Further thoughts on the Military
Now, the circumstances leading to that have been changed. The VA is again providing the bare minimum medical care for our wounded vets. The Government isn't charging private insurance for their care, yet. So how do I feel, what do I think about the advice? Have I changed my opinion of late?
Yes. I am now advising kids whenever asked not to enlist in the military. Seriously, I do it all the time. Before you label me an anti-patriotic racist who advises the kids of this only because we have a black President and I wouldn't give this advice if it was a white guy or girl in office let me explain.
In 1988, I first swore an oath to defend the Constitution, against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Now, it took a couple years of me thinking about it, but in time I came to understand the true depth of that oath. I wasn't fighting, risking life and limb, for a man, a President. I wasn't fighting for Generals, or Captains. I was fighting for an ideal, the ideal that we are a nation of laws, and nobody gets trampled in my country. I guess some of that thinking came from the propaganda we were being taught, and here is the thing. There are two types of Propaganda. Lies, and truth. Lies like were used by Hitler are the worst kind of propaganda. Truth is useful because it motivates people to want to do the right thing, it teaches them.
The truth I was being taught was that the KGB and the Soviets were trampling people left and right. I'd learned about the millions slaughtered by Stalin. Not the millions of Germans. OK, not just the millions of Germans, but the millions of the Soviet Citizens that were slaughtered, starved, and rounded up to be sent to the Gulag's all for this brutal dictator. The KGB could pick you up, torture you into confessing, and then either execute you, or send you to the gulags in Siberia. What a horrible image that creates. What an awful country, and thank God they were not in charge of me or my family. Those were truths. The truth was those things really happened. And here is the thing, they were still happening up to the fall of the Soviet Union. Right up to the very end, the brutalities continued.
So the thing I was fighting against, was defined for me, it was the brutalities, the violations of the individual rights, the God Given rights I was defending. So why would I advise kids to avoid doing the same thing? Because now we are that which I fought against. There are a couple ways of looking at your country. My country right or wrong. That is asinine. If my country is wrong, doing the wrong thing, no matter what the excuse is, I should not support that action. I should not as a moral conservative man, fight for it. The other way is my country is always right. That is juvinile. We have done lots of things wrong, and I can forgive those things, mostly. We learned not to do them again. Or so I believed.
Then the PATRIOT ACT came around. Goodbye civil rights. At the discression of a Federal Agent you can be held without charges, without trial, without access to your attorney, indefinately. No judge need sign off on it, forget your rights, they're gone. All at the discression of the Federal Government's agents. I was uncomfortable with the Patriot Act when it passed. As I learned more, I saw more danger. Now, I see darkness where I once saw light. So when kids ask me if they should join the military, I tell them about the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendment. I tell them about why they should not join. Because they would be living a lie, one that would taint their souls, and one that would harm their psyche.
They want to defend this nation from it's enemies, but in what form I ask. If my nation is wrong, must I fight to defend it? My nation is absolutely wrong where the Patriot Act comes in.
Time for a little honesty. I was foolish enough to jump on the bandwagon of the Patriot Act when it started up. Then as I said, I learned, and considered. What I learned made me question my previous positions. In time, I came to loath the Patriot Act. By 2008, I loathed it. I honestly hoped that President Obama would follow through on his campaign promise and get rid of it. But I guess like his opinions as a Constitutional Scholar on other subjects, it changed when it was HIS secret police.
It is more about the PATRIOT ACT than what party is in charge. It is more about the Constitution I swore to protect and defend, and which I have seen shredded by both parties. So I advise children who seek my council and tell them to skip the military, and try and find a trade. If they have no chance, and are determined to join, then join the Air Force or the Navy. Something where they have a chance to learn something they can use when they get out, and get out after their terms are up. Get gone as fast as you can.
I believed and still believe I was fighting to keep the Soviet abuses from entering my country. It seems I lost that war. I told the last person I talked to about this the truth. If I had a chance to do it all over again, the same choice, with the knowledge I have no, I would not join. I know how the story ends, and the sacrafice is not worth it.