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2017-07-02 - 1:27 p.m.

I enjoyed a wonderful retirement celebration of an old friend, and a lovely visit from the man in my life. He doesn't live far so I can't enjoy his company often largely due to family coming first. As a mother my first obligation is to my kids and just now that makes Alexy who lives with my my #1 priority.

At the party I was so inspired and met some absolutely incredible individuals who have dedicated their lives to service of our country in defense of freedom.

It was incredibly moving to meet and talk with some of these people at the party.
I am today relaxing and trying to find any writing or references thereto of the words of my friend who is retiring primarily to follow his avocation at this juncture of what he sees as a moral calling to provide his leadership in his particular area of expertise. He feels he can do more as a writer and speaker at this juncture than in the job he is leaving. He believes he won't be constrained as to what he can say, and as he said
"The pen is mightier than the sword."

I think it marvelous to have divergent people that have come into my life with many different perspectives and experiences.

So I am relaxing as just exhausted after a very busy couple of days, and reflecting on the seemingly opposing views expressed by some I know. My brother was a writer and publisher who's dear friend wrote the book The Terror Factory espousing a view that the war on terror was manufactured out of unfounded fears. My friend is about to publish his book that the threat of Islamic extremism is grossly underestimated and not understood and as a result our leadership has failed in appropriately addressing this very real threat to democracy.

The amazing thing to me is both perspectives stem from a shared value of loving America and loving freedom and desiring to preserve democracy.

One follows the thought of the Washington Post, from a journalistic perspective that "Democracy dies in Darkness" and our freedoms are preserved when there is not a militaristic overreach of government not trusting its own people but in a paranoid way seeking out to silence them and through a lens of fear envisioning threats that are not real .

The other espouses that there is a very real and very misunderstood and underestimate threat to democracy itself due to not understanding the real nature of radical Islamic extremism.

The thing is, there is very likely truth being told in both these different perspectives. Both are shedding some light on a reality yet I think both are looking at the issue from different, yet valid viewpoints. One can look at a puzzle piece and capture its essence and truth but then that same piece will only have profound meaning in context of the larger picture of the puzzle. Its all a matter of perspective.

So I can't say I disagree with the vision and the real enlightening stories of overreach espoused by Trevor, however I do wonder if he is only looking at one small puzzle piece. I respect and value his work. I think he is a Muslim man who is trying to preserve respect and dignity of Muslims who truly do practice Islam peacefully and just do not believe in extremism on a wide scale exists. I think his writing is genuine and his passion for that subject personal. I think it a very real tragedy when a fine Dr. is run out of a small rural town because no one trusts him due to how he looks, and I call it a hate crime which is unacceptable and a threat to our democracy when a Muslim girl in a Habib leaves a mosque and is beaten to death without any indication of provocation or any sign of her actually being a threat to anyone.

But knowing my friend who is about to embark on publishing his book on the real threat of Islamic extremism, well researched and supported by his unique experiences first hand and his actual expertise in the theater in the middle east and here, I believe he would not fundamentally disagree it is a tragedy when such things happen. There is a common ground despite perspective among most of us that life is valuable, dignity and respect should be extended to all in our fine democracy, and that freedom to be your unique self and practice your religion, or speak your viewpoint, or go to work and earn money to live peaceably are all our democratic values worth fighting for preserving.

Where we diverge in what it means to fight for freedom and what means are necessary to preserve it.
Some think the pen is mightier than the sword,
and others think the sword essential.

Then there is the disagreement of what force, if any, is required to be effective in preserving our fine country, and the question of What does fighting for freedom entail? Will it be maintained if we do not allow for some sacrifices along the way, tragic though those are? Are such justified if not willfully chosen by those who are harmed? Is it morally right to put civilians at risk to protect a much larger group in society? SO MANY ethical questions! But the answers are neither simple, nor is there one morally correct answer.

WhO are we fighting?
Who is providing a threat to freedom?
What can be done; what is our society morally compelled to do; and what sacrifices does that require of each of us or some of us or any of us at all? Are we willing to commit to taking this on as such an important priority to put preserving democracy as a value and moral imperative higher than other callings/ values in life? What about family?

Who gets priority? Family or call to serve country in preservation of values?

That answer to those questions is as different for each as we are all different.

So despite the apparent opposing views I am very appreciative of the passion and as I see it moral direction which compels both these men to write and speak on the issue of how best the U.S. needs to address threats of terror. One says YES vehemently, the other says NO the threat is not even real, but an exaggerated and contrived one. I respect both as I think BOTH views ultimately are motivated by the same thing:
Preservation of freedom in our democracy.

The journalist fears being unable to speak the truth that he or she sees. Trevor Aaronson is defending freedom to write and speak and tell the stories that shaped his view, which is an absolute blessing of our fine democracy that he can do so.

Patrick Henry (as he has said his pen name is... but I think many likely have used that so hard to find his work and know it is his although I swear one day at the retirement community on CNN or some news station I heard a anchor share the view of a "Patrick Henry" and believed I was listening to my friend speak! It sounded like him and I ran to the café from the reception desk to hear the TV and thrilled at what I thought was his opinion being shared.)Anyway, Patrick Henry is so devoted to preserving the ideals and values of our free democracy that he and his whole family find this a higher value, a higher calling than even safety of self and family. They are willing to make themselves vulnerable in order to ensure the safety of others all over the world.

I am so incredibly touched by their love and dedication and willingness to sacrifice.

Its just astounding and honestly overwhelms me to tears of gratitude when I think about it.

As a mother I need to be here for my children to provide a safe space for them which I believe would not otherwise exist. They need this. They need me just now more than anyone else or any belief I could do good in the greater world. I could not consider such an act of service as my avocation. I am so humbled at meeting men and women and speaking with some this weekend.

It made it all the more poignant when standing with my daughter in her simple act of service parking cars while she was proudly wearing her uniform of service last night and then beautiful ending of the day celebrating our freedom to the fireworks and of course that song

"I am proud to be an American"

YES!!! I am so proud to be an American Where I can ride along with SAM , retired at age 92 on his Ride for Peace along with other Veterans for Peace.

And where I can proudly support our military who serve

and where I can train and run with Semper Fi Fund to raise money for Marine families of those who have served and their families, yet not find these differing activities at all contradictory. (YAH this weekend we recruited one more runner! Our team has grown for this FALL at MCM... where we are running the 10K!)

And where I do not see supporting both the military AND peace advocates as at all contradictory.

They , We, all want to preserve the same thing

the beauty of this life living in democracy where we can each be our unique selves, embraced and supported in a community by people we love

No matter what our views, lineage, race, creed, sexuality,

as long as we respect and honor the rights of all others here, not like us, to enjoy those same tenants of democracy and live alongside us in freedom. We are all more the same than different I believe, and we all so value our democracy and share that gratitude that we live in what is still the best place to be.

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