January 05, 2006

Dining and Dashing

The husband was finally able to visit his preferred cigar vendor yesterday.

The branch shop the husband used to visit was shut down recently due to decreased sales because of the increase in tobacco taxation health impact fees, so he had to visit the main shop downtown. He finally got this done, and because it was above freezing yesterday afternoon, the husband and I decided to go for a walk after we bought our Powerball ticket.

So, we've purchased what we think, of course, will be the winner and we're meandering our way through Cake Eater downtown when we come upon the Grandmothers for Peace. Every Wednesday, these women take up real estate on corners in Cake Eater downtown and flash signs that read "End the Occupation," or "Peace" or "Out of Iraq Now" to the passing traffic. Some people honk. Most drive by in silence. If it's warmer, some people yell obscenities. The husband---now happily smoking his cigar in the chilly, early evening air---and I avoid these women on two different corners as we cross the street. I keep my mouth shut and keep walking. Suddenly I notice I'm all alone. (It's Minnesota and it's chilly outside: you keep your head down.)

The husband had left me. To go and "chat" with one of the Grandmas.

As I was about fifteen feet beyond him and I couldn't hear what he said to them.

But I did see how they responded to whatever it was he said.

They stuck their protest signs up in such a way as to ward him off, like he was a disease. And they did it like they were little kids. One of the women was agitated and started waving her sign in front of the husband's face. After a moment's conversation, he turned and walked away.

He caught up with me a moment later and I asked him what he said to have them respond in such a way. He replied that he'd simply said that ten thousand little girls in Iraq now get to go to school.

How bloody childish can you get? Did she say anything? No. Did she tell the husband she was glad to hear his opinion, even if she disagreed with it? No. She waved her sign in his face. As if he was a vampire and it was a bulb of garlic meant to ward him off.

Which leads me to this thought, my devoted Cake Eater readers: in the restaurant of life, pacifists dine and dash. They're thieves. They eat the good food, they drink the good wine, they enjoy the ambience of the restaurant, but when the tab comes to the table, they get up and run because they won't pay the bill. It's not that they can't pay the bill; it's that they won't. They've made a conscious choice to say, hey, I love all that society has to offer, but I love it so much more than the average person, I won't pay for it because I believe it should all be free. And then runs out the door before someone can stop them.

Oh, sure, theoretically they're allowed. They're allowed to say all they want, until their faces turn blue and their tongues fall out. That's the beauty of free speech. But most of us realize that freedom isn't free. It never has been and it never will be. Freedom requires sacrifice and these pacifists, these Grandmothers for Peace, will never be willing to make any sacrifice to serve the greater good. It's not because they can't make the sacrifice; it's because they won't make the sacrifice. They want everything good, but they don't want to pay for it. They're freeloaders. They dine and dash.

How well do you think that goes over with the waitstaff?

Posted by Kathy at January 5, 2006 05:38 PM | TrackBack

Damn, lady.

When you hit a nail on the head, you hit it square.

Well said.

Posted by: Christina at January 5, 2006 06:48 PM

I'm following Christina because she is awesome.

Take Care

Posted by: Michael at January 5, 2006 07:48 PM

Well done, to you & yours!

Posted by: Mom at January 5, 2006 08:14 PM

Agreed. and linked. Very well stated.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at January 5, 2006 08:57 PM

Her via Christina, and I have to say this was an awesome post.

Posted by: Theresa at January 5, 2006 09:07 PM

Fantastic post Kathy!

Posted by: Kate at January 5, 2006 10:25 PM

wow. well done, Kathy; well done

Posted by: amelie at January 5, 2006 10:49 PM

Great analogy, Kathy!

When I was attending Army Ranger School, I met a former Vietnam P.O.W. I asked him why he was going through ranger training after spending six years as the guest of Ho Chi Minh. He laughed, "Piece o' cake."

His point wasn't really that ranger school was mere purgatory compared to the hell of the Hanoi Hilton, but that he was there because he saw it as his duty to continue his stand against tyranny. He'd seen the worst our enemies can do and he'd come away more determined. He could easily handle missing a little sleep and few meals.

The troops we now have serving in Afghanistan and Iraq are made of that same stuff.

Posted by: Bob at January 5, 2006 11:27 PM

Sounds like the group of ladies that show up on Division Street in St. Cloud!

Am I close?

Alexandria Republican

Posted by: Retired Spy at January 5, 2006 11:54 PM

Might be a different branch. Cake Eater Land=Edina

Posted by: Kathy at January 6, 2006 12:00 AM

Awesome! Just perfectly said!

Posted by: Oddybobo at January 6, 2006 08:18 AM


Excellent analogy.

Posted by: David M. at January 6, 2006 09:00 AM

More and more in this world there are takers rather than givers. A sad truth.

