The Missionary Position

The current administration does not seem to care at all about the majority of the fire service.


Let me first explain why I chose this title for this commentary. When I was crafting this piece, I was torn as to just what I should create as a title. After a considerable period of thinking, I chose the above title from my list of several because I wanted to be sure that I grabbed you by the throat and dragged you to my commentary.

If you think about the title and then about me, you can possibly uncover a clue as to how I feel we in the fire service are being dealt with by our local, county, state, and federal governments. It is even possible that you might wonder what thoughts I could have to offer to you on what you perceived, at first blush, might be the topic of my visit with you. That is possible. I am also quite certain that as you move through this piece, there will be those among you who disagree with my position on the matter of federal fire funding.

The first title I created out there in my "thinking chair" on the front porch went something along the lines of "The Enemy is at it Again." As I puffed and pondered out in my special thinking place, it dawned on me that I would need to define the enemy. I then begin to think that I would have to define the many parts of who I believe the enemy to be.

My friends, there is plenty of blame, on all sides of this issue. There are a great many hands fighting to grab the bloody knife which is stabbing our fire service in the back. However, I knew I first had to bring you to my writing place. This I hope I have done.

The title for this week's visit with you should probably, and more properly be; "Are You Ready to Assume the Position of Missionary for the American Fire Service?" My friends, I strongly believe that we are in a national battle with forces within our government, who are being aided by forces outside of government.

This seems to be an odd arrangement of both liberals and conservatives. There seem to be those on all sides who are arrayed against us. There are people who have grown jealous of the success that our various fire service grant programs have enjoyed.

Let us take a look at the basic facts. Last year, Congress appropriated $565 million for the FIRE grant program and $210 million for the SAFER grant program. In his Fiscal Year 2010 budget request, President Obama proposed doubling the SAFER grant program to $420 million and cutting the FIRE grant program by almost 70 percent to $170 million.

Gang the numbers are quite simple and easy to read. They tell a story and that tale is one of an uncaring and antagonistic administration. Let me translate this all for you. Let me use simple words which portray my feelings about the danger I believe the fire service to be in at this time.

The current administration does not seem to care at all about the majority of the fire service.

Did you miss any part of my thoughts? Were my words possibly too complicated for you? I sure as heck hope not. If my words do not get your attention and make you mad, then you probably do not care about the fate of the fire service here in our great nation.

I have experienced a level of push back from people in the government over many of my articles on the FIRE Act. My 2006 FIRE Act Road trip was met by a great deal of resistance by forces I cannot reveal. People that Jack Peltier and I visited, in order to share their success with you, were suddenly visited by federal examiners who used my words in a manner inconsistent with the reasons for their creation by me. Success in our case seems to have begat jealousy by a number of different factions.

My purpose for writing this commentary is quite simple. I want to grab your attention. I want to make the rumblings in your gut rise up to a fever pitch. I want to inspire you to act. Ladies and gentlemen, wake up: we stand on the verge of losing all of the gains achieved by these critical federal fire programs. You must wise up to the fact that we are not on everyone's Christmas Card List when it comes to forces within the Washington Beltway.

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