WINNING THE PEACE — A POST FOR VETERANS DAY

soldierI served in the military.  I proudly wore the uniform of the United States Air Force for many years, but I have a hard time considering myself a veteran. I served in the United States. I never saw a combat zone. The roughest duty I had was in Alaska, separated from my family, and my wife knew Alaska was my idea of a vacation spot. Even at 30-40 below zero, I enjoyed the peace and exhilaration that comes from quietly slipping down a snowy forest trail on cross-country skis.  So when I left my lady with our two little children, she could not muster any sympathy, and I did not have the nerve to ask for any.

A veteran is someone who has risked their life in the service of a great cause. A veteran is someone who has suffered for the cause.  Because war is violent and bloody, we fear it. We fear it because even the survivors come back changed by the harshness of war.

What is war? I don’t really understand it. Does anyone? My father saw combat in WWII. For him, it was unspeakable. As curious as I was, I could hardly pry anything out of him. Even though he continued to serve for decades and retired from the military, he said almost nothing about his combat experiences. Therefore, I still wonder. What did I owe him for his sacrifice? What can I do for the people who risked so much for my family, friends, neighbors, countrymen, and even for me?

Winning the peace is harder than winning the war.
Xavier Becerra (from here)

We can strive to win the peace.

When I went looking for the quote above, I was dumbfounded to find it supposedly belongs to a relatively obscure California congressman. I think the observation has to go back further than that. Nevertheless, each generation must rediscover the problem for itself.

During the Cold War, JFK put it this way.

The world has not escaped from the darkness. The long shadows of conflict and crisis envelop us still. But we meet today in an atmosphere of rising hope, and at a moment of comparative calm. My presence here today is not a sign of crisis, but of confidence. I am not here to report on a new threat to the peace or new signs of war. I have come to salute the United Nations and to show the support of the American people for your daily deliberations. For the value of this body’s work is not dependent on the existence of emergencies–nor can the winning of peace consist only of dramatic victories. Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures. And however undramatic the pursuit of peace, that pursuit must go on. — John F. Kennedy (from here)

We cannot completely win the peace. Until the Second Coming, we will not know peace. Still, for the sake of our family, friends, neighbors, countrymen we must strive for peace, but what does that striving mean in practice?

Consider again how JFK defined peace.

Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures. And however undramatic the pursuit of peace, that pursuit must go on.

When we are at peace with each other, we have found a way to live together without resorting to violence. That involves compromises, and it is difficult to work out and maintain those compromises. During the Civil War, for example, no compromise could be found. Therefore, by the end of that war, the combatants had filled our graveyards with the bodies of the fallen. The survivors became veterans.

To win the peace — to maintain the peace — requires hard work and sacrifice from each of us. We cannot rightfully sit back as an observer — enjoy the fireworks — and turn the work of building peace over to someone else. We must participate in gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, and quietly building new structures.

Consider a couple of disparate examples.

  • Donald Trump is now president. During the transition, he will begin the process of appointing his cabinet and many other government officials.  Because personnel equates to policy, we will learn from his appointments just how serious he is about his campaign promises. Contact the man any way you can. Make yourself heard in letters to the editor and in emails and phone calls to your Senators and Congressmen. Explain how you expect our elected leaders to help us — WE THE PEOPLE — make America Great Again.
  • There is a move afoot to recall Prince William County’s School Board Chairman, Mr. Ryan Sawyers. The following news article describes the effort: Committee Petitions to Recall School Board Chairman. If we agree with the petition drive and live in Prince William County, then we should make some effort to support it.

As citizens, we must carefully select, help, and monitor our elected officials. Sometimes we even have to insist that they find something else to do with their time. That is how Americans win peace among themselves and with the citizens of other nations. Striving to win and keep the peace is how we show our respect for our veterans.

When we take part in the development and execution of public policy, we can work to avoid sending good men and women to war. Because we respect the sacrifices required by war, we must strive to avoid asking anyone to make such sacrifices. However, when the only option is warfare, we must continue working for peace. Then we must do our best to support our military forces and see to it we celebrate their sacrifices on Veterans Day, not Memorial Day.

HUNKERING DOWN FOR THE BIG SNOWSTORM (JONAS)

Snowstorm Jonas snowfall predictions (from here)
Snowstorm Jonas snowfall predictions (from here)

I spent a lot of time growing up on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Back then the weathermen named hurricanes, and nobody named snowstorms.  Now we are more into equality. We name hurricanes after both men and women, and we even name snowstorms.

Silly people don’t think enough. Very few men ever display the raging, flaring temper of an angry woman, and those men we put in jail. When compared to hurricanes, snowstorms are just not worth naming.

Just the same the snow is falling, and it looks like we will get lots of it. Since noon we have already gotten several inches, and just keeps snowing harder. It is good thing tomorrow is Saturday.

Anyway, Virginia is in a state of emergency. That means stay home. On the other hand, if this were a hurricane and your home was on the beach, staying home would be a very bad idea.

The National Weather Service has a good website, and they don’t bother with the hype or the advertisements.  So that is generally where I go for weather info, but there is more out there related to weather emergencies..

Yesterday, Delegate Bob Marshall provided his constituents an email with a bunch of links. Here is the email.

