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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Coming Home

It's bittersweet. I'm coming home to a country I've begun to feel as if I don't know. To a country where it appears that it isn't okay to defend yourself, and it is morally superior to become a victim, rather than being able to protect yourself and take out the trash when necessary by using lethal force to eliminate threats to yourself, your family and your property. To a country, where if I'm not mistaken, the people seem to think they should be taken care of by the government, and that wanting to keep what you've earned is greed, while wanting to take the money of others is social justice. To a country full of government agencies, staffed by people who seem to forget that they are the servants of the public, and not our masters. To a country full of fearful people too willing to trade their liberties for the illusion of security. Freedom is not free, and we had each better remember that and be willing to fight to the death for its preservation, if not for ourselves, then for our descendents.

 I've done my duty. I've served in the military now for 13 years, through 4 deployments (3 to hostile countries), I've nearly been shot and blown up. I've suffered, as have so many others, through the loss of friends due to rules of engagement written by bureaucrats in order to assuage the guilt of their consciences. Some of those losses were simply the fortunes of war. Others have suffered far more, and others, far less. What of their sacrifices? They apparently amount to nothing, if you ask the American public, in my opinion. Do they, and I mean in the broad, general sense, understand that we are still at war? That the phrases, "Support our troops" and "Thank you for your service" are only so many meaningless words unless you back them with action?

How do I mean? Stay informed of current events, know what the government is up to and is planning, and vote. Vote to keep your individual liberties, vote to retain your right to bear arms of any and all types, vote to defend the Constitution.  Vote with wisdom and foresight, vote with the future you want to leave to your children in mind rather than for what you think the government as promised you for the present. Remember that voting is both right and privilege. Make sure your children understand their responsibility and role as citizens, and that when the time comes, they vote too. Otherwise, the sacrifices made by all who've come before are in vain.

I have voted for the elected offices in my home state, and will vote again for the Office of President of the United States this Fall. I hope that you will all do the same, and keep in mind that your very liberty to live your life as you will, without the interference of one government agency or another, to accept the good, bad and ugly that you experience in life, is at stake. Not just in this election, but every election. It is our duty and responsibility as citizens. Never forget that. Despite my hope for something better, I fear the country my daughter and other future children I may have, will inherit will not be one as free, and one as full of opportunity as the one that greeted me upon my arrival to adulthood. 

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." -Thomas Jefferson

Monday, July 16, 2012

A New Direction (Sort of)

Well. It's certainly been some time since my last post, and I hope it won't be nearly that long until my next one. This blog of mine was originally, and perhaps naively, intended to be an intellectual blog about writing, the writing process, and the community of the lovers of fiction. Silly me. My life in the last year has been consumed with family and deployment to Afghanistan. Never mind that I have become more politically active and aware in the last year, even though my awakening as a citizen, if you can call it that, began several years ago. I have had, if you will, something of an epiphany in regard to my duty. Not just as a soldier, nor simply a husband and father, but as a free American citizen whose Right it is to steer the course of my own destiny and that of my family. It began with a soldier I knew who irked me because of his attitude and irreverence for authority. Note that this confrontation finally came to pass, albeit mostly peacefully after my promotion and induction in the Non-Commissioned Officer Corps of the United States Army. Despite my dislike for his attitude, I had (and still do) respect for his intelligence and independence of thought. In some ways, I've become more like him. After our conversation, he recommended I read Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged". I'll confess that the book enraged me for reasons I couldn't really pinpoint at the time, and now, despite that experience, and the author's disdain for Faith and government alike, I've become both a better citizen and more committed Christian. Neither one was an immediate, or even, constant change, but rather both have become a journey that continues to define who I am.

A good friend of mine, who is a fellow writer living in Florida, recommended that I quit thinking about it and simply write it out. I've decided that this is excellent advice and have taken him up on it. Thus, this blog post. How can we not express ourselves in these times? They're full to the brim in the spectrum of human experience, from love and peace to hate and war. I know. I'm currently close to completing my fourth deployment. Despite a close call the other day, I have a difficult time thinking of myself as a Veteran. Yet it is exactly that experience which brought me to the crux of my dilemma: get out or stay in the military after 14 and a half years?

It brought me to another question: Why should I stay in? Not in the sense of the obvious benefits for myself and my family, but rather, what would the motivation be for such a decision. It isn't any secret that difficult times are upon our country, and that we are all, in some way, looking for answers. The answers we all seek, whether we're wont to admit it or not, have already been provided in the very document that is the foundation for our way of life and that I'm sworn and duty bound to protect against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Foreign and Domestic. That's the key to the Oath of Enlistment really. Why else should loyalty been sworn first to the Constitution before obedience to the President and the officers appointed under that Office? Why else have I served for 13 years in the Army? Yet I can not always say that my service has been in accordance with my oath, at least, not consciously. It was again, that awakening, when I began to question why it was that we did what we do, and why, if the Constitution, and indeed, its framers, warned us against the over expansion of federal power, did we allow our government to do what it has done? Why have we allowed our elected representatives, and the agencies of our government to become our masters, instead of remaining the servants and protectors of our security and liberties?