Apr 8, 2011

Madness? THIS. IS. AMERICA.‏ 

The raw amount of unreal, surreal, and completely outlandish buffoonery that has occurred since last we spoke boggles the mind. Hello, my friends (both of you), and welcome back. I'd love to say that it's been the demands of work and the raw lack of time that kept me away for so long. While that's partially true, it mostly has come down to my heart not really being in it as of late. Why? Well, I look around and I don't like almost anything I see.

We've launched a "war" into another country on the shakiest of ground. If there was no pre-designated "end state" I could handle that, as "end states" fluctuate and change all the time. What blows my hair back is that this is the first time I remember going into a fight without a "BEGINNING state." You want to talk about a country that totally defined "marginal" in the "Threats to US interests" dictionary, I give you Libya. And boy did we look like rockstars, stickin' our noses in there. But at least we're done with all that now. Gave it to NATO. No US connection whatsoever. I'm sure it'll all work out...

DADT has flipped and I have been "trained" (whatever that means) by the DoD to treat everyone the same and not register that anyone is or is not gay... even though I thought that was the whole point of not asking and not telling. Next up: make sure the girls can be grunts. Sure... what could go wrong?

A dumbass in Florida burned up a Koran and a bunch of cave dwellers on the other side of the planet set about killing people over it. Yet we twist ourselves in knots to make sure that everyone understands that WE think it's the dumbasses' fault and not the fault of people who have their own brains and can make their own decisions (in theory) about whether or not they should MURDER people. Fan-f@cking-tastic.

But the real reason I have returned here today - of all days - should be obvious. In mere hours, unless somebody blinks, the government will see a big "No funds available" on the screen of their mega-ATM, and they'll go into sleep mode. On the whole, I don't give two shits if the government shuts down or not. In fact, I'd say let it. Except...

Yeah, you know the story by now. To quote The Right Stuff, "No bucks, no Buck Rogers." If the government goes "Tango Uniform" I don't get paid. This was a reality that I was facing a couple weeks ago, but our "Betters" got themselves squared away enough to drop us another check on the 1st. On the 15th, however, we're on half-rations. And if it goes beyond that, things get ugly. Oh sure, not to worry, I'll get back pay... but back pay don't cover mortgages and credit cards that want their money NOW. And while I've got enough bank to cover a short-term stoppage, if this were to roll into the weeks and months, I'm screwed. But there are plenty of military folks who - through no fault of their own - will be almost insta-screwed if they miss so much as one full payday.

The fact that this could occur is unacceptable. The excuses that accompany this occurrence, however, are far more offensive. Not to name political parties or point fingers, but there is ONE party that controlled both chambers of Congress in 2010 and shirked its responsibility to make a budget for this year because it was worried that its tax and spend plan wouldn't resonate with voters... and it was right. There is ONE party that still controls the Senate and has yet to produce a budget plan of its own as some type of counter-point to the budgets coming out of the House. There is ONE party that, at the highest levels, both legislative and executive, has decried the House submissions to fund DoD and get that part of the budget out of the way, while at the same time accused others of "playing politics" with military pay. ONE party has - for seventy years - ladled out the gravy, created an entitlement culture, and increasingly made people rely on the government for things that people used to rely on themselves for, but now is unwilling to pay people who fulfill one of the few responsibilities CONSTITUTIONALLY MANDATED to be performed by the government, defending the Republic.

And all the while, this party would try to tell us that - essentially - this is OUR fault. What? Don't follow the logic? Let me break it down. The Tea Party elected new blood - of a decidedly DIFFERENT party - in the last election. Those folks were sent there on a mandate to unf@ck government spending. The budgetary cuts that have been enacted since the new Congress came into session have been labeled "extremist" at every possible interval, though they have been demonstrably shown to amount roughly to a warm pee in the Pacific Ocean. This "extremism," according to the ONE party, is the fault of the new members of Congress being beholden to those crazy Tea Partiers. But since the last election was pretty much a one-way street, and it wasn't just the Tea Party people that voted in those elections, what they really mean is YOU. YOU dirty, unwashed, heathen masses - the kind that the Senate Majority Leader thinks stink and should be kept out of his sight - are to blame. So suck it.

And that seems to be the overarching message to the military in this move: suck it. DoD funding bill? Suck it. Bill to fully fund DoD while attached to yet ANOTHER Continuing Resolution? Suck it. Can't agree on the budget because of a fight over Planned Parenthood of all damned things? Hey, how about turning THAT into a separate bill and passing everything you CAN agree on into law? Suck it.

So, this is the state of my country. This is what we have been reduced to. This is who we are "led" by. While I will continue to well and faithfully discharge the duties of my offices, and we as Marines will certainly continue to support and defend the Constitution and obey all legal orders under the UCMJ, there's a reason that the military ranks first and Congress comes in last in all those annual poles. And times like this ain't gonna make those numbers do anything but get farther apart...

I recently purchased John Adams and have been fascinated by what I've read. While the mini-series was brilliant, the book is even more illuminating. The depth of commitment, the strength of character, the plain speech. These are all things that as a Marine, my head requires, and that as an American, my heart desires. As of late, I've been popping a lot of Excedrin and have had frequent chest pains.

And so, I leave you with these words from Mr Adams. May someone in today's government emerge who has the same intestinal fortitude that he did...

- "National defense is one of the cardinal duties of a statesman."
- "If We finally fail in this great and glorious contest, it will be by bewildering ourselves in groping for the middle way."

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