The current laundry list of crisis’s and issues facing the next or the continuing president is daunting at best, and that’s as of late June as I complete this column. None of us need reminding that the world can change overnight, or even during the course of a morning. I know most American voters – and shame on you if you’re eligible and do not exercise this privilege in November – will not be considering the matter at hand when they cast their votes, but even so, let me ask you, what priority should be assigned to George Bush or John Kerry’s taking a stand on the issue of excessive secrecy surrounding the subject of UFOs? I am not talking about full-scale disclosure here, just an act of good faith. Yes, it would require some courage in the face of almost guaranteed ridicule, but isn’t courage a quality we look for in our presidential candidates?
Fifty five years and counting since Kenneth Arnold first observed aerial unknows over Washington State our government is no closer than it was the summer of 1947 to making a serious, reasoned, public assessment or airing of this perennially fogged-in topic. Yes, there are more pressing priorities at the moment, but it is time that our presidential candidates wake up to the fact that many Americans take this matter seriously enough to take it into account when we close the curtain on that voting machine. At the least, they need to know that many of their constituents are no longer willing to stand for the silly, dismissive remarks that many in their cadre have so long employed to get a quick laugh, then move on to ‘serious’ questions.
By now we should appreciate that a central component of such knee-jerk responses is fear of ridicule, pure and simple. A candidate caught responding to a question about UFOs is open to being perceived as foolish, or as catering to a fringe group. Well, this group is no longer a ‘fringe.’ Besides, politicians have nothing to loose by stonewalling on such questions, or do they? Taken to the extreme, the very act of asking a candidate a question about UFOs is perceived as something akin to an actual, physical attack. This is not an exaggeration, as the following account makes clear.
During the Michigan primary elections, in February 2000 to be specific, Governor George W. Bush visited the city of Royal Oaks, which happens to be the home town of Mr. John E.L. Tenney. He is co-founder of M.A.I.N., or Michigan Anomalous Information Network (http://mainorg.tripod.com) and has been actively researching the UFO phenomena for about fifteen years now. He is also an ordained minister. On this particular day Governor Bush was scheduled to meet with selected residents at a local restaurant and Reverend Tenny saw this as an ideal opportunity to ask a presidential candidate a question about the UFO phenomena. So, with video camera in hand he drove over to Jimi’s Coney Island early that morning.
The actual crowd had been carefully selected by Bush’s advance people, but identifying himself as a minister, John was included in the group and entered the restaurant. Its interior however offered little space with people crowded everywhere, not to mention the numerous Texas Rangers who were monitoring the crowd. Reverend Tenny decided that his best chance to actually ask the candidate a question would come as Governor Bush left the restaurant. Accordingly, John slipped outside and waited.
At the end of the meeting the governor exited the restaurant and made his way through the cheering crowd. John Tenny worked his way past the masses of camera crews and into the best position he could. As the candidate came toward him, the Reverend pressed his hand into Mr. Bush’s, looked him in the eye and said, ”As a presidential candidate, would you like to issue a statement concerning the American public’s right to access whatever information the United States government currently has available on topic of UFO.....”
With the utterance of those three letters, John Tenny found himself being grabbed by the arm by a Texas Ranger who pulled him from the crowd then turned him around. In the meantime Mr. Bush was pushed onto the waiting van by another Ranger and was gone almost immediately. What was that all about?” Tenney asked the officer, who only looked at the minister, shook his head, then walked away without saying a word.
Approximately around eighty percent of the American public believe our government has information about UFOs that it refuses to release. And while a bit dated now, A 1997 CNN/TIME Magazine poll noted that sixty-four percent of Americans believed that actual beings from other planets have already contacted us. In these respects at the least, government secrecy about UFOs is now a majority issue and one we should be taking advantage of. These views have earned us the right to be acknowledged and respected by our presidential candidates, and ultimately by our President.
As individuals, what can we do to affect the situation? At the least, consider sending the candidate of your choice a simple, well-written letter, postcard, email or fax, or better yet, write both candidates letting them know that Iraq and the economy aside for the moment, you are a constituent who takes the issue of excessive UFO secrecy seriously and would like to know what position they take on the issue.
Make no mistake about it, individuals can make a difference in the exceedingly slow march toward the answers we seek. And whether you see it as an act of courage, curiosity, sense of civic duty, or combination of all three, John Tenney made a difference when he asked George Bush the question he did. The Reverend’s action should serve to remind us that the truth about UFOs is still seen as a literal threat to many who wield power in our government, as well as to those who would like to wield that power. In any case, vote, or don’t dare to complain about the aftermath to any of us.