The Cast: Just my thoughts.
I understand it.
I understand them (I think).
I understand why. Now. (I hope)
As a child of the ‘70s and ‘80s, I came into a world where hippies and peace movements were more… ‘Relevant’ isn’t the right word, but it’s close. ‘New’ is still not quite it. I think ‘novel’ is close to what I’m looking for. I guess. Anyway, when I would turn on the television, hippie stereotypes were still a thing. I understood their role in history reasonably well, as that era was so close to mine.
Being in a conservative family—but raised to fight for personal beliefs—I didn’t really agree with the hippie ways, but sort-of sympathized with why they did it. I say sort-of in a way like you say sort-of if someone asks you if you want a Coca-Cola, and you say “Yes” but then they hand you a grape soda and ask if that’s alright, and you say, “Sort-of”. It’s not, but it is.
I only mention this as I think it’s important to understand where I am trying to go with my thoughts this week. So, while I will endeavor to make it all connect and relevant, understand it may not. This may just be more of a train wreck of a thought/rant/philosophical ramble than an actual story or article. Sort-of.
As I mentioned in my story Bewitched, Mrs. Halverson was one of the most—if not the most—influential teacher I have ever had. In that sixth-grade classroom, we learned all about almost everything. Art, astronomy, history (including paralleled Greek and Roman mythologies), health (physical and mental), social issues, finances, math, science, a love for books and reading, and so much more, including government and politics.
Now, I don’t mean about her politics, I mean about politics. What it was, what it did. We learned about the branches of government and their roles, as well as how they interacted with each other. That particular year, there was an election going on, and so we learned about the candidates. We had to go home and watch the news, read newspapers, do research (no internet—we had to work for it), and draw our own conclusions. We even had small debates in class. Students were randomly selected and we had to give our take on the information we had found. This led to class discussions and we really go into it.
While I may not know everything about my government, at least I know the basics, like what the Electoral College is (unlike some adults my age or older, that I have encountered recently). So, to kind of bring this into perspective a little, what I’m trying to get at I guess, is that I have felt a strong allegiance to conservative values. To the whole “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” thing that makes America great. So, when I would see veterans railing against the government—that same government that they swore to defend—I didn’t understand.
My religious beliefs include a fundamental principle of free agency. Personal freedoms and God-given liberties. So, it is difficult for me to become too upset with those fellow veterans about why they have chosen to take the path they have. But after this year, I think I understand. Sort-of.
When a man (or a woman) raises their right arm to the square and swears that oath—that life-long oath, that oath to defend the constitution, the laws, the country, from enemies, both foreign and domestic… Then, through a series of circumstances, has their liberties stripped away… Their dignity, their choices, their freedoms, taken… When they feel like the very document—and elected officials (maybe more that second one than the first, okay, ALL that second one and not really the first)—that they defended, have left them out in the cold… Yeah, I can see why they become jaded and seem to turn their back on their country. But it’s not their country they are turning their backs on.
The more veterans (now friends) I meet online, or in person, have shown me what is truly going on for them. What they are thinking. This is especially true with the older veterans. They are not turning their backs on their country, they are turning their backs on the corrupt, negligent officials. They are turning their backs to—and fighting—those that would ruin our nation. They are not shying away from a fight. They are standing up for real freedoms, and for what the United States of America’s constitution stands for. They continue to fight the enemies from within, long after they have fought the enemies from without.
After this long, stupid year of 2020’s idiotic this’s and moronic that’s, I get it now. Every time I read, or hear about, another political buffoon trying to steal my freedoms under the guise of ‘helping me’ I more and more wanna be like those other veterans. The ones that, when I was young, appeared to turn their backs on their nation (but truly hadn’t). I want to stand with them and defend my friends and family from the tyrants that slither and slide about the capitals of this great land. I want to see, and hear, more and more, the cries of those that gave so much so that others didn’t have to. I want to watch (and help) as some of those old guys fight back against the pervasive evil on this soil (it’s fun to watch an old vet K.O. a cocky, young, arrogant, know-it-all, wanna-be socialist).
I want my country back.
I want my U.S.A. to be great again.
I want that so much.
But right now… Right now, today, I want to thank those that helped make my ability to be free remain a reality. People like my immigrant grandfather. My cousins. My brother. So many of my extended family. My fellow Marines. All those that did so much, simply because they love this land.
Thank you brothers-and-sisters-in-arms. Thank you for being there to keep me and my family free. Thank you to all those that willingly went the path least chosen so that others wouldn’t have to. Thank you to those that gave it all, so a few more could go home. Thank you to the fathers and mothers that mourned their losses privately, so that joy could abound publicly. Thank you to all that sacrificed to make freedom last one day longer. On this day, let us remember why we have this day. Thank you.