Monday, May 26, 2014

Day's end

As we celebrate this memorial weekend, many give thanks to the long list of brave men and women who gave of themselves that we would be free. There is no greater sacrifice that can be wrought than to give of one's self for the betterment and freedom of another.

We are a free country as much as from their efforts as anything. But we as a people seem to be reaching an impasse. Our military and our police forces are reactionary in nature. That is the way of things. That is the way the world works. Something bad happens, and we respond. But we as a people, are a growing populace. We span the continent from coast to coast. We number nearly 325 million strong. Our security can't be guaranteed. That has never been the intent anyway.

We are continually bombarded by stories of shootings, massacres, and terrorist threats. We want safety. We want someone to protect us. We see news stories of demonstrators railing and protesting against the police and military for not seeing everything coming. Why wasn't that person who killed the children at the school known about? He should have been stopped. The police failed us. Everyone has their own cause, their own way of looking at the world and its troubles. We call attention to war and famine and disaster, and we protest because the government didn't or doesn't do something about it.

Then we see the opposite side of things shouted across the headlines. Big brother is lurking everywhere. He spies on us through the street cameras, the internet and the phone lines. They are intrusive. Our very lives are a spectacle on display. They know our inner-most secrets. With the advent of knowing everything across the world the second after it happens, we are terrified in our homes.

Well, guess what folks. You can't have it both ways. We are not the only free peoples across the face of the globe. Our neighbor to the north, Canada, and most of the European countries are just as free as America. They have their own concerns. Though they have a way of life that is different, what we share is remarkably similar.

Then why are we the target of terrorism? Simple. It's because we as a people have always stood up for the underdog. We may have the big stick, but we often use it against oppression. As a matter of history, I wish that were always the case, but sadly, it doesn't always work out that way. Our leaders have been just as underhanded as those of other countries. That's what makes us the target, and not Denmark. We have a history of coming to the rescue. Others see us as the bully for that reason.

But to think we can stop all the woes of the world is simply irresponsible. Foreign policy is complex. What helps one, offends another. One can not simply bury one's head in the sand like an ostrich. If we ignore what happens beyond our shores, we are deemed to suffer the same fates as our forefathers. Incidents like Benghazi will always happen. It is a different world, a different war we fight in the twenty-first century. And it is a reactionary war. We will always be one step behind.

Our services, both military and domestic have a tremendous burden placed upon them. They are our guardian angels, and our saviors. They deserve both respect and admiration for the call of duty they have answered in our place. On this day, I thank the men and women who have given of themselves that we would be free. And we are free. A camera over our heads doesn't change that fact.

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