Burch: Honk and vote

Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 10:05pm
By Michael R. Burch

Honk, if you want peace.

Honk, if you don’t want to waste trillions of dollars on fruitless, unwinnable wars.

Honk, if you want our children to grow up in a safer world.

If most Nashvillians could express their opinions at the same time, using their car horns, I think we would hear quite a cacophony for peace.

Nearly everyone I know is bone-weary of war. The majority of us have come to the conclusion that no amount of money is ever going to result in the U.S. “winning” the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Furthermore, the current wars are terribly unfair to our soldiers. Even those who survive are experiencing severe emotional and psychological problems due to the unbelievable stress of modern warfare.

And the possible rise to power of Muqtada al-Sadr in Iraq exposes the Achilles heel of democratizing Middle Eastern nations at such outlandish costs: In a heartbeat, the citizens can elect someone who hates us, and we get the boot.

Now a sort of resigned helplessness seems to reign, because, after all, what can we do? Well, Tennessee is called the Volunteer State, so perhaps it’s time to live up to our nickname. I believe there is something quite simple yet very profound that Tennesseans can do: We can agree to vote together, for peace. We get only one vote per elected office, so we need to make each vote count. We can, as an electorate, tell everyone running for office the following: “Regardless of anything else you do or don’t do, if you don’t strongly oppose these wars NOW, we are going to make damn sure that you never win another election here.”

Please keep in mind that the votes in many elections are split fairly evenly between the major Republican and Democratic candidates. If 5 percent or 10 percent of the electorate chose to vote on the basis of peace rather than party affiliation, we could “tip” more elections than the Tea Party. So why not create a Peace Party and put an end to war, the democratic way?

If we are successful in forcing our politicians to work for peace, we can set an example for the rest of the nation. We can tell other Americans: “Nothing is more important that world peace, as all beauty pageant contestants know."

So ...

... vote, if you want peace.

Vote, if you don’t want to waste trillions of dollars on fruitless, unwinnable wars.

Vote, if you want our children to grow up in a safer world.

Michael R. Burch is a Nashville-based editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry and other “things literary,” at www.thehypertexts.com.

Filed under: City Voices

40 Comments on this post:

By: dargent7 on 4/15/11 at 5:42

I'm on your page, but totally disagree with your analysis of Tennessee.
The only honking here is selfish, ego-centric people wanting you to get out of their way.
And try blogging over at The Tennessean.
Any LTE assigning blame to GW Bush is immediately met with a contingent of rabid Republicans (all Xeroxed) calling the writer a "deranged fool".
Any LTE praising anything Obama has accomplished in 2.5 years is met with vitriole and disparaging name calling.
These people believe we won in Vietnam, won in Iraq, and will win in Afghanistan. (all necessary and just wars).
They hate anyone who's disabled, on welfare, foodstamps, or any type of government assistence. And "Hate" is being too nice.
They hate all Democrats. They loath with unbridled passion Barack Obama. Won't even call him by name when ridiculing him. (but it's not because he's "black").
They feel the need to carry a fully loaded automatic weapon at all times, especially in libraries, bars, restrooms, churches, and Walmarts.
They want Roe v. Wade overturned. The want abortion outlawed, especially in cases of rape or incest. Anyone who isn't "white" and wealthy, they have no time for.
They think Sarah Palin would make a terriffic President.
And this mental paradigm/ dynamic has been going on for the 4 years I've lived here.
Tennessee is a Red state, always was, always will be. (My God, it cost Gore the election in 2000!)
It will never change. Honking my horn is Einstein's definition of insanity.

By: dargent7 on 4/15/11 at 5:46

Oh, and Global Warming is a myth and hoax perpetuated by CA types, championed by that huckster Al Gore.
"We have enough oil and gas for thousands of years....""Right here in America, too...."

By: girliegirl on 4/15/11 at 6:54

Dargent7 You should buy those "air horns" they sell around town, come up to the Plaza, and we'll have a "honking parade" one day. My 90 yr old grandmother participated in the NoTax Parade years back.....and laughed all the while.

By: yogiman on 4/15/11 at 8:10


There has been wars on earth since the beginning of earth. Our notion was created through the act of a war and we have had many wars every since our founding.

There has actually only brief periods of peace since our beginning and in today's constant religious conflicts I doubt if we will ever be in a period of peace until our has ended.

"Leaders" can send anyone to war. They dust don't think they should go themselves. Of course, they have to tell the soldiers "how to fight".

You post of GIs coming home in detrimental conditions. I believe its because our people are sent to war today with one hand tied behind their backs.

