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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 6/22/17

Blue Star Museums--A Study In Hypocrisy

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Message Kenneth Lee
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Thanks to Cindy Sheehan, I know what a Gold Star Family is. I also know that it is a moniker that NO family should aspire to. Just recently I learned a bit about Blue Star Families, thanks to my local Arizona_Sonoran Desert Museum. As I see it, the 'Blue Star' moniker is another that NO family should aspire to.

You see, my beloved ASDM has just signed on to become another of the roughly 2,000 American museums now designated as 'Blue Star Museums'.

For 100 continuous days this summer, as in the past SIX summers, these museums are offering FREE admissions to all active military and/or their families (up to six members total) ! In the case of the ASDM, that represents a give-away of $20.50 for each adult each day. They can visit as often as they like, totally free of admission charges, while the rest of us-you know, the people who work for PEACE, are required to either pay the $20.50 or get a yearly membership (of course, I do get free coffee with my membership card").

I felt compelled to email various Directors at the ASDM, as well as all the members of the Board of Trustees the following:

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TO ALL MEMBERS, BOARD OF TRUSTEES ---ASDM

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I have been a paying member of the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum since the 1970's, and I periodically receive the newsletters. By and large, I've enjoyed them and find them informative.

On June 2, 2017 I opened "The Desert Dispatch" and was informed that the ASDM is now a "Blue Star Museum". I am profoundly saddened and disgusted after reading about what that means.

I have paid my hard-earned money all these years to maintain my membership, and now I am told that the ASDM is giving away admissions to potentially thousands of people for 100 days continuously solely by virtue of their being in the military or in some way familial to a military person. Just the loss of revenue alone could easily amount to more than $1,200 in a single day if only 10 military families show up. If you multiply that by the 100 days, the ASDM will lose at least $120,000 in admission fees. Do you plan on making up for this loss by yet again increasing my membership fee?

The loss of revenue is not even my main concern. I find it disheartening to see the ASDM fawning over military personnel, when the U,S. Military is known to be one of the most harmful organizations on the face of the earth as far as ecological, environmental and societal impact are concerned. The U.S. Military is destroying the natural world around us, be it air or land or sea. The levels of pollution around military bases are staggering, to the point that many of these areas are now "superfund" sites. Ocean life is being disrupted and destroyed, thanks to undersea explosives testing, high-powered sonar, etc.

I will have no respect for, nor will I honor anyone who willingly joins any branch of the U.S. Military. In so doing they are simply showing to all that a paycheck from the U.S. Government is, in fact, more valuable to them than doing anything constructive towards the earth and our natural environment. They are, in fact, disrespecting and dishonoring these things upon which the ASDM was founded.

My life has been devoted to peaceful conflict resolution, world-wide dis-armament and coexistence. There are many thousands of us in the U.S. and world-wide, and yet all we receive are the calls of "traitor", "America-hater", "coward", etc. If you hadn't noticed, the word "peace" is now a dirty word in the lexicon.

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Wouldn't it be wonderful if the ASDM stepped up and found a way to honor those of us who truly value and work for peace and the protection of the natural world, and not just those who pursue and profit from war and destruction?

I notice that among the ASDM's major benefactors are corporations such as Boeing, GE, Caterpillar, ExxonMobil, IBM, and of course, Raytheon. Each of these entities profits massively from conflict, whether it be through material support for the U.S. Military or those of other nations or groups. The simple fact is that it is in their best financial interest to keep conflicts going around the world. I can only hope that those corporations are not exerting, no matter how subtly, an influence over the policies of the ASDM.

Hopefully you will re-think your tie-in to the "Blue Star" organization, or, at the very minimum, consider giving at least equal time and benefit to those of us who actively work for peace and the survival of the rest of the animal kingdom. This could be a huge opportunity for ASDM to set a true benchmark in ecological and environmental issues by opposing activities that go against the fundamental ten ets upon which the ASDM was founded and work only to destroy the things you are trying to preserve here.

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Universal skeptic, Vietnam-era draft refuser, all-around good guy.
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