Monday, June 21, 2004

Unrest in the Forest

OK, it's been a while since I rambled on for more than a paragraph or two. Here's my two cents on the War on Terror and why our President is doing the right thing, despite what Michael Moore and Barbra Streisand might try to convince you of otherwise.

Unrest in the Forest

A tree branch has just fallen and ripped through the roof of your garage. You're understandably upset, but not all that surprised. You see, over the last few years, smaller branches have fallen in your driveway and your swimming pool. You step outside to examine the tree and notice another large dead branch leaning precariously over your house.

You decide to take action and remove the threat posed by that branch. Upon further examination you notice more dead branches on the other side of the tree. These are directly over your neighbor's house. You also see that the trunk is quite deteriorated, so you do what any rationally-thinking person would do. You begin to make plans to have the whole tree removed, not just the branch over your house.

But there's a problem. It seems the Neighborhood Historical Council (NHC) sees this tree as a historical landmark and decides to hold a hearing to determine if you have the right to chop this tree down, even though it's on your land, is threatening to damage your home, and has damaged your property in the past. They point to the fact that many of the tree's branches are not located over anything that could be damaged should they fall, so they pose no threat to you whatsoever.

One of the members of the NHC just happens to be your next-door neighbor who points out that it was YOUR family who had planted the tree there in the first place. You admit to him that yes, your grandfather had planted the tree to provide a means of blocking the view of his ugly house next-door. Furthermore, he tells you he will not vote to approve the removal of the tree, as the branches that are over his house provide just the right amount of shade for his deck. He says he would have no problem with you just cutting off the branch that is directly over your house.

You try to reason with him, explaining that the whole tree is dead, posing a threat to anyone in the area, even those walking by on the sidewalk minding their own business, and that the very branches providing him with shade are threatening to fall on his house too. After months of debate, you give up of the NHC, and get a group of like-minded neighbors to support your goal of removing the tree, carefully explaining to them in simple terms that the tree, located on YOUR property and directly threatening your home, has damaged your property on several occasions in the past, and that the only way to make the entire neighborhood safe is to get rid of the whole tree.

So one night, you sit down with your family and vote on the issue of removing the tree. You family votes overwhelmingly in favor of the plan, even your daughter who had fond memories of swinging from its branches when she was a little girl. The next day, with the help of your neighbors (not ALL of them, but quite a few), you chop the tree down piece by piece until it's reduced to a pile of firewood. Then you get to work digging up the roots of the tree. As night falls, you are reminded that this is more than a one-day operation, so you call it a day.

The next day, you're back at work with your neighbors digging up the remains of the roots. One of these neighbors tells you he woke up that morning to find his prized cherry trees had been destroyed by vandals who left a note telling him more of the same could be expected if he continues helping you with the removal of the roots in your yard. As he's bailing on you, you remind him who he's going to be asking to borrow the snowblower from next winter. He offers no response and walks home with his tail between his legs.

As you had expected, there are repercussions from your actions. The NHC and their supporters are still crying foul, because you didn't get the approval of your next-door neighbor prior to removing the tree. But you know your children are safer because of your actions. The threat of the tree crashing through your house has been eliminated.

You also fully realize that digging up all the roots from that tree is going to take a lot of time and hard work on your part, but you and your family press forward and thank God that the men who built your house 215 years ago built a foundation of sufficient strength to keep the roots from cracking through the basement walls and causing your house to crumble before you could take action against the tree.

Our country is our home, and she must be defended at all costs. These days, our house looks more like the house of some high school kids whose parents are out of town. There are uninvited guests, people we don't even know, drinking our beer and peeing on our rugs. We asked a few of them to leave, but I suspect they came back with sledgehammers and took up positions in the basement.