A critique of Beth Chapman’s Stand Up for America rally speech. If you own Alabama State Treasury bonds, you’ll want to sell.

Note: This speech is reprinted for critique and commentary purposes under the Fair Use doctrine of US Copyright law (Section 107 of the US Code). While the speech has been widely disseminated across the Internet to the point of mistakenly being regarded as a hoax, a corrected original can be found at Beth Chapman’s web site. After a preamble, her speech follows. My inline comments are italicized.

Last week, the Shelby County Legislative Delegation hosted a “Stand Up for America Rally.”

Sorry, I was at “Sit Down for Cuba.”

More than 1,200 people attended including featured speakers Chief Justice Roy Moore, Adjutant General Mark Bowen and Alabama State Auditor Beth Chapman.

A real Who’s Who then.

Attached is a copy of Mrs. Chapman’s speech, which resulted in five standing ovations, tremendous applause and an encore.

No doubt.

It’s a short read and well worth it.

In other words, the pain is sharp and intense but of short duration.

I hope you enjoy it as we continue to “Stand up for America!”

Brought to you by Comedy Central.

* * * * *

I’m here tonight because men and women of the United States military have given their lives for my freedom.

Actually, it wasn’t you. They gave their lives for somebody else’s freedom. Your third cousin Vinny, I believe.

I am not here tonight because Sheryl Crowe, Rosie O’Donnell, Martin Sheen, George Clooney, Jane Fonda or Phil Donahue, sacrificed their lives for me.

They’re all alive for starters, but they’re not here tonight because you sacrificed your life for them either.

If my memory serves me correctly, it was not movie stars or musicians, but the United States Military who fought on the shores of Iwo Jima, the jungles of Vietnam, and the beaches of Normandy.

It is hard to believe that you might be confused about this. Movie stars make films. Musicians play music. The United States military fights wars. Please do more fact-checking so you can be sure.

Tonight, I say we should support the President of the United States and the U.S. Military…

By bringing the troops home?

…and tell the liberal, tree-hugging, Birkenstock-wearing, hippy, tie-dyed liberals….

You say that like it’s a bad thing.

…to go make their movies and music and whine somewhere else.

Yeah! Somewhere where there’s a constitution and right to free speech!

…After all, if they lived in Iraq, they wouldn’t be allowed the freedom of speech they’re being given here today.

Which is why they should go somewhere else to exercise the right of free speech?

Ironically, they would be put to death at the hands of Saddam Hussein or Osama Bin Laden.

So would you. What’s your point?

I want to know how the very people who are against war, because of the loss of life, can possibly be the same people who are for abortion?

Oh, there are plenty of pro-lifers against this stupid war. The Pope, for example.

They are the same people who are for animal rights but against the rights of the unborn.

I’m pretty sure that PETA didn’t take a stand on the war (other than the US military shouldn’t make animals a part of it), but I have no idea what you’re getting at.

The movie stars say they want to go to Iraq and serve as “human shields” for the Iraqis.

Which movie stars?

I say let them buy a one-way ticket and go.

Who is stopping these nameless movie stars?

No one likes war.

George Bush seems OK with it. Dick Cheney hasn’t expressed any reservations. Donald Rumsfeld doesn’t appear unhappy.

I hate war!

But it had such nice things to say about you.

But the one thing I hate more…

Is logic and reasoning?

…is the fact that this country has been forced into war.

…by George Bush. Yet you vote Republican. Strange.

Innocent people have lost their lives—and there but for the grace of God, it could have been my brother, my husband, or even worse my own son.

I don’t mean to cast aspersions on Alabama social mores, but is it normal there for people to publicly state which family member they love most?

On December 7, 1941, there are no records of movie stars treading the blazing waters of Pearl Harbor.

Have you checked? You were uncertain about musicians on Iwo Jima earlier. (And quick science tip: Water doesn’t burn; oil does.)

On September 11, 2001; there are no photos of movie stars standing as “human shields” against the debris…

There was a mix-up in central casting.

…and falling bodies ascending from the World Trade Center.

How exactly do falling bodies ascend? Did you and I witness the same horrible event?

