I used to proudly describe myself as a "news junkie." At the low point of my addiction, I probably spent eight hours a day tapped into some sort of medium, drifting in a delirium of brain matter-wrinkling bliss as up-to-date data and useless information coursed into my system via my auditory and ocular veins. The lengths to which I would go for news, and the depths of my depravity, can be summed up in the following: National Public Radio.
I am now proud to announce that my addiction, while not cured, is under control. I have the antics of pusillanimous politicians vying for rotting pieces of the power pie to thank for my sobriety. My disgust at the lack of principle, moral degeneracy, and self-serving disrespect of the American people displayed by the current crop of "leaders" has reached such a point that the bile backed up in my throat prevents my heretofore unbridled ability to scream at the newscast. Deprived of that release, I can no longer physically bear to watch or listen.
One criminally complicit legislator in particular has placed an indelible stamp of disdain on my once-proud vision of the American governmental system. The bullying and bilious bluster of a fellow Marine, in the conduct of what he should consider his sacred congressional duties, is almost too much to which to bear witness, ... and I've seen lot of crap in my life.
Marines pride themselves on the core values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment. Congressman Murtha (Colonel Murtha, USMC, Reserve) should take no such pride. He is a liar, a crook, and a bully, whose only commitment is to his own aggrandizement. His actions dishonor the title, Marine.
I met Murtha once. It was the early 80's and I was a young captain, on assignment as an instructor of brand new lieutenants at Quantico, VA. Each class of lieutenants concluded their six months of basic training in tactics, leadership, and officership with a formal dinner steeped in tradition and honorable hokum. We Marines call this event a "Mess Night." Murtha was an invited guest on the strength of his Vietnam-era Marine service and his membership in the House of Representatives of these re-United States. I had the opportunity to speak with him. In fact, I shamelessly pulled rank on lieutenants and maneuvered to do so. I recall being unimpressed and slightly disappointed, but chalked it up to my American history-loving high expectations of a congressional statesman. I have come to realize since, that the bilious boor I met that night was representative of what it takes these days to stalk the halls of power on the Hill.
There was a time when I fully expected to run for some public office in the course of my duty to my country. No more. I've done my duty. The sliver of self-respect remaining in my back pocket is way more than would allow me to even consider stepping down into the muck and mire of the political pig stye.
It is far too much that I have to share the title, "Colonel of Marines" with the likes of Murtha, I will not share the abhorrent appellation, politician.