You know it’s a shame we need an earmarked day to remind us to celebrate a special event or person, but I’m as guilty as the next for not thinking beyond my own selfish needs.
I was talking to a dear old Army buddy yesterday and after the proverbial telling lies to each other and exaggerating embarrassing situations we had shared in Vietnam, he asked me a question that confused me.
“Jim, would you do it all again?” he asked.
“Do what again?” I replied.
“Go to Vietnam.”
“Are back on LSD again?” I laughed “It’s a little too late to change your mind now about something that happened over 45 years ago.”
There was a long silence and I thought maybe we’d lost our connection, but then I heard him take a deep breath.
“22 and 1.” he said.
“What are you talking about?” I asked with a little irritation starting to melt into my tone. “22 and 1 what.”
“ 22 former soldiers and 1 active soldier commits suicide every day,” he paused “did you know that?”
“Are you sure?” I asked quite seriously.
“Check it out Bud,” he said. “Think about it and ask yourself if you’d do it all again.”
I did check it out and was startled and alarmed that he was correct. Based on VA records 22 and 1 commit suicide everyday. Now obviously there will probably be 23 different stories and circumstances which drive these soldiers to take their own life and most likely some or most are not military related at all.
But what if the horrendous experiences of war drove 10 of these poor souls to end it, what about 5? What about 1? Writers much more eloquent and with better command of the English language than me can describe war and offer the noncombatant a glimpse or feeling of the chaos and fear. I can only say “You just have to be in it to understand.” How do you explain the terror that makes you piss your pants and not realize it until the battle is over?
I hate it when I become melancholy and begin searching for the inner truth and the broader vision of life like a Hindu monk or something. But I had suddenly realized what my friend’s question meant … and it was as perplexing for me as trying to understand infinity … there’s always 1 more number.
What he was asking was if I had known in 1970 the state of America on May 23, 2018, would be in, would I have fought? A totally hypothetical question, but the root of the question … would you have risked your life to fight for a future dictator to conquer America is quite thought provoking.
Democracy is not a material thing, like a granite monument or statue. It’s an idea that is fragile and as fleeting as a whist of smoke if not carefully guarded. Today our Democracy is under attack by a Nazi, lying, stealing real estate con who was placed into the President’s position by our arch enemy, Russia.
Russia’s actions and collusion by the Trump team resulted in a bloodless coupe, so far, but a coup none the less. They have taken American democracy and are destroying it piece by piece. Tearing down institutions that have held the country together for two hundred years, eliminating the founding fathers’ separation of powers that was written in order to prevent a dictator taking over. Placing himself above the law. I could go on indefinitely as there is a new attack, a new scandal, a new lie every day.
Make no mistakes about it people. Our Democracy is on very shaky ground right now, on the verge of collapsing.
You say that’s my opinion. Well, yes and no. Yes that’s my opinion, but it’s backed up by every former president, intelligence agencies, former great American leaders, etc. etc.
What about your opinion and the 35% of Americans that would walk off a cliff if their orange haired messiah told them to. Ever hear the adage “There’s a Sucker born every minute.” Well, I rest my case.
Let’s try this another way so you may not get as pissed as you are right now. Let’s say you need a critical surgery and are interviewing 5 surgeons for the procedure. One surgeon declares he’s the smartest, best surgeon alive and could perform the surgery blindfolded if need be. The other four discuss technical medical procedures and the steps involved in this intricate surgery and warn there could be complications.
So what do you do? Pick one of the four surgeons who have the knowledge and the experience to perform the surgery, although they warn of possible complications.
The surgeon who has never really proven he’s a doctor much alone a surgeon and claims the operation is a piece of cake he could do blindfolded. Don’t worry.
I’ll not pick which one a smart person would choose. I’ll leave that up to you.
The original question … “Would I fight for America if I knew America would fall prey to a dictatorship while our supposed leaders coward-ed before him?”
I am prepared to fight for America today to stop the tyranny that is running rampant. I have a feeling those 22 and 1 soldiers would somehow shirk off their heart breaking troubles and join the fight as well.
Open your eyes people. You don’t have to see the whole picture, just one little piece.
22 former soldiers and 1 active duty soldier commits suicide every day and at least part of their mental anguish was from military duty, horrors of war or other military related events.
Our current pretend president dodged military service due to bone spurs. Of all damn things … bone spurs. It ain’t important, What is important this coward is now destroying the very America these 22 and 1 and their former buddies, alive and dead, fought to preserve.
Dear God, Please rescue America from the evil internal forces that are attacking her. I fear even You will be hard pressed to accomplish this, but please give Republicans a spine in which to stand up to this tyrant. And if they continue to choose individual wealth and power instead of honoring their oath of office … then to hell with them too.