…There were only policemen and firemen …

…and bond traders at Cantor Fitzgerald…

…underpaid civil servants who gave their all with nothing expected in return.

Except to be continually screwed by the Republican Party on wages, benefits, and Social Security.

When the USS Cole was bombed, there were no movie stars guarding the ship…

My God, the state of our military police is in steep decline if we’re expecting actors and actresses to stand watch over our naval vessels.

…where were the human shields then?

And what good would they have done?

If America’s movie stars want to be human shields, let them shield the gang-ridden streets of Los Angeles, or New York City…

So Juliard should have a class on how to shield a street? I would love to see a method actor tackle this one.

…let them shield the lives of the children of North Birmingham whose mothers lay them down to sleep on the floor each night to shelter them from stray bullets.

Because the Republicans and conservative Southern Democrats have cut taxes, dropping state revenues and killing social services like law enforcement?

If they want to be human shields, I say let them shield the men and women of honesty and integrity….

…and of the Tailhook and military academy scandals….

…that epitomizes courage…

…who epitomize courage…

…and embody the spirit of freedom…

…by smoking Marlboros and Virginia Slims and…

by wearing the proud uniforms of the United States Military.

All simultaneously.

Those are the people who have earned and deserve shielding!

From the Iraqis, whose country we are invading in violation of international law.

Throughout the course of history, this country has remained free…

…as Lincoln suspended the writ of habeus corpus, anti-war protesters were jailed during World War I, the Japanese were interned during World War II, Kent State students were shot during the Vietnam War, the Congress passed the so-called Patriot Act after September 11….

…not because of movie stars…

…like Charlton Heston and Ronald Reagan…

…and liberal activists…

Actually, liberal activists have done a number of things to maintain civil liberties in this country, usually against the wishes of the right-wing conservatives.

…but because of brave men and women who hated war too.


However, they lay down their lives so that we all may live in freedom.

One of the major objections to the war in Iraq being, of course, that American freedom isn’t even remotely threatened by Saddam Hussein.

After all “What greater love hath no man, that he lay down his life for his friend,” or in this case a country.

Or its oil. (If you can append scripture so can I.)

We should give our military honor and acknowledgement…

Every Veterans’ Day.

…and not let their lives be in vain.

That’s not exactly up to us. President Bush, maybe.

…If you want to see true human shields, walk through Arlington Cemetery.

You’ll see more tomb stones than anything.

…There lie human shields, heroes, and the BRAVE Americans…

…DEAD Americans, whose rightfully revered memory shouldn’t be used as a tool for cheap political points…

…who didn’t get on television and talk about being a human shield….

…because most of them died before the age of television, and therefore couldn’t possibily have done so.

…they were human shields.

Whatever that means.

I thank God tonight for freedom…

…that nebulous, heart-warming concept that means such different things to different people that nobody can define it when raised in a vague context like this one…

…those who bought and paid for it with their lives in the past…

…before the age of instant credit…

…those who will protect it in the present…

The American Civil Liberties Union?

…and defend it in the future.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation?

America has remained silent too long!

On the contrary. America never shuts up.

God-fearing people have remained silent too long!

Again, the problem isn’t one of silence.

We must lift our voices united in a humble prayer to God for guidance and the strength and courage to sustain us throughout whatever the future may hold.

You can say that again.

After the tragic events of Sept. 11th, my then eleven -year-old son said terrorism is a war against them and us and if you’re not one of us, then you’re one of them.

Hey, with smarts like that he could be president!

So in closing tonight, let us be of one accord…

A Honda?

…let us stand proud, and let us be the human shields of prayer, encouragement and support for the President, our troops and their families and our country…

…by shielding the gang-ridden streets of Los Angeles and New York, the lives of the children of North Birmingham, and the men and women of the US Military who are, paradoxically, at this very moment shielding us in a never-ending circle of shielding.

May God bless America…

We’re gonna need it.

…the land of the free, the home of the brave….

…a nation of clichés…

and the greatest country on the face of this earth!

Except when it comes to educating its citizenry in the disciplines of logic and persuasive verbal communication. Obviously.