Tuesday, July 06, 2004
  My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys
Well, I really wanted to get some posting done over the weekend but was just having too much fun doing family stuff. Eating, going to church, eating, fireworks, cooking out, and did I mention eating? Anyway, here's another column I wrote in March of 2003 that was published in the Alvord-Sunset Gazette. Hope you enjoy it. - James

My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys

According to several European leaders, Iraq's Hussein-owned newspaper, Babil, and many leftist Americans, President George W. Bush is a "cowboy."

Defeated presidential candidate Al Gore said in Sept. 2002, that the Bush administration was guilty of a "do-it-alone, cowboy-type reaction to foreign affairs." Babil, the Iraqi newspaper owned by Saddam Hussein's family, urged Russia, France and China to differentiate between Iraq, "which adopts a policy of peace, and a country (the United States) that adopts a cowboy policy." The heads of state of some of our so-called "allies" have even referred to Bush as a cowboy. Of course, by association, they consider everyone who supports the policy of President Bush toward Iraq and its dictator to be "cowboys" too.

They mean this as an insult, of course. They want to imply that Bush is hotheaded, vengeful, and dangerous. A real "shoot first, ask questions later" gunslinger kind of guy. Maybe even an outlaw. But they miss the mark completely. What is a cowboy? President Bush knows. He was raised in Texas, after all. And in Texas we know about cowboys. We learned about cowboys from the Lone Ranger and John Wayne. We grew up reading Louis L'Amour novels and watching Marshall Matt Dillon keep Dodge City safe. We grew up idolizing the American cowboy and all he stands for.

What is a cowboy? A cowboy is resourceful, able to make do and get the job done with the tools at hand. He can fix a fence with a piece of baling wire or get water from a cactus in the middle of the Mojave. He may be "rough as a cob" when the situation calls for it, but he's gentle and kind with women and children. He recognizes that he is their protector. His word is his bond. He is polite and soft-spoken. He says "Sir" and "Ma'am." His speech may be more plain and simple than some prefer. He may say "folks" to describe anyone, friend or enemy. He uses terms like "evildoer," "dead or alive," "hunt 'em down" and "smoke 'em out." He's a man of few words, but when he speaks his meaning is clear.

A cowboy recognizes the Creator and appreciates the beauty of the creation, but he knows that it was created for mankind to rule over and use. A cowboy has dreams, but he's also down to earth. A cowboy may have things in his past that he's not proud of, but he doesn't let them control who and what he is. He looks forward to the promise of tomorrow, resolved to be better than he was.

A cowboy knows the difference between right and wrong. He also knows that there are good people as well as evil people in this world. He willingly accepts his duty to help and protect the good. He is your best friend and strongest ally if you walk on the side of the angels, but heaven help you if you don't for he also recognizes his responsibility to confront and destroy those who would do evil. He will take on any task that is necessary and do a good job, not for recognition or gain, but because someone has to do it. He can look at himself in the mirror every morning and sleep easy every night because he knows he's done his best to do the right thing each day.

A cowboy is independent yet loyal, free-spirited but responsible. He is reliable, honest, and resolute. A cowboy does the right thing even when it's not popular and even when no one is watching because it is against his very nature to do otherwise. A cowboy is the embodiment of all the qualities that have made America the best and greatest nation on Earth. He is what all good men truly wish to be, in their hearts, whether they are willing to admit it or not.

I think all those people may be right. President Bush is a cowboy. He did not go looking for this fight, but he will not back down from it. Yes, a cowboy will "walk away from trouble when he can" but he knows that "sometimes you've got to fight when you're a man." We will confront the evil that threatens us and we will destroy it. Our enemies will either change their ways or suffer the same fate.

America has been the world's policeman when "criminals" needed to be stopped or brought to justice. Perhaps now we must be the world's cowboy and put an end to the outlaws and renegades who threaten civilized people. Regardless of what his critics may say about him, President Bush will do the right thing because that is what cowboys do. That is what Americans do. Even when it's not popular.

Perhaps, the next time someone calls President Bush a cowboy he should simply smile and politely say "Thank you."

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Location: alexandria, Virginia, United States

Retired from the US Air Force after more than 20 years of service. Now working as a contractor for various government agencies.

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