Friday, November 11, 2011

On being a Veteran.


I sit here and look at the numbers. I ask myself... what's it mean? What's it mean to me... to America?

I'm one of millions. No one made us raise our hands and take the oath. Even draftees could refuse, do a few months in jail, and then return to something approaching a normal life... but they didn't.

I'm disgusted by political wannabes who attempt to use the military to their own ends. A most egregious example is that of US Senator Richard Blumenthal, (D-CT) who seemed to have forgotten that, in fact, he hadn't ever set foot in Vietnam... and who was then elected to his office ANYWAY.

Or our own Ridgefield Barbie, Congresswoman Jamie Herrera, who personally likened her 11 year absence from this area, partying, interning, going to the UW but not living here as "the same thing as being ion the military."

Well, guess what?

It ain't.

On one hand, we are supposedly respecting our veterans. On the other, we see the Stock Exchange open for business, and all sorts of Veteran's Day sales going on, even as this is being written. So, obviously, the dollar is more important then observing the service and sacrifice of the millions who've served.

Back in the 50's, Robert Heinlein wrote a book called "Starship Troopers." The book, which was much more one man's political science tome then a science-fiction work, advanced the radical idea that only veterans or those who've engaged in the sacrifice of other "Federal service" should be allowed full citizenship, which included the right to run for office and vote in elections.
Interspersed throughout the book are other flashbacks to Rico's high school History and Moral Philosophy course, which describe how in the Terran Federation of Rico's day, the rights of a full Citizen (to vote, and hold public office) must be earned through some form of volunteer Federal service. Those residents who have not exercised their right to perform this Federal Service retain the other rights generally associated with a modern democracy (free speech, assembly, etc.), but they cannot vote or hold public office. This structure arose ad hoc after the collapse of the 20th century Western democracies, brought on by both social failures at home (and by extension, the poor handling of juvenile delinquency) and military defeat by the Chinese Hegemony overseas.[13]

Starship Troopers is a political essay as well as a novel. Large portions of the book take place in classrooms, with Rico and other characters engaged in debates with their History and Moral Philosophy teachers, who are often thought to be speaking in Heinlein's voice.[citation needed] The overall theme of the book is that social responsibility requires being prepared to make individual sacrifice. Heinlein's Terran Federation is a limited democracy with aspects of a meritocracy based on willingness to sacrifice in the common interest. Suffrage belongs only to those willing to serve their society by at least two years of volunteer Federal Service – "the franchise is today limited to discharged veterans", (ch. XII), instead of anyone "...who is 18 years old and has a body temperature near 37 °C"[16] The Federation is required to find a place for anyone who desires to serve, regardless of his skill or aptitude (this also includes service ranging from teaching to dangerous non-military work such as serving as experimental medical test subjects).

There is an explicitly-made contrast to the democracies of the 20th century, which according to the novel, collapsed because "people had been led to believe that they could simply vote for whatever they wanted... and get it, without toil, without sweat, without tears."[17] Indeed, Colonel Dubois criticizes as unrealistic the famous U.S. Declaration of Independence line concerning "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". No one can stop anyone from pursuing happiness, but life and liberty are said to exist only if they are deliberately sought and paid for.

Starship Troopers is also widely-regarded as a vehicle for Heinlein's anti-communist views. Characters attack Karl Marx (a "pompous fraud"), the labor theory of value ("All the work one cares to add will not turn a mud pie into an apple tart..."),[18] and Plato's The Republic ("ant-like communism" and "weird in the extreme").[19]
We look around at our leaders... from the top down.

Has the president, our senators, our congresswoman, our governor, the vast majority of the legislature, the mayor of Vancouver, most of the city council or even a majority of the county commission ever set foot in uniform?


Can you imagine a couple of self-centered, arrogant liars like Tim "The Liar" Leave-it or Steve "The Liar" Stuart ever putting the country's interests ahead of their own by actually serving it in uniform? Can you imagine either of them putting their asses on the line for us?

How about Ridgefield Barbie? Jamie Herrera changing a track on a Recon vehicle. Jaime Herrera out in the field without a shower for 3 weeks,... eating MRE's and rolling around in the dirt.... Jaimie Herrera breaking a nail while opening up a grenade canister.

Fat chance. But that doesn't stop her from trying to take credit from the disasters that have befallen us for political gain.

The list goes on and on.

As a nation, we long for those to run for office who truly put the country ahead of themselves.

Do you know any?

Yes, I served. And there are many days I miss it. There's a level of honesty and immediacy in serving in the military that the political realm simply doesn't have... or even offer.

A great deal of my outspoken, call a spade a spade nature on this blog is based on my service in the military, where prevarication and whining and excuses have no place.

Unfortunately, we've become a nation of prevarication; a nation of excuses and excusers and a nation of whiners.

And look what that has brought us. Look where we are going.

I'll be thinking about that today in Willamette.

Think about this while you're at the sales today.

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