To The Pacific Palisades Democratic Club:
I have just learned tonight that you had awarded Mikey Weinstein a “courage award”, and then revoked it, supposedly because he had “served in the Reagan White House”. As a staunch Democrat, who became such as a young adult while in seminary, after being raised Republican, I cannot believe that this is the true reason.
By your lights, then NO senior military officer can ever receive your award, since all of us who were in uniform during the Reagan Presidency have “supported” his administration. Not only that, but we served, most of us, during the Administrations of Bush I and II, in addition to those of Carter, and Clinton, and now, Obama. That is what is meant by the oath of office we take, to serve the country rather than be involved in politics. I have worked with both Republicans and Democrats…neither party has a lock on honor or courage; both parties need many more people with political courage if our country is to be well served.
Why would politics from 30 years ago override the incredible contribution that Mikey is making today? He has seen an outrage, and he, virtually alone, has taken on the voiceless young troops of our armed forces, and lobbied and spoken on their behalf. I don’t care if he is a little green man from Mars, he is serving as the definition of courage in the face of brutal threats, not just political, but physical threats. In all of this he has stood firm.
I am a retired Navy Chaplain, one of the first women to so serve. A colleague of mine, also a Lutheran woman Chaplain, albeit serving in the US Air Force, faithfully carrying out the ministry to which she was ordained, and for which she was sent into the military by her church, was forced out of the chaplaincy because of the fundamentalist pressures at the USAF Academy. It was due to the injustice being done to her that I learned about Mikey and the MRFF. I have since sent the MRFF whatever funds I could, and have written in support of the organization. I have replied to the lies told about him, about MRFF, and have argued against those who have tried to subvert our military through their actions and policies.
If you are true to the national values which I, as a Democrat, hope that our party represents, then you will rethink your actions. There is no courage, nor is there any honor, in what you have done.
Hello (name withheld)
We appreciate your concerns. . To Clarify, Mr. Weinstein was not actually awarded, he was asked to be honored (ie: receive our award for political courage) at our annual fundraiser event. here is our official statement.
Pacific Palisades Democratic Club Subject: Response to news release by Ilene Proctor International PR on Mikey Weinstein not being awarded the Pacific Palisades Democratic Club Courage Award.
Mister Weinstein was offered the award by a member of the Board for his work with the organization, Military Religious Freedom Foundation, of which he is the founder. However, when the awards committee did a more in-depth review of his background, it was determined that he was not an appropriate person for this award. Some members noted that Mr. Weinstein had a significant role as Assistant General Counsel to the Reagan White House where he defended the administration during the Iran Contra scandal. Although the Committee felt that Mr. Weinstein’s work with the MRFF was very important, there were more suitable candidates under consideration for the 2010 award. “We are supportive of his work in challenging the religious intolerance affecting the military“, said Joe Halper, past president of the Pacific Palisades Democratic Club. “However, Mr. Weinstein and his publicist have chosen to exacerbate the situation by attempting to coerce us into reconsidering the decision by embarrassing us publicly.”
Dear Pacific Palisades Democratic Club:
I appreciate that you replied back to me, and thank you for that. I also carefully read, and re-read your message, and find the additional information helpful. However, I am still not convinced. Your comment was that he was not the awardee…not because of what he is doing now…but something he did more than 25 years ago, as assistant counsel to the White House, something which was within the scope of his duties.
Had you folks stated that your evaluation of his current efforts were of less value than that of the actual awardee, I would understand, but I still think this is a terrible evaluation. You have said that his work, which, at a maximum was less than a decade in the life of this man has disqualified everything that has come after that. In Mikey’s case, that is absolutely an unjust evaluation. Some of our greatest saints in history, and many of our great leaders have changed course because of a new understanding of what they are meant to do that is different than what they were as a young adult. Francis of Assisi is just one individual who comes to mind. As a young man, he was a soldier, a man of wealth who wasted much of it. Do we celebrate the saint, or throw his contribution away because of his youth as a soldier? In a sense, you are demanding that we deny someone’s entire life because we disagree with a man’s LEGAL job (in this case, because we disagree with the politics of his employer). I’m sorry, but this strikes me as a very unjust position, and denigrates the current work he has dedicated his life to for years, at great personal cost.
No one who makes one decision we disagree with can ever redeem himself in our eyes?