A Coda For Matt

Well, not really a coda.  Matt Maupin really came home four years ago to pull this town together in a way politicians and athletes couldn’t figure out if you put it up in large letters on the Fountain Square video screen.

Just over two weeks ago, I posted my outrage that the Westboro lot were coming to town to protest at Matt’s funeral.  It was the most viewed and most commented post on this blog.  One of the points I drove home was, “This is about Matt and about pulling a community together.”

If you read the comments section, that point was driven home.  And there was nothing – absolutely nothing – anyone could do to take away from that.  The route from Lunken Airfield, the municipal airport on CIncinnati’s east side, up Route 32 to the Union Township Civic Center was lined with yellow ribbons all last week.  The Westboro lot were kept 500 feet away from the procession, their view blocked by bikers sporting huge American flags.  But the bikers weren’t there just to drown out the people who wanted to ruin the event.  Some of them rode with the family from Eastgate to Great American Ballpark for a military funeral attended by some 4000 people and shown on most local television stations.  Most of these people never met Matt Maupin, but they came anyway.

The bikers also escorted the family to the cemetery, closing it off to the public so they could have a private burial.

It was all about a staff sergeant who served his country in life and pulled a city together in death.

Sgt. Maupin, we never met, but I miss the hell out of you already.

An Open Letter To Fred Phelps

Dear Fred:

I hear you want to bring your God Hates Fags circus to town for Sgt. Matt Maupin’s funeral.  Let me be blunt:

Don’t.  You’re not welcome here.  Matt’s visitation will be in my neighborhood.  His funeral will be near where I work.  I don’t want your hate-mongering inbreds in my town.

There is no threat here, Mr. Phelps.  I am being honest with you.  See, you claim God hates fags.  Well, I talk to God all the time, Freddie.  The subject never comes up.  More importantly, He never mentions you.  I take that as a sign He probably doesn’t like you very much.

I will do nothing, of course, to stop you, Mr. Phelps.  It is a free country, and you are free to express your opinion, even if it’s wrong.  You also have a right to be unmolested in your protests.  It’s what made this country great.

That said, I know there are those who are tempted to do you harm while you are in Cincinnati.  I don’t encourage that.

But I will kick in a big chunk of my savings to their defense fund.  Like Chris Rock says, I wouldn’t approve.  But I’d understand.  Do you?

Sorry I won’t be able to do the same for you.  I have a conscience, and my conscience wouldn’t permit me to help you get out of whatever charges will inevitably be filed against you while you’re here.

It’s a free country.  I’m allowed to do that.

This is about Matt, and about a community, and about his family, who’ve done so much for this community.  It’s about saying goodbye to someone who rallied us.  It’s about honoring sacrifice.  There will be antiwar advocates there.  They, too, will be honoring Matt, because it’s about Matt doing his duty.  Do you understand duty, Fred?  I don’t think you do.  I think all you understand is your hate speech is a sham to make money.  So take it elsewhere.  This one’s for Matt.  All you’re doing is stealing attention you don’t deserve.  The flags are at half-staff for Matt.  Will they ever fly half-staff for a man who soils soldiers’ funerals with ugliness?

Somehow, I doubt it.

UPDATE:  In my obsessive checking of stats for this blog, I followed a link back to a forum that announced Fred is, indeed, coming to town.  I wanted to check this, but BigHugeCo has blocked the Westboro Baptist Church’s web site as “Violent/Racism/Hate Speech”.  God bless our IT Security guys!