress efforts I understand their frustration at the apparent ease with which the tea party movement has succeeded where they failed.
Hint: expensive and fake grass roots efforts aimed at the military are unnecessary and transparent. Send a message that resonates and you'll get a response. If you build it, they will come. If they come, the results will exceed expectations.
Disclaimer: I am not and was not involved in the organizing of any tea party. I attended the one in my local area (Savannah) and reported what I saw. I never met, spoke to, or communicated in any way with the local organizers until after the event. I did not know Sgt Mom was an organizer for the San Antonio event until after it was over.
Posted by Greyhawk / April 19, 2009 12:01 PM | Permalink
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...)
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