THE MARSHALL MESSAGE

Dear Friends,

As you are probably already aware Virginia is expecting a significant winter storm beginning tomorrow, Friday, January 22nd and extending through Saturday. Below are a number of resources you may find helpful before, during and after the storm:

VDOT is preparing for this storm and is pre-treating roads in areas where the temperatures will allow today.  Once the snow is falling you may want to check out VDOT’s snow plow tracking tool that allows you to check the snow plowing status of your neighborhood. VDOT and VA Dept of Emergency Management also suggest the following in the case of a winter storm:

  • Get where you need to be before the weather gets bad. If possible, delay travel to allow VDOT crews to clear the roads. Most accidents happen within the first two hours after a storm begins. If you must drive, wear a seatbelt and drive slowly.
  • Monitor media outlets for notices of closures of government offices or private operations to avoid unnecessary travel.
  • Report road problems to (800) 367-7623 or novainfo@vdot.virginia.gov.
  • Make sure you have essential supplies on hand: at least three days of food that does not require refrigeration or electricity to prepare; at least three days of water (one gallon per person per day); a battery-powered and/or hand-crank radio to get information from local media; a family emergency plan.
  • To check road conditions, you can call 511, go to www.511virginia.org or download the mobile app at the 511 web site.
  • Information on how to prepare is available at the Virginia Department of Emergency Management or download the new Ready Virginia app for iPhones and Android devices.
  • Follow VDOT Northern Virginia on Twitter: @vadotnova
  • Ensure all mobile communication devices are charged in advance.
  • If you lose power, call your power company to report it.
  • Do not operate generators indoors. Follow manufacturer’s directions exactly.
  • Only call 911 for life-threatening emergencies.
  • Please bring in all pets from outside during the storm.

Reporting Outages

Dominion Virginia Power – (866) 366-4357, and their outage map can be reached here.

NOVEC – (703) 335-0500, and their outage map can be reached here.

Washington Gas – (703) 750-1000, and their winter resources can be reached here.

Non-Emergency County Resources

Prince William County: The PWC site has snow removal and winter safety tips. To call, dial 703-792-6500.

City of Manassas Park  Information about snow safety is available at this website.  Manassas Park has declared a snow emergency for tomorrow, January 22nd so please click here to see the routes.

As always, please let me know if there is any way I can assist you by emailing me at mail@delegatebob.com or calling me on my cell phone at 703-853-4213.  Please have a warm and safe weekend!

Sincerely,
Delegate Bob Marshall

REMINDER: CHRIS CRAWFORD AND COREY STEWART DEBATE OVER THE BEST POLICIES FOR PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY

campaign.pngWhen?

Four candidates for elected office in Prince William County will meet for two separate debates Saturday, April 11.

First at 5:30 p.m., incumbent Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman, At-large Corey Stewart will meet his Republican challenger Chris Crawford to debate local issues concerning governance of Prince William County and the task of leading its Board of Supervisors. Both men are candidates in an April 25 party canvass, also known as a “firehouse” primary where Republican voters will decide who will go on to face Democrat challenger Rick Smith in November. (continued here)

Where?

The debates will be held at the Dar AlNoor Islamic Community Center on Hoadly Road in Woodbridge. The event is co-sponsored by the Coles District Civic Association and Potomac Local. (from here)

Who is Chris Crawford?

Opinion Piece: written by Chris Crawford, Republican Primary Candidate for Chairman of the Board of County Supervisors.  

Another Outrageous Display of Poor Leadership by Mr. Stewart

Last night I was reminded why I am running to replace Corey as Chairman of the Board of County Supervisors. At their weekly BOCS meeting Tuesday night, a hot topic during Citizen’s Time was the decision by the school board to designate the Ferlazzo Elementary school as a new building for the Porter School and not a “community school” as originally planned. (continued here)

Come to the debate. Listen to the candidates. Support your candidate. Hear their positions. Find out what they want to do. Let them defend what they have said and done. Take the time to participate of the local governance of the place where you live.

HOW DID THE DEBATE BETWEEN THE CANDIDATES FOR BRENTSVILLE SUPERVISOR TURN OUT?

Greg Letiecq recorded the debate.  Here is his video.

Letiecq has the video and some commentary here.

Bristow Beat summarizes the debate in this story:Brentsville Supervisor Debate Highlights Distinctions between Candidates. In this story, Local Republicans Revoke Scott Jacobs’ Membership in their Party, the Bristow Beat confirms a comment I made in an earlier post.

The Potomac Local has a couple of articles related to the debate.

I watched the debate, and I thought it quite interesting. Linton Hall School relaxed the mood with a little Christmas music courtesy of their Fife & Drum Corps. The children are really quite good, and everyone enjoyed the diversion, but then we got to the business at hand.

Generally, the candidates came well prepared.  All have lived in the area for years.  Eric Young and Scott Jacobs grew up here. Young spoke from the perspective of someone who has served on multiple community boards. Jacobs leveraged his experience as a successful businessman. Jeanine Lawson, who has lived Prince William County for 19 years, spoke from with perspective of a grassroots political leader. Lawson has a long record of being involved in community affairs. Of the three candidates, she is probably the most well-known to our community.

My personal impression is that Lawson and Young got the most out of the debate. Jacobs made no secrets of his ties to and sympathies for the developers in Prince William County. For example, Lawson and Young successfully made the case that the Stone Haven development would cost the citizens of Prince William financially and further overcrowd our schools. On the other hand, Jacobs failed to provide a convincing argument for approving Stone Haven. That left the impression his first loyalties would not be with the citizens of Prince William County.

Young made, perhaps, one strategic mistake.  He came out in support of a pre-kindergarten program for financially disadvantaged children. Although his position probably pleased the members of our local teacher’s union, both Lawson and Jacobs promptly slapped down his proposal. Even if Young’s proposal made sense, the county does not have the money to pay for it. That’s why we already have a high student to teacher ratio. Thus, with his support for a pre-kindergarten program, Young undermined his credibility as someone who can be counted upon to balance the budget and keep taxes further increasing.