Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Sunday, August 13, 2006

"Foes of Wal-Mart enlist the dead"

Michael Costello took on Kelly Turk's hateful letter in yesterday's Lewiston Tribune. Sit back and enjoy!

The dead have long served as one of liberalism's most loyal constituencies. They vote almost unanimously Democratic in elections. Perhaps only Iraqis under Saddam Hussein were more dependable.

There is something about dying that just brings out liberalism in people. For example, in life, Casey Sheehan was a vociferous supporter of the war in Iraq who volunteered to serve a second tour of duty in Iraq. But since giving his life for that cause we are reliably informed by his mother, Cindy, that he has since seen the light and now opposes the war. The New York Times recently edited and published the last letter written by a serviceman killed in Iraq to make him sound like a peacenik. Before the Times improved it, the letter was unambiguously pro-war.

And here in little old Pullman, the dead have been recalled to active duty to support the latest liberal mother of all battles, the war to end all wars, the crusade to spare Pullman the depredations of a Wal-Mart Supercenter. Wal-Mart should not be built because Pullman's dead don't want it.

Before calling out their deceased reserves, Wal-Mart's opponents have lost an election, in which two city council candidates squared off almost exclusively over the issue of whether or not to build a Wal-Mart Supercenter on the south edge of Pullman. The pro-Wal-Mart candidate won convincingly. And all votes were cast by the living and breathing.

Next, the city planning commission decided in Wal-Mart's favor. And finally, even though our compassionate liberal friends argued that a Wal-Mart would result in the "intrusion of undesirable social classes" into Pullman, their appeal before the hearing examiner was also denied.

Wal-Mart's opponents have recently appealed to the courts and found a judge who claimed that he could not understand the hearing examiner's findings and asked that it be rewritten to his reading level. I had no trouble with the report. I think that perhaps reading proficiency should be a campaign issue the next time that Whitman County Superior Court Judge David Frazier comes up for re-election.

In all probability, this judicial hair clog will soon yield to back pressure and progress will flow freely again. And so the opponents have returned to one of their original tactics -- ventriloquizing the dead.

There is a cemetery adjacent to the proposed Wal-Mart site, and Wal-Mart's opponents reliably inform us that its subterranean residents would rather not have their rest disturbed by undesirable social classes either patronizing or working at the supercenter. And if that weren't enough, in the new liberal tradition of "supporting the troops," we are even told that this cemetery deserves special respect as there are veterans resting there.

This is a strange argument, as veterans are buried just about everywhere. Just recently, a friend of mine who distinguished himself during World War II was laid to rest next to a school bus garage and across the street from a restaurant/tavern. Clearly there is no tradition of creating tranquility zones around cemeteries so as not to disturb the reverie of the dead whether the graves hold the bones of heroes or not. That Wal-Mart's opponents would suddenly and sanctimoniously drape their cause in patriotism and respect for the dead drips of a cynical and desperate opportunism.

If liberals genuinely wish to demonstrate their respect for the dead, then they should stop exhuming them to cast votes in elections. The dead deserve the dignity of not being exploited as marionettes for political causes.

Before I am exploited as a sock puppet for liberals, I would like to say that once my bones are planted, I don't care who moves in next door, as long as it's not a statue memorializing president Clinton, Bill or Hillary. The same goes for Jimmy Carter now that I think of it. And Michael Moore.

OK, never mind. We are talking about my dry old bones, and my bones won't care who is memorialized or shops nearby. I would just as soon that my bones be treated like old shoes that I'm done with.

After I'm gone, if anyone wants to speculate on what I might have said, I have left a large body of words to draw from, although I shudder to think what words the New York Times editorial page editors might insert in my mouth once I am unable to refute them.
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