One more day for Bergdahl

If you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all – Thumper, Disney’s Bambi.

It is good advice, but something we really don’t understand until we are adults. That idea that there are things we just don’t say because the price of hurting someone is higher that the need to vocalize the truth. These are “white” lies or sometimes they are called “Christmas” lies. What is the harm of having that one moment? Who is hurt if Santa Clause, Easter Bunny, or Tooth Fairy have one day? You and I both survived somehow despite the existence of.

What is the harm of letting the small Idaho town have their one moment?

For years the residents of Hailey have held a festival of sorts to show their support for the Bergdahl family. The annual event has been called Bring Bowe Back and this year the town was set to have the first-ever Bowe is Back festival. Hailey was going to have the one thing the town has wanted for more than five years; a chance to welcome home their native son that has been in clutches of the enemy.

President Obama announced the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl last week after an agreement was reached between the U.S. government and Taliban insurgents trading Bergdahl’s release in exchange for five top level Taliban operatives being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Bergdahl wasn’t even back on home soil before the media pounced on the idea that he may have intentionally walked away, or stowed away in a contractor’s vehicle as the case may be, and that his disappearance may have caused the deaths of at least six other soldiers. Brian Kilmeade on Fox and Friends attacked Bergdahl’s father for not having shaved his beard for the Whitehouse press conference the day after his son’s release.

Now that national ire has reached Idaho. The organizers of the Bowe is Back have canceled the homecoming event because people from all over the nation have threatened to travel to Hailey in order to protest. Hailey city officials and organizers are afraid the small town does not have the resources to handle a large crowd. Hailey Police Chief Jeff Gunter told the Idaho Statesman he has received a phone call from a group out of California inquiring about how the police hand peaceful assembly because the group was planning to bring 2,000 protesters. The Statesman also reported that a group from Lubbock, TX, has contacted the Boise newspaper and was planning to make the trip to Hailey to protest Bargdahl’s return.

Do I think Bargdahl went AWOL ? Do I believe he is a spy? Do I suspect he is crazy? The answer to all of these questions is “I don’t care!” Not for today at least. I might care later, but right now the family that cared so much and the town that loved so long for his return must have their moment.

If you look back through the archives of most of national newspapers to the Vietnam era you will find articles and opinion columns questioning the motivation of every POW and MIA military member, in mass. This type of thing happens. There are an unfortunately large number of people that crave scandal and are apparently willing to travel from Texas and California to find it.

What I do care about is there is a family, a mother and a father, that deserve to see their son welcomed home. Mr. and Mrs. Bargdahl deserve that much, as does the community of Hailey that has kept vigil since Bargdahl’s disappearance.

Families and communities always think their native sons and daughters are golden. This the way the world should be. Our homes ought to be the first place where our faults are overlooked, where we are sheltered by unconditional love. Give Bowe Bargdahl that for one day.

The important questions are: will the evidence still be there tomorrow, can these charges against him be investigated tomorrow? Yes and yes. So let the Hailey community have today to hold their loved one and pick up this consternation tomorrow.

The blunt point is this; for one brief, shining moment the rest of the world does not get to have an opinion.

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