From the first grade until I started high school, my dad's work necessitated our family moving a lot. Sometimes as many as three times in a single year, which meant that during my formative years I was constantly changing schools, sometimes three different locations in the course of one school year.
Moving around that much, although highly educational in a practical sense, is tough on a family and especially on the children, or child in our case, as I had no siblings.
It seemed that, as soon as I got acquainted with the kids in the neighborhoods we moved in to, developed a nucleus of friends and learned the ropes, we would move to a new location where I had to repeat the process all over again. It seemed that I was destined to be the new kid, the outsider, forever walking into a new classroom to be sized up by a room full of giggling grade schoolers or smirking adolescents.
For the most part, I went to small schools in small communities where the student population usually went to school together from enrollment to graduation, with cliques and klatches formed over years and there I stood, the perennial outsider, with thick glasses and not one friend in town.
Especially in the grade school classes, there was usually at least one bully, the type of kid who arrogance and threats came naturally to, who always had his little band of sycophants who feared him and thought he was cool and laughed at every lame insult he'd direct at others he figured were either too weak or too scared to talk back.
I was a little big for my age, an only child which meant nothing to fear from an older brother, new kid with glasses, prime target for the class bully.
My Daddy told me early on, if somebody starts a fight with you, ignore how much he hurts you - just make sure you hurt him, which I found was good advice and had ample opportunity to prove the theory at just about every new school I attended in the early years.
I won some and lost some, but learned a valuable lesson. When you're dealing with a bully, it's not always whether you're able to best him, but that you're not afraid of him and every time he starts something with you he's going to pay a price, and there's a good chance that he's going to eventually lose and he develops a genuine, though grudging, respect for you and takes the long way around when he sees you coming his way.
I found out early in life that, the longer you wait to confront a bully, the bolder he becomes and the more liberties he takes, testing you, checking out in increments just how far he can push you, how much he can humiliate and embarrass you, until one day you finally say, "That's enough, don't take another step in my direction or I'm going to make you hurt, I'm going to knock you down and while you're lying there I'm going to kick you."
Vladimir Putin is like a schoolyard bully who badly needs to have his bluff called. He must be amused by all the cosmetic sanctions Obama and the pacifists in Europe are threatening him with, that and the diplomatic platitudes John Kerry is spouting off.
Diplomacy that is not backed up by an ungloved fist is nothing more than cheap talk and somebody needs to get in Putin's face and tell him that this goes no farther. And, America should not have to do it alone - it's in Europe's backyard and, if they want to retain any degree of peace and safety, their leaders need to stand up and confront the neighborhood bully.
Putin needs his tail feathers trimmed and, if it's not done soon, the world can just sit back and watch the dominos fall as Putin reconstitutes the Soviet Union, or at least the parts of it he's interested in.
Ronald Reagan put the Soviet Pandora back in the box with an arms race and an iron will and now, with nothing to fear from America, it has reemerged and has yet to suffer even a serious reprimand.
NATO could be a strong alliance, if we had a president who realized that you can't play nice with a tyrant, no matter how much "flexibility" you have at home. This is no time to be reducing and demoralizing our military.
And, no, my dear cherry pickers, I don't want to go to war with Russia and don't think it would be necessary. We can defeat Russia the same way we did before. Put missile defense systems in Eastern Europe, restore our military to Cold War levels, open the Keystone Pipeline, drill, frack, produce enough oil that none of our allies are forced to depend on Russia for energy needs.
Sanction, embargo, cease financial dealings in rubles, block Putin in his every international financial move and, above all, get America's fiscal house in order.
Tough moves? Dang straight they are, but unless we want another iron curtain slash mutual assured destruction scenario, America and our allies had better get their act together and make some hard decisions.
Diplomacy alone does not work with bullies; I found that out on the schoolyards of America over a half century ago.
What do you think?
Pray for our troops and the peace of Jerusalem.
God Bless America