Monthly Archives: September 2011
I saw ‘Saving Private Ryan’ for the first time a few days ago. Despite being an edited version, it was still one of the most violent movies I’ve ever seen. As I was watching it, it hit me, in a way I don’t think I’ve ever grasped before, how horrific war is. Watching it, I think I had a glimmer of realization that these were real young men, young men, most of them probably younger than I am. They had lives, and mothers, and many of their lives ended. There is no way for me to adequately describe how I felt as I comprehended for a moment how young these men were, and what they went through, killing and fearing for their lives. I thought of my sons, and knew that I would never want them to endure such a thing. I wondered if it was worth it.
My husband was in the military from 1997-2002. Ten years ago was the deadliest terrorist attack on Americans, ever. At that point we were not married, and when I heard about the attacks one of my first thoughts was that I would never see him again. I remember the whole day, watching CNN in all our classes all day. When I got home my mom sent me out with her car so I could sit in a long line at the gas station and fill the tank. (I’m younger than you thought, right?) I remember crying at the steering wheel, waiting in line for gas, thinking my heart would break because I would never see the man I loved again. But, it never once crossed my mind that we would not fight. There would be retaliation, of course, because we had been attacked and it is the military’s job to protect us. He had voluntarily joined, and protecting American lives is the function of the military. And since that day, ten years ago, there have been no more terrorist attacks on American soil.
I don’t know much about the politics of these wars. They are about oil; Bush lied to us; they are to find WMDs, they are pointless. I don’t know. I do know that all the men and women involved in it volunteered. I know that I support them, and am grateful every day for their sacrifice. I know that we should respect them. I know that protesting the wars does nothing to help them accomplish their goals and survive. I want them to live, and I want them to accomplish their goals as quickly as possible so they can come home and move on with their lives.
Overall, though, the question of whether or not it is worth it stayed with me. (This war is attempting to create some semblance of order in the middle east, and I think at this point is less about protecting Americans from future attacks as it is finishing the attempt to establish a lasting government instead of leaving quickly and allowing it to immediately collapse back into anarchy and groups of terrorists. Even if I’m wrong, my following thoughts are irrelevant to the current wars) I thought about the men in the World Wars, many of them proud to stand for America, proud to represent what America was and willing to give their lives for it. I think of America now, and I can’t help but think; I don’t know if it’s worth that anymore. America used to stand for freedom. America stood for growth, it was a moral guide in a world of dictators and communism. It was a country founded on rights guaranteed because they were given to us by the Creator, not gifted by the government. Those were things people were willing to die for, so that their families and friends could continue living with those blessings.
I can not see that those are the things America stands for today. People used to come to America because it was a place where you could create wealth. You could come and work, and that work would produce something that belonged to you. You could worship without interference from the government. You could be free.
People come now, not to provide for themselves, but to collect what others have worked for and the government has confiscated to give away. People do not come to America so they can worship freely. America has become a land where if your religious beliefs are deemed intolerant, you can be ruled against in courts of law and forced out of business or forced to act against your principles. America has become the land where you are not born free; you are born with tens of thousands of dollars in debt, which you will spend your entire life paying. Debt is bondage, any way you look at it. Americans are no longer born free. You can not simply own anything. If you have an acre of land you have paid for, you may not have it in a year if you can’t pay taxes on it. You can own something, own something you worked hard for and paid for and sacrificed for, and it is not really yours. You spend your entire life paying the government for the privilege of owning it. America is no longer a moral land. The only ‘moral’ still being protected is tolerance. “Tolerance is the last virtue of a depraved society. When an immoral society has blatantly and proudly violated all the commandments, it insists upon one last virtue, tolerance for its immorality. It will not tolerate condemnation of its perversions. It creates a whole new world in which only the intolerant critic of intolerable evil is evil.” (Hutton Gibson)
And so I look around at the world we live in. I love this country. I sincerely believe it is the best country left in the world. If there was a better country anywhere else, I would gladly move there (which I encourage all liberals in love with socialism to do. There are countries out there living your dream! Go there, and give us the chance to salvage America! If we end up destroying it with our extreme conservative principles, I’m more than happy to let you have the last laugh.) Despite being the best, it is rapidly failing. There is little left to be proud of, and little left to protect. I am daily grateful that I was born here, but I wish there was more I could do to protect it. It is impossible when the destruction is coming from within. It is impossible when the source is a hundred million people thinking, “Being in America means I should have a home, food, and health care. Provided to me.” There is no protection from a mentality that there are no morals, that every behavior is just as good as any other, and has no negative effect on society. I would not want my children to die protecting America as it is now; but it would be worth anything to preserve America as it should be.
I am against illegal immigration because it drains America of needed resources. America has some socialist programs in place; mostly welfare, Medicaid, Medicare, social security and public education. The idea behind these programs is to help people who need it. They are, unfortunately, abused. I do not like the idea of being taxed so that a Mexican family getting paid cash working a minimum wage job can send their children to a free public school, collect welfare, get free health care and send all their spare money out of our economy and back to Mexico. I suppose that sounds callous, which is probably where people get the idea that conservatives are selfish and heartless. It is more than that, though. It isn’t my desire to force a family to live in poverty so I can go out to eat once a month or own a bigger home. It is the principle of the program. A system like that cannot support itself, which is self-evident in the fact that the government is trillions of dollars in debt. A government cannot endlessly tax to provide for a class that does nothing but consume. It will eventually implode on itself, and no one will have enough to support themselves.