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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
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Author:  Larry Simoneaux
Bio: Larry Simoneaux
Date:  October 15, 2009
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Topic category:  Other/General

Repacking my gear.

My wife’s about to strangle me.

That’s because hunting season is here and I’ve done nothing but climb the walls and repeatedly repack all of my gear - if she can be believed - for the past three weeks.

Anyway, by the time you read this, I’ll be sitting on some rock, overlooking some draw, on the backside of some hill, way off in the Okanogan, and loving every minute of it.

Still, there’s this editor I have to satisfy or else all of the stored up guilt we catholics of a certain age carry around will come pouring out to make me miserable.

So, where to start?

How about with President Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize?

OK, Reuters published the following quote from a blog. Who wrote it ?

“For the first time, we are witnessing an award with the nominee having done nothing to deserve it: rewarding someone for a wish that is very far from becoming reality.”

Was it: (a) Rush Limbaugh; (b) Charles Krauthammer; or (c) Newt Gingrich?

If you said: (d) Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, you’d be right.

Apparently, this selection has people of all political stripes scratching their heads and saying “What the heck?”

However, if you review the recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize, you’ll see that this is not the first time wherein the award could be viewed as having been given for political reasons or in order to make a statement...such as “At least he’s not George Bush.”

I’m not all that worked up about it because they once handed the award to Yasir Arafat. Try explaining that one to any rational assembly of humans and you’ll end up with a loudly snickering audience - unless the audience also saw that the members of the awards committee were wearing those funny Groucho Marx masks during the presentation. Which they weren’t.

Still, they do give it to people like Elie Wiesel, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, and Andrei Sakharov. When such happens, you really do sit up and take notice because, at such times - unlike now - the award points out that there really are giants walking among us.

So, good luck to President Obama. I think that he’s going to need all that he can get to navigate the pool of skepticism already surrounding him which, with this award, just got one heck of a lot wider.

Good grief. Hugo Chavez and Rush Limbaugh thinking the same thing. End times are upon us.

On another topic, it looks as if the Navy is going to put women onboard submarines.

In my entire career, I only once visited a sub. That was enough to convince me that, no matter how confined ships were, they were palaces compared to submarines.

Think of stuffing about a hundred people into a small home and, then, having all manner of pipes, cable runs, pumps, motors, foodstuffs, lubricants, torpedoes, missiles, and electronic gear installed around them. Then, close the doors and windows and put the whole shebang under water for several weeks at a time.

I guess you have to love it.

Still, the first thing we might do is have any women who volunteer for submarines sit through several screenings of the movie “Das Boot” in order to give them an idea of what living in someone else’s armpit can be like. Then, if they were still up for it and if they can get through a screening process that’s as tough as any you can imagine, let them serve.

Will there be problems?

Bet on it. There are always problems in any new program of any kind and when you put men and women together for long periods of time, you’re going to bump into one that’s been going on since there have been men and women.

Deal with any and all problems that arise honestly, firmly, and quickly and you’ll keep the professionalism and competency necessary for the program to succeed. Do less, play politics, or look the other way and failure is assured.

On a personal note, I’ve served with, served under, and commanded women at sea. Guess what? They had their slackers and their stars - just like men. What I saw was that the job still got done and done well. It just took some getting used to.

Change is always tough, but my guess is that it’ll work out. We’re a nation that’s good at facing new situations and succeeding. We’ll do the same here. Bet on that too.

And, with that, I think I'll go repack my gear.

Larry Simoneaux

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Biography - Larry Simoneaux

Larry Simoneaux is a regular columnist for The Everett Herald in Washington state. He is a retired ship driver for the US Navy and NOAA.

Read other commentaries by Larry Simoneaux.

Copyright © 2009 by Larry Simoneaux
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