27 May 2006

More Posting

OK, let me explain something. I've got a lot of free time right now. Shortly, I will have little free time, then after that I should be able to stop being so damned cryptic. Some days the Army drives me bonkers.

Wall Street Journal:

http://www.opinionjournal.com/taste/?id=110008430

Tigerhawk's Take Thereon.

http://tigerhawk.blogspot.com/2006/05/confront-your-shame-and-honor-heroes.html

OK, I'm not so sure I buy Tigerhawk's argument. There is a case to be made for it.

Part of my disagreement is that I don't see myself as particularly heroic, nor do I require adulation from the masses of folks who don't really have a clue. Respect from my fellow vets, that I want to earn. A little appreciation from the rest, that's fine as well. But people who effusive or who throw around terms like "hero" bother me on several levels. Fer crying out loud, I'm a damn fobbit these days anyway.

I'm not sure what it is I want from civilians. I have a confession to make.

Civilians confuse me. Don't get me wrong, I like 'em just fine. My brother's a civilian, and so is my godfather, my mother, and both my grandmothers. Some of my best friends aren't military and never have been. But civilians in general seem to speak a different language. They have long hair and are sloppy and undisciplined. What drives me most bonkers is the self-centeredness of many of them. Not all of them by any means, but most civs have never been in a position of responsibility for another person's life or safety. Well, anyone who has raised a kid has, but that's different. You aren't simultaneously relying on that kid to watch your back and keep some smelly Hajji from putting an RPG into your truck from the other angle.

I'm struggling here with the words. I know what I mean, but I can't figure out how to say it without sounding like I'm sneering down my nose at one sort of person or the other. Part of it is what I have said previously. I'm not a 'citizen-soldier', here to 'do my part' in a 'great crusade'. That's some pre-1978 Draftee nonsense. I Soldier because I love the profession and the men and women I have the honor to serve with. If I choose to stop Soldiering it will be because I no longer enjoy it like I used to. No other reason, no deep sociological or ideological profundity. I am a professional, not an enthusiastic volunteer (in the 19th century sense of the word).

You want to know what I want folks to do for Memorial Day? Stop for thirty seconds at the grave of a veteran and reflect on precisely how your life would be different if he had not done his thing the best he could.

2 Comments:

Anonymous nerdasaaurus said...

Civilians confuse me. Don't get me wrong, I like 'em just fine. My brother's a civilian, and so is my godfather, my mother, and both my grandmothers. Some of my best friends aren't military and never have been. But civilians in general seem to speak a different language. They have long hair and are sloppy and undisciplined. What drives me most bonkers is the self-centeredness of many of them.

"Sloppy, undisciplined, self-centered" describes YOU my friend, not so long ago. You made a series of choices--all of them driven by your desire to serve--that caused a deep and fundamental change in your character. Your deepest desire is your duty, your desire to serve and NOT the desire to receive any honor or adulation for having done so. You are modest as all true heroes are, my friend. It is your desire to serve in a cause higher than yourself (your self-interests, fantasies, lusts, etc.) that makes you the Soldier.

Arrogant, self-centered people look upon those who serve as "servants"--being of inferior status, being, family, heritage, or any other delimiter of the human condition. This is perhaps an unseen side-effect of losing the draft. When there was a draft, even self-centered, arrogant people had to serve. Now that there is no draft, such people really DO NOT understand those who serve voluntarily, willingly and even cheerfully. Losing the draft meant that the great equalizer of military service was also lost. This increased the cultural divide of the arrogant and the "servants".

To be sure, Jesus praised servants. In his Order of the church, the ones who serve the most are the ones who lead His Church. This is diametrically opposed to the rest of the world, where leaders are selected based on anything--and everything--else. This might include tests (smarter), family (better connected), wealth (influence), or ability (talent). A church is led by "servant leaders". SO TOO IS THE MILITARY now. You are a sergeant now because you have demonstrated that your ability to serve is indicative of your ability to lead.

The rest of the world doesn't understand this, and never will. When I had my ministry at the jail, most people looked upon me as if I were some kind of leader of the church. I categorically refused that title then, and do so now. One church wanted to ordain me as a minister, and I refused that also. I considered myself then (and now) a servant, one who is merely fulfilling his duties and still don't see why any Christian would not join me there. I don't want to be a leader. I am not smart enough, wise enough, have the connections, influence or talent. I have acted as leader before, and I hated doing it. I only did it because no one else was.

I still prefer the company of drunks, dopers and child molesters to the company of the saints in the church! Thats the primary reason I never wanted to be a leader. Leaders are held to a higher standard of moral behavior than I seem able to achieve. I'm not "religious" enough to lead a Church ministry. Few of my friends, Christian and non-Christian, leaders and non-leaders understand my attitude. There is a huge cultural gap between me and the rest of the world. And there is a similar gap between you, your fellow servants in uniform, and the rest of the world.

The arrogant never understand the servants. That gap exists and I really don't have a clue as to how to bridge that divide. That is one of the purposes of the Church--to equalize the arrogant and the servants. It was also an effect of the draft. So go figure.....I don't think there is an acceptable way to make the arrogant serve.

Remember Leona Helmsley? The great Queen of the hospitality industry was sentanced to folding towels and cleaning the rooms of her own hotels as the lowest maid. How the press HOOTED over this. We delight when the arrogant are brought low, but turn around and act arrogant ourselves. This is called "sin" and is another topic for another day.

2:53 AM  
Blogger Zero Ponsdorf said...

Won't filled up your comments.

Linked to this and offered a post: http://ponsdorf.blogspot.com/2006/05/memorial-day-redux.html

3:59 AM  

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