The national media reported that in Berkeley, CA, "Marine recruiters are not welcome in our community." Those words were included in an ordinance passed by the Berkeley City Council. The measure was proposed to the Berkeley City Council by 15 members of that city's "Peace and Justice Commission," and later rescinded.

Each member of the Berkeley City Council and Berkeley School Board may appoint one member to that commission. The purpose of the Peace and Justice Commission is to advise the city council and school board on matters related to those two subjects. Undoubtedly, the appointees truly believe that they are authorities on those matters. In reality, the Marines and their comrades-in-arms put their lives on the line every day in order to guarantee every American, not just these 15, the right to be wrong.

That this would happen in Berkeley comes as no surprise. Since the early 1960s, that city, and the campus that dominates the community, have been a haven for radical protests. I ran headlong into those protests in that decade of unrest. I was usually able to walk away from the insanity. There was one instance in August 1968 that offered me no escape route. But, that could be the subject of a whole new column. Let's just say that I could not turn my back on a terribly unjust act, in my opinion.

The city fathers apparently never anticipated the wide-spread response by people who disagreed with their obstructive stance. Veterans, and their families, came forward to stand against the eviction of our military from their city. Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina offered a bill known as "The Semper Fi Act of 2008." The bill does not deny the city council, or the Peace and Justice Commission, their constitutional rights to assembly, free speech and self-determination. But, in the words of the Semper Fi Act of 2008's sponsor, "Berkeley needs to learn that their actions have consequences."

The consequences imposed by the bill include denying the city of Berkeley the federal funds for which they would otherwise be eligible. The reasoning is fairly simple: if you will not uphold the requirements of the federal government, you cannot expect that government to provide financial support as a reward for your recalcitrance. After all, those funds come from every corner of this nation. If you set yourself apart from the rest of the country, you cannot expect the rest of the country to support you. That is only fair.

In defiance of federal authority, the Peace and Justice Commission convinced the city council to retain a position that supports residents and organizations that "volunteer to impede passively or actively, by non-violent means, the work of any military recruiting office located in the city of Berkeley." They will still picket recruiting stations carrying signs that declare, "Military recruiters are not welcome in our city," and calls them "uninvited and unwelcome intruders." Without those "unwelcome intruders," there would soon be no peace. Then, there would be no justice. It would just be a matter of time until there would be no city council and no peace and justice commission.

Robert Evans Burnette is a Crossville Chronicle columnist. His column appears on Wednesdays.