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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?