In another decade, Berkeley would have gotten away with this intolerant, illiberal, un-American power trip. But in the age of the Internet, talk radio and YouTube, word of the siege at Berkeley spread like lightning. And citizens across the country weren't willing to look the other way. The San Francisco-based Move America Forward, led by talk show host/conservative activist Melanie Morgan, launched an online petition protesting the city council measures. Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina moved to strip Berkeley of pork barrel spending worth $2 million.
The American Legion mobilized as well. National Commander Marty Conatser lambasted the votes: "The American Legion not only strongly condemns this action by the City Council but also believes that a sincere apology is in order to all Marines, past and present. What these recruiters do is essential to our national security. Without recruiters we have no military. And I don't think we can count on the flower children from Berkeley to protect this nation when it comes under attack. They have to remember that Marines are not the enemy; the terrorists are."
After feeling the heat, not just from veterans, military families and troop supporters outside of Berkeley but also from their own embarrassed citizens, the council is waving a partial white flag: Two council members will move to rescind the obnoxious letter and Code Pink privileges next week. It seems a little light bulb went off in Councilwoman Betty Olds' head: "I think we shouldn't be seen across the country as hating the Marines."
Too late. The city's "horrible karma" is on full display. Sit back and watch Berkeley be Berkeley? No more.