Hello dear reader(s)!
Back again to challenge conventional wisdom and groupthink. Before I begin, I want to make it clear that I have the utmost respect for the men and women who serve in our nation’s armed forces. What I don’t have, is any respect for the people who are so quick to use them in matters that are not in the defense of this country. Basically, I believe, that except for limited special forces operations that have taken place largely behind the scenes to defeat radical groups before they become a threat to our country, that the military hasn’t been used in actual defense of this country (not our economic interests) since World War II, and possibly, possibly Korea. (Whether or not the North and then China would have continued unchecked aggression without our involvement is a question I don’t think history can answer to this day.) However, we know that Vietnam would not have…given the fact that they did take that country, and then pretty much stopped hostilities after wiping out their political enemies.
Regardless, the misuse of our military is not the fault of the rank and file men and women of the armed services who go into the military either in the hopes that their mere presence will be of defense to our country, or join to attempt to pull themselves out of poverty and serve the country or the ideals it is supposed to stand for that they love. My support for the military means that I question those who are so quick to want to use them. (I’m looking at YOU, Ted Cruz.)
However, despite my respect to all of the men and women in uniform, and all of the veterans who were once in uniform (well, I shouldn’t say ALL, because let’s face it, every group is going to have some evil sociopaths), but despite my respect for the extremely vast majority of our soldiers and those who work in support of those soldiers, I take issue with some of the things going around social media leading up to Memorial Day and this weekend.
You’ve seen them, I’m sure…memes, posts, thoughts that basically echo the same sentiment. I’m going to quote one directly, passed around from so many sources that the original author is unknown. “It is Memorial Day, in case you thought it was national barbecue day.”
Excuse me? Come again? Are you trying to shame people for celebrating a day set aside to remember the losses of those who died for our right to celebrate? Fuck you!!! Would you rather have me sit in the corner of a dark room crying for those lost? More importantly, do you honestly believe the lost would want you sitting in a dark corner of a room crying on a day set aside to remember their sacrifice? Not any soldier or vet I know, thank you very much.
Party. Celebrate what freedoms we haven’t yet taken away from ourselves. Keep in the back of your mind that if it weren’t for some brave men and women we probably wouldn’t be able to party and barbecue and wave our flag around and go camping. Have a great time. Knock back a few beers for me. Don’t drive afterwards. Walk to your local parade if there is one nearby. Wave to the proud vets as they pass.
And if you really care…I mean really care about those lost, you will educate yourself and be a good citizen. You will vote in an informed manner for anyone who also honestly cares for those who fought for the freedoms you still enjoy. You will vote for people who do not attempt to shred the 4th and 14th amendments to the Constitution in the name of order. You vote for people who uphold the whole Constitution. You will encourage people who support most of it, but maybe not all of it, to support all of it. You will not vote for people who wave the flag while simultaneously voting to cut benefits and healthcare for veterans or who limit access to their healthcare and housing.
And if you can, if you are able-bodied enough, you will volunteer at a homeless shelter, or some other organization that helps those who sacrificed their mental, financial, and ultimately physical health to defend freedoms that we are slowly denying ourselves by being afraid.