They can't shoot until they have been shot at. They can be put in prison if they kill someone that shouldn't be killed. And by that I mean an innocent citizen standing along side an enemy firing at them.

And just think, while we have been in many conflicts since WWII, there has not been a declared war since WWII.

By: gdiafante on 4/15/11 at 8:10

Nice summation, darge.

You forgot to mention how they think the Earth is 6000 years old and that should be taught in public schools, along with Aqua Net caused global warming.

Oh, and we need our own currency...with Foghorn Leghorn on the front.

And putting wine in groceries means you hate mom and pop and are a drunk.

By: Captain Nemo on 4/15/11 at 9:15

If all wars were to stop today and peace was everywhere. With in a few short years, the horrors of war would be forgotten and someone would think that his neighbor across the border was up to something. Then words like patriotic, freedom, justice and democracy will stir emotions. War will return and the rich will get richer and young men and women will die for their country.

It is a nice thought but there is always someone like yogi that thinks that wars are God way of keeping the pollution in check. If this was true it would have been the Eleventh Commandment.

By: Captain Nemo on 4/15/11 at 9:20

By: yogiman on 4/15/11 at 9:10

There has been wars on earth since the beginning of earth. Our notion was created through the act of a war and we have had many wars every since our founding.

yogi do you ever read what you post before you send it?

First off if you believe the Bible then you would know that it took God 6 days to make the world and on the 7th day he rested. No were does it say he made war. Come to think of it why did it take an all powerful God 6 days to make a world and why did he have to rest?

By: Mike Burch on 4/15/11 at 9:20

Everyone, I do understand and share the frustrations. But we have to decide if the world will be better if we mope and complain, or if we act. I suggest that positive action is better than remaining a "gloomy Gus."

I own a computer software company and am incredibly busy all the time. But every day I try to do multiple things to make the world a better place for our children and grandchildren. Everyone who has brought a child into this world owes it to his/her descendants not to give up.

And we have to understand that we have made tremendous progress. In the last few hundred years most of the civilized world has rejected ..

and all sorts of other terrible and/or false things

Yes, the United States continues to struggle with religious fundamentalism. But religious beliefs are constantly changing. More and more Christians no longer believe the Gandhi and Einstein will go to "hell." There is vigorous debate about "hell" on the Internet. Rob Bell just spoke here in Nashville recently and had 1,600 people show up to listen to his ideas. His book "Love Wins" is a bestseller and was sold out at every place that sells books here in Nashville when I tried to buy a copy.

So we cannot ignore the fact that we have made a lot of progress, despite bad religion and bad government.

Mike Burch

By: dargent7 on 4/15/11 at 9:32

Mike: And Rick Warren and Joel Osteen sell out too. Same "New Age" rhythms.
But, at the voting booth, where rubber meets the road, Tenn. always votes "for the 80's". No, not 1980, but 1880.
Bet you 65% of Tenn. think GW Bush was a "great President". That the war in Iraq was "necessary, justified, and warranted". 65% hate Obama, the man, what he stands for. He's a college grad from Chicago so rith there they hate him.
You cannot talk, think, or rationalize with these people. And I'm being generous.
In California, it's closer to 11% who think Bush was "great".
The south is always pulling up the rear, so to speak. Listen to Haley Barbour for 5 minutes and tell me you don't want to throw up.
Guns in bars passed in Nashville. 50 honkey-tonks in a 2 block radius. You kidding me?

By: pswindle on 4/15/11 at 9:57

Honk if you think tha we have a lot of nuts in the State House and Senate.

By: yogiman on 4/15/11 at 10:00


You must be a brilliant man. If you know Tennesse, and Tennesseans, as well as you seem to think you do, yes, you must be brilliant.

I go back in presidents to the Herbert Hoover days and I remember them all from Franklin D. Roosevelt to present. And the last legal president we have had in that office is George Bush.

You comment about a 65% hate for Obama. You didn't mention if you meant nationally or just Tennesseans.I'm sure you can you explain why Obama has placed our nation deeper into debt than all presidents combined before him.

Apparently you aren't hearing or reading the items I am about that man. Or don't you give a damn he is illegally in that office? Because he is "black"?

First, Barak Obama is not the first black man to run for the office. And considering his ratio of "reported" blood, if he has a 50% blood ratio, why isn't he considered the 44th white president? He can only be presented as the first Mulatto in the office if he was there legally. But you can bet your retirement he is not the first black man in that office legally.

By: revo-lou on 4/15/11 at 10:07

{So we cannot ignore the fact that we have made a lot of progress, despite bad religion and bad government.}

True, we cannot give up. But, we should all prepare not to see victory in our lifetime. It is quite clear that both the government and religion will get a lot worse before they get better.

