Voice: Hey Yniguez: Republicans are no more patriotic than anyone else

June 03, 2002

I've never been so upset by an editorial column as I was when I read the piece by Rudy Yniguez published in the May 24 Imperial Valley Press. For him to state to the Democratic Party, along with environmentalists, are directly responsible for the deaths in New York City is inflammatory, irresponsible and far from the truth.

I served my country as a U.S. Marine for 10 years (1969-1979). I served under three presidents, two Republicans and one Democrat. There was talk of budget problems, underfunding, aging equipment, downsizing and base closings under each administration. I suspect those problems existed long before my service and they exist today. It seems to make little difference which political party is in the White House or controls Congress.

I might remind Rudy when the first President Bush spoke of downsizing and base closures, it was presented as a dividend of the end of the Cold War. When those same policies were continued by President Clinton, it somehow changed to "gutting" the military. I must say the "gutted" military left behind by those evil Democrats is performing at a high level in the war on terrorism.


Your reference to President Clinton as a "draft dodger" rings of a hollow partisan attack. Many of our presidents never served in the military, and some that did were not effective leaders. So military service by a president is a non-issue. If Clinton is a "draft dodger" because he avoided service in the Vietnam era, then doesn't President Bush fit into that same category? As I recall the news reports, he used his influence to enlist in the Texas National Guard (when there were no openings), and soon decided there was no need for him to make the meetings. I see little difference in the actions taken by the two men to avoid service in Vietnam other than one had connections and one didn't.

I have mixed feelings about the environmental issues you referred to, Rudy. I think some well-meaning people with legitimate concerns about the environment tend to go to the extreme to make a point. I don't agree with every stance they take. But the fact is we do need to take better care of our land, air and water.

Regarding the drilling in Alaska issue, I have one question for you, Rudy. If we need the oil so badly that we must drill in Alaska, why are we not talking about drilling offshore in Florida? Could politics be at play here? Is Florida off-limits because of its electoral importance? We won't even mention the family connection to the governor there; that couldn't possibly be a factor.

Either we need the oil or

we don't. Basing our energy and environmental policies on where political capital can be won or lost is irresponsible at best. So if you want to play the blame game, Rudy, there is plenty of blame to go around. The blame goes back through several administrations, some Republican and some Democratic. It goes back through several sessions of Congress, some controlled by the Republicans and some controlled by the Democrats.

Ours is not a perfect society or government. Each administration has its successes and failures, regardless of party affiliation. For you to publish a piece that lays the blame for a tragic event in our history squarely at the feet of the Democratic Party was extremely poor judgment on your part. I suspect you had an axe to grind because a base closure affected you personally. A base I was stationed on has been closed, too. Get over it, Rudy. It's time to move on.

Look, nobody is saying President Bush is at fault for the 9/11 tragedy, but it is important to discover what went wrong so we know what needs to be fixed. It is wrong for either party to try to gain political advantage from the events of 9/11. This is an American issue, not a political one.

Republicans are not more patriotic or less patriotic than Democrats. We all want what is best for America. I would suspect the military graveyards hold a like number of people from each party. True patriotism knows no political affiliation. I, as well as many others who are registered Democrats served in the military just as honorably as you did, Rudy. And I suspect I was not the only one offended by your accusatory comments in the May 24 column.


El Centro

Imperial Valley Press Online Articles