Let me start by saying that I do not, nor do I want to attempt to, speak for all Veterans. I can only speak for myself, and the words penned here are mine, and express how I feel. I know many of my fellow veterans who will disagree with what I am about to write, many who would agree, and yet a handful of others who wouldn't care either way. They are as welcome to their perspective as I am to mine, but that said, I do have something to say.
I joined the US Army during a time of war. I was older, but I felt like our nation needed me and what I had to offer it. I had to do my part to protect the country that I love... though perhaps loved is a better term. I spent just shy of five years in service and one year in Iraq. Yes, there are others who did more, who gave more, who gave it all, but some things we don't get to choose for ourselves.
I say loved, not because I still don't love my country, but because the country that I loved honestly doesn't exist anymore... if it ever did.
You see, America is, and always has been, an idea. That idea? That the common person can be responsible for themselves, morally upright, and maintain the honor and dignity that was reserved for the nobility across Europe prior to our country's founding. THAT is America, and that is what our entire system of freedoms and rights is based upon. Baring the ability of mankind to live up to that? The system is not only ineffectual, but dangerous.
I so believe in that truth, and in that system, that I was willing to put my life on the line to defend it. At that time I believed it, I honestly did. I still believed in the moral majority and that most people in this country were honorable and morally true, yet, it appears I was wrong, and I'm wondering now if AMERICA ever really existed, or if it was all just some grand experimental failure. What we're seeing now in America is not noble, it's not honorable, and there is no dignity left.
Nobility? In a country that increasingly askes, "what's in it for me?" Who demands money from strangers because they are "rich" when they've already been paid their wage for the hours that they've worked? Who kills and allows for the killing of the innocent unborn while begging for the lives of murders, rapists, poisoners (drug dealers), and pedophiles? Oh, and then we engage in the most ignoble behavior possible, we pass the buck by calling it choice, and then saying it's not my sin, it's theirs. Pontius Pilot would be so proud.
Honor? In a country where we cannot even be bothered to stay with the person whom we pledge our lives to? A country where we treat our bodies as nothing more than a hedonistic extension of our own desires? Where we have no problem with the government stealing from others as long as they pass a piece of it on to us?
Dignity? In a country that doesn't only allow for gender fluidity, but also for same sex relationships, and then goes the further mile of attempting to normalize it and force everyone to accept and applaud it? A country where a strip club is easier to stand up than a church, and it receives far less protest?
Responsibility? In a country where people act like serfs and only want to put in the bare minimum and then be rewarded as if they were the CEO? In a country where people believe that they have a right to a work/life balance and demand that their company uphold it? Where men can run out on their children without paying support while CPS keep throwing children back at parents who couldn't be responsible if they were being forced... because well, they are being forced, and they still aren't being responsible.
Or in a country where people are demanding medical treatment at someone else's expense because they'd rather have a big flat TV or new car than to buy medical insurance? Worse yet, they try to paint you as being horribly evil for saying that they should have a part in that responsibility. And don't even get me started on people who can't be bothered to get a $25-50 a month life insurance policy to take care of their family in the event that they die. I find myself asking, "why?" What was it all for? Why did I sacrifice? I have no desire to live in this country as it exists and to walk along the path that it walks. What was the purpose of my service? So some woman could go have sex and then kill the baby she created because she knows that the man who made it won't be there for them or because she just wants to have fun?
There are still good people in our country, and they still stand for and fight for the IDEA of America. The biggest problem I'm having is that I am not sure that I believe that it is possible anymore.