Vietnam war hero Tony Oleck sent me an email this morning about something he learned about Karen Porter.
For those of you who don’t know. Karen Porter is the leader of the Chester County Peace Movement (CCPM). After 5 years of protesting against Bush and the war in Iraq (every Saturday unopposed), I decided to counter them last September.
Porter did not like someone opposing her, so she wrote a newsletter about me to her readers. It was written months ago, but Tony just saw it and felt compelled to send Karen a reply.
Here’s his email – it speaks for itself.
Karen…I read your letter where you first respond to Rich’s counter protest. I have never seen such hatred without one degree of evidence…only your inner hatred projecting out.
You claim to be able to psyco analyse Rich’s daughter by looking at her across the street??? Are you completely out of your mind Karen?
You spew hatred and judgment with no provocation and then you talk about yourself, saying “me, me, poor me. I struggle for God, I struggle for my son….I can’t sleep but I must go on….poor me, woe is me…but my people need me…I must go on.”
My friend you are in need of some professional help…it’s NOT all about YOU……you can’t confine God to your corner of the street and you can’t judge people by the clothes they wear..
Get a life Karen….Rich is 10 times the person you are….he is loving and peaceful and he ends each of his” violent” demonstrations with a prayer.
You my friend should take a Saturday or two off….and spend that time with a good psychologist.
Here’s excerpts of the newsletter that Karen wrote that inspired Tony:
For five years, I’ve seen only peace and love on that corner at High and Market Streets. God has been with us every week when we gather there, a sacred place to us. It’s been our church, our place for sending a positive, life-giving message to the world. Our way of saying, “No, we haven’t ALL gone mad in this country, some of us are sane, some of us don’t want to destroy mankind.”
But God wasn’t there today for me, and I can only hope He will return.
Instead, I saw raw hatred and death and destruction. I saw a glimpse of the coming end of the America I have loved all my life. I saw “Mad Max” in its destructive, tragic future. I’m not sure if God will come back there. He may be gone forever. Countries and empires fall, and I think this one has seen its best days long ago. But, of course, they’re all “for the troops,” and we aren’t, don’t you know?
I saw old (my age) men who are still living the wet dreams of youth, decked out in gray beards on those wrinkled faces and leather and metal and waving Old Glory like swords, not like flags. Men who should know better, who should be at better places in their lives, men who should be making positive contributions to our young folks’ futures - but still searching to fulfill dreams that appear to be all they have left, vainly and desperately trying to relive the adventures of their youths. Tragically, those old men’s wet dreams are now fulfilled only by sending off younger men to die. I am sad for them because they seem to have nothing better in their lives than feeding a hungry and hateful war machine, singing praises to tragedy and destruction, and feeding their young to the very jaws of hell. “In tie of peace, sons bury their fathers; but in war fathers bury their sons.”–Croesus But, of course, they’re all “for the troops,” and we aren’t, don’t you know?
One of our group wasn’t there this morning but came this afternoon. He had been at the military funeral of a soldier who had committed suicide in Iraq. (But, of course, they are all for the troops – we’re not, don’t you know?) Those grey-bearded men in their leather jackets and metal studs, with their phallic motorcycles with hideous roaring engines continue to send off young men to die like that, or to return, broken shells of themselves, with the rationalization that they have already “served their time, served their country,” so it’s OK to sacrifice their young to keep alive their never-ending wet dreams.
One of our most regular vigilers for the past five years has a son who’s now in his second deployment to Iraq, and she lies awake at night and cries and cries and hopes and hopes – but, of course, they’re all “for the troops,” and we aren’t, don’t you know?
Several of “our men” saw real combat in Vietnam and other “theaters” (I’ve always detested the use of the word, “theater” for war) – but, of course, they’re all “for the troops,” and we aren’t, don’t you know?
Rich, your daughter appears to be potentially quite a lovely young woman, yet in the three weeks I’ve seen her, I’ve never seen her smile, and she never speaks - not once. She has a hardened expression, an incessantly unemotional expression painted on her young face like a mask. Are you really, as her father, content to let her age and become like the others – hard, time-worn faces, angry words, walking to the chant of “Kill, kill, kill; maim, murder, bomb, shoot!” Will she send her own son/s/daughter/s, your own grandson/s/daughter/s off to war “for the good of the country” to die to line rich men’s purses? I feel so sad every time I see her young face because I wonder if she even has a chance. She’s still young enough to avoid that fate, but only if someone shows her the way. But, of course, she’s all “for the troops,” and we aren’t, don’t you know?
The woman with the t-shirt, “Proud to Support Bush,” was particularly disturbing to me. I could overlook the women in the leather and metal and the down-home weariness of their faces. But proud to support a village idiot from Texas who never had to work for anything in his life, who would never even let her tie his shoelaces, who was his own father’s acknowledged trouble-maker-son whom he had to hide to escape embarrassment, who grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth and a blank check in his hand, who fakes a down-home Texas demeanor when he’s anything but down-home, who couldn’t manage (or think) his way out of a paper bag,who is a dry drunk and real war criminal who should be in prison for all the death he has caused - and who would send, with no conscience, that woman’s own loved ones off to die to enrich himself and his oil crony friends? Oh, what’s wrong with that woman, anyway? How can she be so blind? How can she be so damned stupid? It’s maddening. Sadly, in the past five years, I have seen the enemy, and he is us. But, of course, they’re all “for the troops,” and we aren’t, don’t you know?