As I sit on my MetroSectional, coffee and cigarette on my left, and my iPad on my lap, I have reason to be thankful. I am, after all, home from the military. I see my family in person every day, instead of via Skype calls once a month. I no longer have to carry my bag with my left hand if I’m walking outside in uniform, in anxious anticipation of rendering a salute to a superior officer that may pop up out of nowhere and pitch a fit if I didn’t see him thirty paces ahead. I can have a beer with my lunch and I can work out in the evening instead of zero-dark-thirty running in a group with a sweeper van behind us as terrifying “motivation”. I can buy a plane ticket to Timbuktu if I so desire and don’t have to run a chit up the chain of command requesting leave a month in advance, hoping it doesn’t get denied, rendering my plans, and plane fare, obsolete and wasted. I can wear what I like, paint my nails red, or color my hair purple. In other words… I’m free.
Yet, as much as I love the freedom, my homecoming was also an unceremonious re-introduction to how rude, dishonest and discourteous people can be on the outside. Angry, frustrated drivers that need to be at that red light a split-second sooner and are willing to run you off the road, flipping you off because you delayed their ability to start waiting for the light to change first. Lawmakers, those corrupt politicians, that have the audacity to lie to our faces and demand our allegiance and money for the sake of their Party name (see my articles on the Florida Democratic Party). Frauds and crooks that take advantage of the elderly, or worse yet, children, with complicit support from organizations like the Department of Children and Families (DCF) who stand to profit from tearing apart families for monetary rewards from the state and federal government.
I hate to be a Debbie Downer, and I can appreciate how most citizens are happy to stick their heads in the sand, but at what point do we demand a stop to the madness? The complacency, née apathy, has seemingly removed our collective sense of responsibility and our ability to be truly thankful. Gone is the day of a collective movement against wrongdoing. Now, we have a collective of “acceptance” and boy, do we accept a lot.
In addition, many citizens have stopped their involvement, leaving the policing of the policy to a select few who, quite frankly, cannot possibly drown out the drumbeat of the corps of political celebrities that have become rich off the backs of the citizenry. All for the sake of political correctness and out of fear of offending someone in a position of power, or worse, being called intolerant.
Spying, stealing, and good ‘ol boy cronyism have turned this country, and my stomach, sour. But still, I remain thankful. Thankful for my healthy children, my family and friends, my readership, and for my military family that are doing their best to protect our country’s interests, even if this country’s leaders are misleading us. I know those soldiers and sailors are doing the best they can to hold tight to their patriotism, even with their hands tied, coming home with shattered dreams, and devastated families. But still, I am thankful.
I’m thankful that, for now, even when political figureheads from the Florida Democratic Party ask me to hand over my First Amendment Right to Freedom of Speech, I can tell them, quoting Broward County political activist Chaz Stevens of MAOS, to “eat me.”