By: yogiman on 4/15/11 at 10:14

Yes, dumba..,

I am now reading what I an posting because it's too hard to believe there is so many out there whom can't seem to understand what I am posting. I've begun to understand its hard to understand why you are so ignorant on knowledge.

Yes, God created the earth in six days and rested on the seventh. But how do you really know? Was you there when He did it? After all, there has been several different versions written of the bible.

And, dumba.., if you could read correctly, you would have read my word as God controlling population instead of "pollution".

By: Captain Nemo on 4/15/11 at 10:19

I most certainly agree with you on that revo-lou. After reading some of the things that some of these so-called Christians believe in makes me wonder if we can make a better world. If you have any question about the Bible, then you are called a hater of Christ.

By: revo-lou on 4/15/11 at 10:23

I think yogi loves you though Nemo.

By: Captain Nemo on 4/15/11 at 10:29

You are such as dumbass yogi. If you think that war has been on earth from day one, then you can or don’t understand what is written in the Bible. Come to think of it you are a GD DUMBASS.

Now go to hell you old fart.

By: Captain Nemo on 4/15/11 at 10:30

If you have not figured it out I am in a bad mood and have know patience for stupid old man.

By: house_of_pain on 4/15/11 at 10:54

On a lighter note...the Musica statue has been decked-out in Preds gear.

By: gdiafante on 4/15/11 at 12:00

That's awesome, house.

I'm pretty nervous about the game tonight...

By: gdiafante on 4/15/11 at 12:06

"it's too hard to believe there is so many out there whom can't seem to understand what I am posting."

Sorry, I don't speak stupid old man.

By: yogiman on 4/15/11 at 12:19


If you are as "stupid" as you make in your statement, then you must be ignorant. Personally, I just consider you a dumb ass like you "buddy".

By: yogiman on 4/15/11 at 12:25


As I have stated before; you get ff my back and I will stay off of yours. You stay on my back, you can be sure I'll be right back there on yours.

You seem to think its great to make your negative comment to, and about me but you are such a great guy you should be left alone. No way, Hosea!

By: revo-lou on 4/15/11 at 12:29

"Hosea", really? I swear there has GOT to be more than one person using this moniker!

By: house_of_pain on 4/15/11 at 12:31

Me too, gd. I wish the game was earlier, so I could watch.

By: gdiafante on 4/15/11 at 12:31

Nope...still don't speak stupid old man

Maybe Rosetta Stone has a program I could study...lol

By: gdiafante on 4/15/11 at 12:32

I'll stay up...did last night for the SJ game winner in OT...I love this time of year.

By: gdiafante on 4/15/11 at 12:36

Someone posted a picture of the roundabout...before the storm...


By: house_of_pain on 4/15/11 at 12:59

gd, the figure on top was holding a Stanley Cup before the storm took it away.
I hope that's not an omen.

By: not_guilty on 4/15/11 at 1:18

Tennessee has not always been a Red state. Since the 1920s, Tennessee has voted for the successful candidate in every presidential election except for 1960 and 2008. Between 1928 and 2004, Tennessee voted for nine Democratic presidential nominees and eleven Republican nominees.

The Republican Party first became competitive in elections for State office in Tennessee in 1964. Since then Democrats have been elected governor six times and Republicans six times. Democrats have been elected to the U.S. Senate six times since 1964 and Republicans eleven times.

By: brrrrk on 4/15/11 at 1:39

yogiman said

"As I have stated before; you get ff my back and I will stay off of yours. You stay on my back, you can be sure I'll be right back there on yours."

In the immortal words of Geoff Peterson, "sex party"!!!

By: yogiman on 4/15/11 at 2:38

Can't you get anything on your mind except sex, brrrrk? Did you ever think of working for a living instead of thinking about your sex life? Or is it so much simpler to just giggle on the internet that you don't have to work?

By: Mike Burch on 4/15/11 at 7:28

Hi everyone,

I don't agree that we can predict a nation's future by looking at its past, or even its present.

If we had lived in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s, it would have been very difficult to imagine a peaceful, democratic Germany. But Germany did become much more peaceful and democratic. Unfortunately it took a world war to correct Germany's biggest mistakes: racism, intolerance, fascism, bad religion (Hitler called himself a "prophet"), and a willingness to bully other nations. (Does any of this sound familiar?)

The question is whether the United States and Tennessee can make positive changes without imploding or exploding. I believe we may be at a tipping point. The Republican party and conservative Christians seem to be heading toward more bigotry, more intolerance, more non-scientific thinking, and ultimately fascism. They are so blind they can't see how off-track they are, just as Hitler and his Nazi goons couldn't see what evil lunatics they were becoming.

