Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Take a Knee

I made a choice when I was much younger wherein I made a decision to place an actual value on my life. Have you done that? You must consider precisely for what reason might you hand over your life to someone else and what exactly does that mean. This isn’t about being brave or acting reckless, it is however about knowing that change needs to happen in our world, even within our country. Every generation must make these decisions, each generation gets to a point where people have forgotten the sacrifices of their grandparents’ and the kids think they know what needs to be done based on the failures of those in the past. This then of course precedes arguments over what has been done and what must be done. Around and around this goes, the media uses it to increase ratings by hyping the arguments and the politicians use it to field support and disdain for their opponent.

Then you have those whom volunteer as soldiers, these people have decided that something need be done, they realize that peace is unobtainable without action and often times that action may turn out violent. Peace is earned, it is not given free from sacrifice so who makes that sacrifice? So they place a value on their life, they know that there is a huge chance they will be called upon to deliver their life in lieu of another who remained back home in the safety of their neighborhood, who has the opportunity to protest the actions soldiers have taken, and let me communicate here that those soldiers aren’t just the men and women in the military, these soldiers are also those men and women who’ve signed on as police officers all around our country, they too are soldiers fighting the domestic criminal element, often times the very last line of defense against those hell bent on hurting and destroying the freedoms we enjoy in the United States of America.

So those whom have decided not to sacrifice their own safety for the good of the general population many times decided to protest the very actions the soldiers have taken to provide them the freedom…to protest. And so many times these protests become an action not taken by many to actually voice their need for justice as they may suggest but an action they take in order to f feel as though they are part of something great, but let me tell you here and now, there is nothing great about taking part in a protest you do not understand for the sake of belonging to something. Taking a knee to protest something you have done nothing to help change, especially when you have enjoyed making millions off of those that have, taking a knee when you have yet to pay taxes, to contribute to society by making choices that actually affect society and by making sacrifices you don’t even understand, and yes I am now speaking to the children who think it’s cool to kneel at their sporting event like their misguided hero in order to get time in the spotlight, rather than doing something to help and affect the element you protest. You should be ashamed.

When you take a knee during the National Anthem, you are pissing all over the ideals that those who’ve valued their lives against yours have attempted to preserve, you have waved off the sacrifices so many have made, the lives so many men and women have given in the name of freedom and the preservation of peace and opportunity in America and around the world. You are hurting those that have spent their lives dealing with the pains and haunts they brought home with them when they fought terrorism and domestic and international. You are spitting on the graves of those who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice, soldiers and law enforcement officers who have lost their lives protecting yours, and the families left behind as well.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Rollin' Down Hill

‘Ol Merle once crooned his desire for our country to quit rollin’ down hill and I’m not certain I agree. Don’t get me wrong I love this country, I have been all over this world and in my humble opinion you’d be damned to find another place as beautiful, strong and free as America. This country has a will made up from the sweat of every immigrant and patriot that has ever worked her land or sewed crops in her fields, spanned our mighty rivers and climbed our majestic mountains, and that will can never be broken by any two bit, self proclaimed soldier of some hierarchical spirit whose charged them with clearing this world of anyone whom opposes their beliefs.  

When The Okie from Muskogee bellowed out the words to this song, exclaiming our country rollin downhill like a snowball headed for hell I cant help but think of the state of politics in our country right now, no matter whom you might be vying for to be the next face of the highest office in this land, you’ve got to be ashamed of the choices we have right now. We live in a democracy and if the people vote to elect a certain candidate then that’s the way it is, that’s the leader the people want, and for other candidates to acknowledge that by proclaiming their banding together to fight that opportunity is a shambles. Rather than sharing their intent to protect our country or what they might do to make our country stronger, more successful, more right, they act like 7 year old boys in the school yard ganging up on another kid because he speaks the loudest.

What does that say about each of those candidates, their answer is to gang up and persecute the other guy instead of addressing the people of this great nation and convey to them their intentions if elected; a shameful, incredible and disgusting waste of time and money and insult to the intelligence of the people of our nation. Our country is rolling down hill all right, like a boulder that’s finally shook free from its precipice and is now tumbling wildly threatening to protect her sandy shores and golden prairies in the face of ever increasing terrorism and we need someone to step in and gain control of her, not to cry because they can’t handle the fight. Like Roosevelt liked to say, "Bully on" America, stand up and take control away from the politicians, remember what former President Reagan said about politics…that the job of a politician and a world leader is to be a servant of the people and not the other way round.

Thursday, March 24, 2016


I tore open the envelope addressed to me from my ex wife and pulled a note from it, it read; “Tracy, when you went to war in South West Asia you sent this and asked me to keep it safe until you get back, I kept it safe on my key chain for the last twenty six years, I thought you might want it back.” In the envelope there was a small, round, brass tag with the number “71” stamped on it. It was the tag from my gas mask.

In 1991 I sat huddled in a corner of a dilapidated underground parking garage in the dark, I was dressed in my chemical gear and mask, I hated breathing through it, I hated being in it, I hated the sweat that poured down my back as we waited for the all clear sign. We didn’t know that most of the Scud missiles that Saddam had sent to us were empty of or had very little chemicals in them, but we knew he had used chemicals in the past so we weren’t taking any chances. And the missiles were large enough to cause a lot of damage on their own. As I sat there having just gotten in country, peering out through the sand covered lenses of my mask, I thought about faith and I thought about my girlfriend.

Old dust and sand hovered in the air thickly, my lungs struggled to fill and I sat, waiting, tapping the small, round brass tag on the case on my hip for my gas mask, as if to signal to myself that I was still in control. This would be a regular occurrence while we remained in the staging area near Khobar Village, it happened while we were sleeping, and while we stood in line for breakfast. This was in 1991, long before there was a permanent U.S. base of any kind in Saudi Arabia, no Burger King, no imbedded media and no cellphones, hell they hadn’t even been invented yet. But there was the good ‘ol U.S. mail, we would send out letters to home, but getting mail from home was a disaster, I got letters that had been sent to me in the first few days of my tour from my family as I was leaving the country nine months later.

That night, as I lay staring out at the sky over the desert, I thought about times I sat on the front steps of my girlfriend’s parents house, in the cool Minnesota nights, the smell of fresh cut grass, staring up at the stars and holding hands and the smell of her hair as she lay her head on my shoulder. That was the safest I’d ever felt, back then I always felt safe in her arms, in the stare from her cool blue eyes. But things change, I changed. And when I returned home part of me didn’t, it remained there, buried in the hot, flea ridden, oil saturated, blood stained sand. Any innocence that survived my childhood was laid to rest there and despite that I wasn’t about to let go of the only thing I knew to be safe in my world.

It would be a quarter of a century later, almost twenty five years of struggling to make things work, to build a family and trying to be a husband and father my wife and children might be proud of. How many times I’d wished I was back in that filthy desert, not because I liked it, not because I felt safe there, not because I didn’t want to be with my kids or my wife but because I understood it there, I knew how to operate there, there was a sense of control amongst utter chaos that gets burned to a part of a soldier somewhere deep inside him. It’s sort of like sitting on the bottom of a swimming pool, looking up at the surface of the water knowing that you can only hold your breath for so long, that if you opened your mouth you might drown, that maybe when the hurt and the burning in your lungs grows too intense you might be too far from the surface to survive, but it’s that burning in your lungs, that sharp pain in the back of your head as the oxygen de-pleats that you senselessly crave, it’s like a long lost brother, a part of you that makes some sort of wickedly perverted sense. So you close your eyes and feel it, absorb it, caress it.