Berkeley vs. the Marines

I don’t know if you noticed the story, but there seems to be a war going on in California – with city of Berkeley vs. the Marines.

I will try to not write this with a slanted bias (my husband is a Marine). It appears that the community of Berkeley is against the war, and therefore, they are against having a Marine recruiting center in their town. There have been people protesting outside the Marine recruiting center on Shattuck Avenue.

One of the organizers of the protest, Zanne Joy with the anti-war group Code Pink said that anything legal should be used to get the Marine Corps to move its recruiting station and pointed out that the Berkeley City Council agrees with them.

This is where things get a bit sticky. The city council did vote to give the protesters designated parking spaces and sound permits. However, that isn’t the most controversial part – the city council also approved a separate resolution saying the recruiters were “uninvited and unwelcome intruders” and went on to say the office was not welcome in the city.

As they must often walk on eggshells as to not offend, a former Marine Staff Sergeant, Bill Hamilton, said that he supported the group’s right to protest, but still thinks the recruiting station should be in Berkeley. He said, “They don’t seem to realize that this recruiting office is only for recruiting potential officers with college degrees, not kids right out of high school. Marines are willing to die so these people can have their say, but I wish they understood the situation better.”

Even some of the council members seem to have mixed feelings. Councilwoman Betty Olds approved the protest, but not the condemnation and said, “”I’m ashamed of my vote. The protesters should have free speech – this is where Free Speech was born, after all – but to tell the Marines they are not welcome is shameful. If I had to do it again, I wouldn’t even go for the parking spot.”

It seems that the city council may have to pay for their harsh stance against the Marines. Washington D.C. has taken note of the ruckus and now, there may be a withdrawal of federal funds from Berkeley educational institutions. Six senators and one representative, all Republicans, are putting a move through Congress to withdraw $2 million dollars worth of funding. South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint said, “Berkeley needs to learn that their actions have consequences. Patriotic American taxpayers won’t sit quietly while Berkeley insults our brave Marines and tries to run them out of town.”

Unfortunately, part of the funding that may be cut provides lunches for Berkeley public schools.

I hate to see the children that need it lose funding , but I think what that city council did was despicable (oh, so much for trying to not be biased!). What do you think?

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About Libby Pelham

I have always loved to write and gives me the opportunity to share my passion for writing with others. I work full-time as a web developer at UTHSC and most of my other time is spent with my son (born 2004). I love everything pop culture, but also enjoy writing about green living (it has opened my eyes to many things!) and health (got to worry about that as you get older!).