Thursday, January 10, 2008

Rambling about the War, the Military, Life in the USA

My father once told me to NEVER discuss religion or politics with my friends, or they would not be my friends anymore. This is a sad and true piece of advise that I should have followed throughout the years. Being a stubborn big-mouth, I did not heed such sage words. For some reason tonight, I will not heed them again. This is the only time you will hear me voice these thoughts.

In 1988, the first presidential election I was eligible to vote for, I created quite a stink being the only person in my dormitory who was NOT voting for Dukakis. You see, I was pretty brainwashed back then. My parents were huge Reagan fans, especially after he rescued the hostages. If you add in the fact that my Dad was a Vietnam vet with severe PTSD, who hates the democrats for the brain fuck they gave to everyone of those poor kids who came out of there dead or alive, or who never came home at all, you can imagine the strangeness of a 18 year old girl at a very liberal NY college wearing "BUSH for pres" buttons.

Since leaving the middle class republican nest, I have found my views wavering back and forth between the democrats and the republicans. For quite a long time I called myself an independent. I would vote strictly the issues. But what I have learned in the past almost 20 years is that these issues do not seem to matter once someone is in office. Or, if they do matter, not much gets accomplished during an administration anyway...except to create scandal and havoc. Quiet frustrating.

For a long time I wondered if I just did not belong here anymore. America was not the country that my ancestors help to build. Where in the world could I go to find a land to be free of tyranny and free of bureaucracy? I began to search in earnest after 9/11, even going so far as to subscribe to a on-line magazine called Escape From America. Quite a bold move for a military wife who also happens to be the daughter of an Army officer, sister of a Marine officer, the granddaughter of a retired Air Force Officer and Retired Army Officer. Not to mention seven of my retired military uncles and many ancestors who have fought in many American conflicts since the Revolutionary War. Was I becoming a traitor, or could I not recognized my country anymore through the government walls surrounding our basic civil liberties? Have we sacrificed millions of lives over the past 232 years for naught?

Then, several days ago, while my daughters and I were watching a movie about children who were living in America during WWII, my heart began to change back to that of it's original form: The Patriot. The children in the film worked hard on their victory gardens. They collected scrap metal on weekends, instead of playing baseball. Whole families gave up holiday cooking and baking so the troops could have the precious sugar and butter. Everyone pitched in to ensure Victory and a safe return of the troops. My daughters turned to me at the end of the film and with very confused looks on their faces and said "But Mommy...I thought America was war now? People don't do any of those things now." "No, they do not, do they?" My children have seen their dad go, our neighbors go, and even their precious Aunt go (twice), and they held their breath waiting for safe returns. While other parents were fighting over Nintendo Wiis for their kids, our friends, neighbors, and family members were trying to stay alive just to get home to the kids. I told them "America is not at war, we are at war. The military is at war."

This morning I sat down with my hubby's December copy of Men's Health and nearly choked on my coffee when I read this brilliant young man's statement: "Contrary to what our president keeps telling us, we're not a country at war. Less that 1 percent of this country is at war. Our military is at war. Our military families are at war. Everyone else is shopping and watching American Idol." Lt. Paul Riekhoff, USARMY, founder of the non-profit Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. Quoted from Men's Heath Magazine December 2007.

Amen, Lt. Reikhoff. Could you read my mind?

In the coming year you will have many things to weigh in your decision on weather or not to vote, who to vote for, and how you want to shape the future of our country. Whatever decision you make, whoever you decide to vote for, I ask you to please keep our servicemen in your hearts. Please remember that they signed up to defend our nation from all enemies, foreign or domestic - not to be the guardians of oil fields. Remember the families left behind. Especially those of our enlisted troops, who are living off WIC and food stamps while their spouses are dodging roadside bombs, mortars, and bullets. Lets bring our precious brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, daughters, sons, nieces, nephews, grandfathers, grandmothers, aunts, uncles, husbands, wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, and friends HOME!!!!!

With love and respect to each American who can read this with an open heart and mind,

Yours,
Jacqueline

2 comments:

C. Alyson Love said...

Hi Jackie. What a great post!! You should get "political" more often, although, trust me, I understand your dad's advice. I'm so into politics in my every day life that I forget how jokes and winks don't always translate well online . . . and that some people don't really appreciate my jokes. Anyway . . .

I appreciate and hear your heartfelt plea. Absolutely. I wouldn't vote for anyone who didn't seem genuine about doing exactly what you ask :) It IS amazing (not in a good way) how little the American people have been asked to do or sacrifice to support our warriors.

I DO think different presidencies have different tones, and that despite the ongoing scandal and bureaucracy, that it does make a difference. But I've been called an optimist, sometimes with disdain so I can appreciate your viewpoint on that subject.

Brilliant blog!! (Hope none of my posts have offended you in any way, cuz I plan on being friends with you for a looooong time)--

Alyson

Jacqueline McDermott (Kimberly Wooten) said...

Thank you Alyson,
Your praise is too kind.
No, none of your posts have bothered me at all! And we desperately need optimism right now! :o)
JM