But a large percentage of our population, including many moderate Christians, do not agree with the far-right's bizarre agenda. If everyone who wants less bigotry, less intolerance, better thinking, and true democracy would speak and vote, we could have a safer, happier, more prosperous nation.

Why let morons like George W. Bush and Sarah Palin ruin our country? The battle isn't lost, but we may be at a crucial point in our history. Every vote is crucial, so we need to send the Republican Party a clear message: shape up, or ship out. We don't want to be ruled over by a theocracy that believes evil is good, just because ancient nomadic goatherds said they knew "the mind of God." Those desert nomads told us such things as:

The earth is flat with fixed foundations and is therefore "immovable."
Plants were created before the sun.
Stars can fall to earth (because they are tiny pinpricks of light).
Men of God like Moses, Joshua, Caleb and King David can:
(1) slaughter defenseless women and children (Numbers 31)
(2) sell their own daughters as sex slaves (Exodus 21)
(3) murder girls who were raped and lost their virginity (Deuteronomy 22)
(4) steal other people's land the old-fashioned way, via ethnic cleansing and genocide (many verses)

Is this the "wisdom of God" or the ravings of barbarians? The question is of course rhetorical.

When conservative Christians ignore the teachings of Jesus (to defend the weak and the poor from hypocritical religious "experts") and focus narrowly on a tiny number of verses about homosexuality, why should anyone believe they are anything but prehistoric barbarians themselves? When they claim Christians go to heaven and everyone else goes to hell, we should ask what kind of people would want to live in a realm of such bigotry and intolerance. When they insist that Americans fight war after war in the Middle East because God favors Jews and Christians over Muslims, we should ask, "Does God want to start World War III, or are conservative Christians conductors on a fast train to the funny farm?"

Why let people with blinders on run Tennessee and the United States into the ditch?

But the solution is not to sulk and predict doomsdays on the horizon. We need to get every person with a brain to vote against the Republican Party, until Republicans have no choice but to abandon warmongering, homophobia, etc.

Mike Burch

By: Community-carl-... on 4/15/11 at 9:32

Mr. Burch,

Your last paragraph speaks volumes to me: Talk about the pot calling the kettle black .......Your obvious endorsement of partisan politics is typical of the mindset of all the idiots that are causing this country to spiral towards disaster because of never-ending political gridlock. Our political system is broken. People should be voting for individuals and their merits, not strictly along party lines.

By: dargent7 on 4/16/11 at 5:14

Mr. Burch. All I can say is...Wow!
I think you need to open your eyes and see reality for what it is and operates here in tenn.
GW Bush and Palin are morons?
Not according to about 65% of Tennesseeans.
They may believe the earth is a spere, but do NOT believe in Global Warming.
Why? Because it's cold outside.
Tenn. wouldn't vote Democratic (except Davidson) in a 1,000 years.
Your mind set is perfectly suited for NYC, and CA and other evolved places, but not here in the south.

By: govskeptic on 4/16/11 at 6:14

Why should those with a different mind set, at least on some issues, think the
Author of this LTE has no hidden agenda behind far beyond that described. Other
LTE"s and published writings explains the Bias against anything Christian or
the mentioning of Christ, but the remaining agenda appears more disguised
than the few mentioned suggestions!

By: yogiman on 4/16/11 at 6:58

Mr. Burch,

I can only presume you are a democrat with the statements you made against our past president and a possible future president. I then assume you think the current person in the Oval Office is a excellent person for the job, even after he has indebted our nation deeper into debt than all presidents before him and still wanting to go deeper into that debt hole. And even when we don't know who in the hell he is or where he came from.

May I remind you, it was the democratic majority of congress that forced the Obamacare plan on the citizens of this nation when the overwhelming majority objected it.

If it was so great, why didn't members of congress readily accept it along with the common citizens? I mean, after all, if it was good enough for us, surely it would be considered good enough for them.

I believe you got the names of the parties mix up, Mike.

By: Captain Nemo on 4/16/11 at 5:31

Shut up old man

By: yogiman on 4/16/11 at 7:16

You know, dumba..,

I think I've determined what God did to you to make you the man you are.

He put your brain up your ass instead of into your head. That's why you have such a thick skull and mentality the size of a pea in there.

By: Captain Nemo on 4/17/11 at 9:18

Shut up yogi, you dumbass.

By: slzy on 4/17/11 at 5:27

you may want to hedge yer bets on gandhi going to hell or not,as he was a lawyer.