SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- This city and its environs used to be a GOP stronghold -- an island of Republican power in the midst of a rapidly changing, Democrat-controlled state. That's no longer the case. And what is happening here in Southern California is, in many ways, a reflection of what's happening across the nation.
The silhouette of the USS Nimitz (CVN-68) -- first in the class of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers that are essential to projecting American power -- dominates the harbor. Navy and Marine F/A-18s regularly roar off the runway at North Island Naval Air Station. Thousands of young Americans who have volunteered to fight our country's battles are being trained at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, adjacent to the city's international airport. On a promontory above the port, a 29-foot high cross, erected in 1954 to honor those who fought in defense of our nation, overlooks the sea. Yet, all these symbols of American strength, resolve and tradition may well be on the way out.
A coalition of developers, environmental activists and anti-military radicals is now challenging whether San Diego's vital naval base-air station complex should continue in operation. The Marine "boot camp" has been targeted for closure. And the city fathers, once proud of the cross atop Mt. Soledad, have now agreed with the ACLU and a federal judge that this memorial to those who sacrificed for this country violates some mythical barrier between church and state, and will have to go.
Apparently, the majority of people in and around San Diego no longer feel that these things are important enough to fight for. The apathy and indifference are palpable -- and not just here on the Left Coast. Unfortunately for Republicans hoping to win or keep office in this November's midterm elections, ennui is no ally.
Over the last 30 days, I've traveled the length and breadth of this great land -- documenting the courage of veterans from battles past and present for our "War Stories" series on FOX News Channel. Though the evidence is all anecdotal -- and politics is thankfully not my "beat" -- there is a disheartening similarity in what "average Americans" are saying about our political process.
In Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin -- all places I have visited this month -- there is a near-universal refrain: "a pox on both their parties."
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.
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