Just To Set The Record Straight

Let’s just call this my “once and for all clear the air” column.

In my very first MidWeek column some eight years or so ago, I pledged to you, my readers, to always tell the truth – as best I know it – to eschew political correctness, and to resist pressures, from whatever source, to compromise my personal values and beliefs.

Over the years I have screwed up a few times, like getting my Central America geography wrong, or in the case of a recent column failing to distinguish the difference between oil and “fossil fuels,” for which one of MidWeek‘s letter writers – who always have their slings and arrows at the ready (as they should) – was quick to remind me. In neither case did it change the point of my column.

All of MidWeek‘s columnists are unique according to their diverse backgrounds and experiences, and our views and opinions reflect that.

What makes my views and opinions unique? For starters, I was taught as a youngster to be accountable for my choices, and to take responsibility for their outcomes … and to expect the same from others.

I was taught that whatever outcomes may be, life isn’t always fair, and that as my late mother-in-law used to say, “You gotta just bloom where you’re planted.”

I was taught the value and dignity of an honest day’s work.

I was taught appreciation for my freedoms and for the men and women of our military who protect them.

At the beginning of my 28-year career in the U.S. Navy, I took my military oath of enlistment very seriously: “I, Gerald Coffee, do solemnly swear that I will uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.”

As many of you readers know, I spent seven of those 28 years in the Communist prisons of North Vietnam, resisting daily the efforts of my enemy there to forsake my oath.

During that ordeal I learned that our “cold war enemy,” communism, controls its people with a constant barrage of lies, slander and deceit, and that there is no dignity of the individual.

While there, I witnessed, up-close and personal, the grim alternative to a free and democratic system. Not surprisingly, my love and respect for the constitutional freedoms and values we enjoy here in America compounded daily.

Even though I left active Navy duty 27 years ago, I continue to take that oath very seriously – to “uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

Obviously, I can no longer do that flying combat missions from aircraft carriers, so I speak in public and I write in MidWeek. And although I prefer to speak and write of more uplifting things, I am compelled by a sense of “true faith and allegiance” to do all that I can to reveal to my listeners and to you, my readers, how Barack Obama is America’s No. 1 domestic enemy.

During his election campaign four years ago, he asserted that America “needs fundamental change,” and that’s what he meant with the slogan “Change.”

Now, in effecting his changes, he is making our country weaker militarily, poorer economically, more dependent financially and energy-wise, more divided domestically, and less respected and trusted internationally.

He has come to pose the greatest danger to America’s security, historical values, freedoms and future that we have ever known.

And that’s where this columnist is coming from.