Posted by: Dishonorable Schoolboy at January 6, 2006 09:27 AM

The waitstaff can't help but become bitter...

Very well said, Kathy.

Posted by: That 1 Guy at January 6, 2006 10:46 AM

You just have to wonder what argument they would make to someone who has been over there. All three of my boys that have been in Iraq say that they would go back, that they made a difference there.

Posted by: Raging Mom at January 6, 2006 11:00 AM


I am sorry to be late to the table but thank you for your words. My son fought in the Gulf War, Afghanistan, Iraq, and now faces another deployment to Iraq and he is not yet 35 years old. My blood BOILS, even as a firm believer in free speech, to hear and see the reactions of those not willing to see that freedom is NOT free and has never been free.

Posted by: Edd at January 6, 2006 12:28 PM

Your husband is a rock star. That was brilliant. I am going to borrow it and use it where and whenever I can. In our little town, there is always favorable coverage of the whackos out with their signs on the main bridge once a month. My kids are always excited to see the "barking moonbats" (they'd like to visit them in their caves one day but I forbid it) because I let them roll the windows down and give 'em all a thumbs down.

Next time I'm going to park and share your husband's observation. Pithy and brilliant.

I love it.

Posted by: RP at January 6, 2006 03:16 PM

Oh my G-d! I surfed in here from RP's (a good friend) and I have never heard such an astoundingingly good parallel - The dine-and-dash pacifists!!!!!

Good show, and your husband was dead on in his ppoint about the Iraqi girls.

Posted by: Mark at January 8, 2006 08:43 PM

When did you serve, Kathy?

Your husband is clueless. Girls were already given an education in secular Iraq. Now that you've paved the way for a theocracy, that'll soon change.

Raging mom:
"You just have to wonder what argument they would make to someone who has been over there. All three of my boys that have been in Iraq say that they would go back, that they made a difference there."

They sure have made a difference. They've liberated more than a hundred thousand Iraqis from their lives, destroyed the infrastructure, created an insurgency that makes daily life hellish and locked up and abused more citizens than even bad old Saddam managed to. Iraq wasn't a paradise but it's now a basketcase.

Posted by: Dr Z at January 9, 2006 01:38 AM

Wow, 18 comments before the trolls came out to play.

Posted by: MRN aka "The Husband" at January 9, 2006 07:47 AM

My fault, MRN, he followed the link from my site. Apologies, and bear in mind that "Dr. Zen" is an anti-American, anti-Semitic Brit who finds it sporting to call others "racist" for supporting our (and his) troops and Israel.

Posted by: Mark at January 9, 2006 08:22 PM

No worries Mark, I've been on the Internet a long time, and trolls are nothing new.

However, for a guy calling himself "Dr. Zen", he certainly contains quite a bit of vitriol. In fact, allow me to quote Zen Master Dahui (as translated by Thomas Cleary):

There are intellectual professionals who think they know everything but Zen, so they call over a couple of incompetent old monks, give them a meal, and have them say whatever comes into their minds. The 'intellectuals' then write this babble down and use it to judge everyone else. They trade sayings and call this 'Zen encounter', imagining they have got the advantage if they have got the last word.
They don't even know it if they happen to run into real perceptives. Even if they do notice the real ones, these intellectuals are not really sure and will not seek understanding from the teachers. They just seek approval as before. Then when the teachers demonstrate the real developmental impact of Zen in the midst of all sorts of situations, the intellectuals are afraid to approach.

Posted by: MRN aka "The Husband" at January 9, 2006 11:23 PM

I apologize for joining the discussion very late -- I just found this post.

In your analogy, you equate freedom with a collective meal we have all enjoyed. You equate the grandmothers with diners who have eaten the meal, but then skipped on the tab. A few questions if I might:

1. For what freedom of ours have the grandmothers refused to pay by protesting the war in Iraq? How, specifically, would you and I and the grandmothers be less free if our military weren't in Iraq today?

2. I would guess that most people would probably judge that some wars are worth the cost and others are not. That seems like a modest proposition. This suggests that, at least sometimes, war is not in the best interest of a nation, and the grandmother's postion is valid, correct even. Have you not cheated the debate by failing to establish the merits of this war before you accuse the opposition of being unpatriotic freeloaders? In fact, that's the point, isn't it? You've skipped over the hard part (i.e. establishing why the war in Iraq is in our national interest, how the benefits of girls in school, Saddam out of power, etc. are worth the real costs in blood, treasure, destruction, etc.).

3. There are at least a few military veterans who agree with the grandmothers about the poor cost/benefits of the war in Iraq.


Are they also thieves in your diner?

Posted by: Rob at March 1, 2006 11:46 AM

Not all sacrifice for freedom is military in nature, cf. Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., etc.

Posted by: Osaka at March 2, 2006 12:05 AM
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