The following is an email that I received in response to the newspaper article.
Greetings Mr. Blackwood,
I enjoyed reading your article, "Who, What Are Tea Party People?" in the Friday, 29 April 2011 edition of the Paris Post Intelligencer. Your explanation of Who, What .. and perhaps more importantly, WHY the Tea Party exists was concise and in my opinion, On The Money!
I am a retired U.S. Army officer. I spent the first 9 years and 11 months of my service as an enlisted man and then in July 1970, I received a direct appointment to commissioned status while serving with the 25th Infantry Division during my second tour in Vietnam.
I turn 69 years old in July and have worked 55 of those years .. more than half of my adult life was spent overseas. After 30 years military service, followed by 5 years as a government contractor in Turkey, followed by an additional 19 + years as a company owner overseas, we returned to my roots and settled down in Henry County in July 2007. It was shortly thereafter that, in addition to hunting, fishing, gardening and landscaping, I began to devote a lot of my time to the evaluation and support of Conservative politics. Prior to that time I had always been a Conservative person but I spent more time analyzing and reporting on international affairs than I did on domestic affairs. All Regular Army Officers have a primary and an alternate speciality .. my primary was Military Police Officer, my alternate was Foreign Area Officer .. a form of political-military analyst who spends time on the ground in their area of interest. We are not spies or intelligence agents per se, though we were authorized collectors and analyzers of political and strategic intelligence. We are Army Attaches, Exchange Officers, students at foreign academies and area experts who function down where the rubber meets the road and who strive to develop life long friendships with those who will some day become the political and military leaders in various countries.
I still devote a huge amount of time to analyzing international affairs, primarily to events in the Near and Middle East .. and in Russia .. and those involving Islam and Moderate Muslim affairs .. all areas in which I was involved while in the military and even after retirement. I have spent a lot of time in Africa and the Middle East .. in Moderate Muslim and Hard Core Islamic countries .. and more than 26 years in Turkey alone .. 19 + years just the last trip, which ended in 2007. I still maintain close and friendly relationships with many of the movers and shakers in Turkey .. politicians and general officers who were my friends when they walked to work and carried their lunch but who now ride to work in chauffeured limousines with armed guards.
I understand the language of Real Politik and the tactics of political spin and I can glean the real message from most any report from the news media or the government. There are those who still consider me to be an "area expert" and who call on me from time to time to provide analysis and/or insight into probable decisions or future actions in various parts of the world .. more so in those that were in my areas of concentration.
I became even more devoted to the American domestic Conservative movement when the previously unknown Barack Obama became our Nation's Commander in Chief .. I avoid referring to him as our Nation's Leader because he exhibits no leadership traits or qualifications.
Now that I have introduced myself, I'll get to the point of this e-mail.
I spend a lot of time writing on Face Book .. countering the radical messages being regurgitated by a large number of Leftists, Progressives and Socialists. I find that bantering with them is like taking candy from a baby because they can not .. for long .. support a position without falling back on the handouts they receive from their Liberal mentors .. or without quoting some Liberal source like MoveOn.Org, etc., or by reverting to name calling in an attempt to marginalize the messenger rather than defend their message. At the risk of sounding like I am blowing my own horn (which I might be doing) I have found that I have been able to knock a large number of people off the fence by simply telling it like it really is .. that we are in deep fiscal Kim Chi today and unless drastic measures are taken NOW we will soon find ourselves in a position where it is not possible to extricate ourselves without suffering great and lasting harm. I try to counter the scare tactics, twisted logic, spin, smoke and mirrors used by the Left (who are now (justifiably) in a panic mode) in order to not lose some of the momentum they have gained under the current Socialist leaning administration. Will these people who are now off the fence also get off their butts and vote during the next election? Good question! Perhaps half will .. the other half may well continue to devote time to watching Reality TV and winding their watches. However, if I can encourage some of them to get out and vote .. or even cause some of them to stay at home .. people who might otherwise get out and vote for the Left because they fear losing their Medicare and Social Security (as they are being told by the Leftists) then I guess the mission was not a total failure.
Request permission to post to Face Book, your article of 29 April 2011. I would post as is with no changes. I am assuming that this article is your property rather than that of the Post Intelligencer.
I thank you sir for your consideration of this request.
Have a nice day .. and keep smiling.
Ewell M. (Butch) Owen
LTC, US Army (Ret)
572 Cates Road, Paris