Thursday, September 06, 2007

"Freedom's Watch's" Boggus Invitation to Support the Troops

On my way home from work on Wednesday, I was scanning the AM radio channels, as I usually do, and found myself listening to Sean Hannity -- I do it so you don’t have to -- on WOOD 1300 in Grand Rapids. The always-revolting Hannity moved to commercial break, during which a "Freedom’s Watch” ad was aired. It was the one that features Iraq war veteran Andrew Robinson, who was on his second tour of duty when he was wounded by an IED in June of 2006. Andrew lost the use of his legs. In the ad, Andrew tells us why he believes “victory (in Iraq) is America's only choice.” The ad ends with a plea for the audience to call their representatives in congress and tell them to support freedom, and it directs them to dial 1 (877) 222-8001 to be put through to the office of their representative.

Being the good liberal that I am, I dialed the number, thinking that this would be an excellent time to call Vern Ehlers (for the umpteenth time) to tell him to support the troops by bringing an end to this feckless, immoral, pre-emptive, illegal war for oil without end, AMEN!, since the ad was providing me with assistance in contacting my congressman. The ad did not say, “Do not call if you don’t support the war.”

So, I dial 1 (877) 222-8001 to add my discordant voice to the chorus, and I’m placed on hold for a couple of minutes. A very patriotic message, read by a very patriotic jingoist, looped a couple of times. Although there was more “support the war” stuff in the message, the gist of it goes something like this, “Thank you for calling Freedom’s Watch…..An operator will be with you shortly to help you call congress so that you can tell them to support freedom.”

I’m thinking, “Hmmm, this is really great, I’m going to leave Ehlers a message telling him to support freedom by bringing the troops home and ending the war!” Although the ad and the message are pro-war, neither the ad nor the message said anything about not accepting a dissenting opinion.

A woman with a wimpy, squeaky voice comes on the line and offers a spiel in the form of a question. I’m paraphrasing here, but the question was more or less like this: “Do you support the fight for the ideals and values that keep America strong and prosperous through continued efforts to protect America against the global threat of terror?”

I said, “Ummm, no.”

She quickly squeaked out, “Have a nice day, and go to – “

I butted in, “Hey, wait! I thought you were going to put me through to my congressman?”

She said, “No. Go to Bye.” And she hung up on me.

So, just for grins, I assumed my wide “pain in the ass” stance, and continued to call them a number of times. Each time, when I revealed my position, they cut me off. “Hey, what’d I do wrong?” I thought. I did what they told me to do: I attempted to call my congressman to tell him to support the troops.

From Freedom’s Watch’s web site:

Freedom’s Watch is organized as a nonprofit corporation and operated in a manner consistent with section 501 (c) (4) of the federal income tax laws. Freedom’s Watch is dedicated to educating individuals about and advancing public policies that protect America’s interests at home and abroad, foster economic prosperity, and strengthen families. Through outreach and education, communications to key members of Congress, and bold public awareness initiatives, Freedom’s Watch is fighting for the ideals and policies that keep America strong and prosperous. We welcome all those who share our values to join our efforts.

What’s interesting to me is that I do share their values. Every last one of them. However, our opinions differ about the way in which we attain those goals. Since I was cut-off several times by a “Freedom’s Watch” operator, I can only conclude that their ads offer false statements when they invite me to call their number to contact my congress person to “support freedom” and then disconnect me when the reality-based version of “freedom” doesn’t match up to the “freedom” they project in their marketing spin. Hanging up on me isn’t freedom, because freedom allows for dissent.

I realize that Freedom’s Watch has a specific goal, and that is to increase support for the war. They have a $ 15 million war chest to spend on radio and television ads, and the ads will continue through the month of September. Hell, the president of Freedom’s Watch, Bradley Blakeman, says, “The mission of Freedom’s Watch is to ensure a strong national defense and a powerful effort to confront and defeat global terror, especially in Iraq. Those who want to quit while victory is possible have dominated the public debate about terror and Iraq since the 2004 election. Freedom’s Watch is going to change that.”

What part of “this war is wrong, it’s immoral, it’s illegal, and we shouldn’t be fighting it” do these doofuses not understand? What can we do to counter this reckless marketing campaign? Frankly, I don’t think it’s very effective because Bush lost the country on the war quite some time ago and the ads are a bit too simplistic and “in your face” (the country has moved on from the upside down rhetoric of the Bush administration), but if enough people are convinced to call their congressperson, our representatives may think that there is more support for this war than is actually out there

What can those of us who do not support this immoral, illegal war do to encourage the majority of Americans who, like us, do not support this war to contact their congressional representatives to demand an end to this war, NOW?

Share your ideas.

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