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Manteca veteran wants stronger John Birch chapter

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POSTED April 16, 2009 5:25 a.m.
Vietnam War veteran Clinton Boersma of Manteca is a man on a mission.

The retired U.S. Air Force radar operator who saw action in Vietnam from 1967 to 1970, and whose two late brothers were wounded during World War II in Europe, is again engaged in another battle. As the head of the John Birch Society group in the Manteca, Tracy and Lathrop area, he is working hard to beef up the organization’s membership.

“We want more members. We need them because we need the information about NAFTA (the controversial North American Fair Trade Agreement) to get out. We want to put a stop to NAFTA because they’re the ones sending our jobs to China and elsewhere,” said Boersma who served in the Air Force for a little more than 20 years.

NAFTA, though, is just one of several issues that the society is passionate about.

“Being that I did serve so long in the military, I want to see this country like it was when I was growing up. I want to see freedom of religion and freedom of speech, and it should be that way. I want to see my grandchildren and great-grandchildren enjoy what I enjoyed growing up,” said the father of three and grandfather of one who is also a great-grandfather five times over.

Boersma said they have approximately 20 people in their membership, “and that includes some people in Tracy.” But they would like to see more come to their meetings which are held in members’ homes “usually every month or twice a month.”

Their next meeting, which is open to anyone interested in becoming a member, will be held  tonight at 7 o’clock in the home of member Grant O. Cook, Jr. at 417 Schilling Avenue in Lathrop.

Those who are unable to join but would like to have more information about the group can call Boersma at 403-4058.

Boersma said Duane Wilde, the head of the Northern California Chapter of the John Birch Society, is also expected to attend the Thursday meeting.

Membership dues are $48 a year. “Along with that, if you want, you can get a magazine twice a month for $39” in subscription, Boersma said.

“Then we have a paper that members get at least every month with lots of information about things coming that Congress and the Senate are voting on, because we don’t see those (published) in newspapers or Newsweek or Time or any of the other magazines,” he said.

Boersma is the member in charge of collecting the annual dues which he then forwards to Wilde to be sent to the society’s headquarters in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Boersma helped jumpstart the membership campaign at the recent Annual Street Faire in Manteca.

“I went around and handed out some flyers to various people. I came across the Republican booth; I gave them some information and they asked questions. I told them about the meeting, and I think they will be there at the meeting. They also put the (meeting) information on their web site,” he said.

“Finally I made it to the Democratic booth and handed them flyers also. I have nothing against either political party. But they looked at it and they said, ‘we don’t want to look at this; we don’t want this,’ and they gave all the flyers back to me.”

Internet information about the John Birch Society describes the group as one that supports traditionally conservative causes such as anti-communism, individual rights, and private property ownership, while promoting US independence and sovereignty. They are also opposed to globalism and such international regional groups as the European Union and the proposed North American Union.

These topics, along with the effort by certain groups in the country that want to “make the American flag different,” will be among the topics discussed at the meeting tonight, Boersma said.
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