"I do, solemnly swear or affirm that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice."
I rarely, if ever, speak about my time in the military. Mostly because, I didn't really do anything particularly noteworthy. I enlisted. Kept my word. Did my job. Finished my term with an uneventful honorable discharge and went on to raise my children and go to college, etc. Though there were challenging aspects of my four year term; there were and ARE so many people who served and gave up more than I ever did. So, it never seemed like something that needed to be discussed at great length.
As a "flower-child-born-too-late", raised in the 80s, and dubbed "Miss Granola" (by my older sister) in high school during an era when a Kenny Rogers fan could be best friends with a Black Sabbath fan; for the most part, I have always treated my Army experience like my first real-world-bigger-than-Burger-King-wake-up-call job experience and left it at that.
Though I now have an educated appreciation for my Father's twenty years of Military service, acknowledge fellow veterans on Veteran's Day, have slowly come to take some pride in my decision, and am often thankful that amidst the numerous hazardous lessons the experience taught me so much about my strengths and the power of adaptability; I haven't spent much time talking or dwelling on what it meant at the time or why I even did it in the first place. As we occasionally bumped heads about national policy, religion, and hunting/shooting animals; I am certain that my Father is STILL quite baffled by that decision. The short version: I believed in people. I believed all people were worthy of respect and the opportunity to participate in and be embraced by the American Dream. And, maybe School House Rock convinced me at an early age that it was important to, "Secure the Blessings of Liberty" . Life continues to encourage me to do so and I simply haven't given up on that idea.
The outcome and recent aftermath of the election, accompanied by the plethora of social media posts (some so disturbingly hateful that I have had to just walk away in disgust) storming into all of my social media feeds has pushed me to revisit what that was all about...AND what it means to me now...twenty-nine years later.
I am pretty sure that nobody is more surprised than I am about my sudden need to express how these things are affecting me.
I finally figured out that part of it is that I never realized it was possible to be simultaneously proud and appalled.
I am so proud that my peers and I (and the small percentage of the population now serving) were ready, willing, and able to defend a country which provides such liberties as we are using Right Now. No matter the outcome of ANY election; The FREEDOM to Peacefully Express our frustration with the system is NOT a luxury frequently afforded to citizens in many other countries.
I am proud of the way our nation has progressed in my lifetime.
"The 115th Congress will have a record-high 21 female senators in it next year, including more women of color than ever before...the number of women of color in the Senate quadrupled...These women and so many others reflect a Senate that's (slowly but surely) looking more and more like the American electorate."
I see that many protesters are not afraid of him but, afraid of the type of people who would vote for a man like him. As I work to remind myself that it is possible that many people who voted for him were just as likely to be doing it in the interest of simply blindly voting against something else and NOT necessarily in SUPPORT of what he represents; I am appalled that we must now explain to students how and why Americans voted for a racist to be our President. Unless he rapidly and drastically changes his mode of operation; the Presidential role of Donald Trump has the potential to Legitimize and Empower groups which stand for so many in-humane, racist, sexist, and inequitable concepts that I struggle to understand. When I shared the article about how we must now explain to our children how Americans elected a racist, a visitor actually asked, "Who is a racist?"
I was speechless. I couldn't say or think anything to respond at first. Later, I felt like I should say something about how fortunate she was that she never really had to be able to answer that question.
Disconcerting to me personally; at what point did it become okay to select a Commander In Chief who has demonstrated Conduct Unbecoming an Officer as a before and during his campaign to launch his term in office?
As a soldier: The moral and legal obligation is to the U.S. Constitution and not to those who would issue unlawful orders (especially if those orders are in direct violation of the Constitution and the UCMJ). Additionally, the American Soldier functioning within the Uniform Code of Military Justice is bound by her/his word and pledge to disobey unlawful orders. Based on what we have witnessed so far, I must ask, "Does the apparent president-elect know the difference between the two?"
I am just an average citizen who once happened to serve in the U.S. Army. The fact that I am clearly not alone in the need to ask that question warrants a better evaluation of his ability to be an effective Commander In Chief.
"The presidential oath of office demands that the president “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Trump Vs. the Constitution How will he defend, preserve, and protect something he does not understand?
As early as October, Republican law makers raised legitimate arguments concerning the qualifications of this candidate.
"In nominating Donald Trump, the Republican Party has asked the people of the United States to entrust their future to a man who insults women, mocks the handicapped, urges that dissent be met with violence, seeks to impose religious tests for entry into the United States, and applies a de facto ethnicity test to judges," they wrote. "He offends our allies and praises dictators. His public statements are peppered with lies. He belittles our heroes and insults the parents of men who have died serving our country. Every day brings a fresh revelation that highlights the unacceptable danger in electing him to lead our nation."
And still, here he is poised to take on that position and the most we can hope for is an unprecedented turn of events when the Electoral College meets in December or a Presidential/Government support network and system of checks and balances that will unite across party lines to teach him the basic fundamentals of what it means to be a conscientious law-abiding citizen and leader worthy of the respect of ALL of the diverse cultures residing here and abroad.
They allowed him the eligibility for the position. Now, their mission is to give him a crash course in humanity and governance that will transform him into a Commander In Chief who knows what it means to work in compliance with our Constitution. As citizens (and soldiers) it will be our responsibility to hold them to it. "A man who doesn't even grasp the most basic limits and responsibilities of the three branches of government";Educating Trump is unlikely to be an easy task.
For what I suspect might be the first time in his life; he may actually be held accountable for his promises, actions, and outcomes. Will he care? Or will he just sell us out to the highest bidder?
The More I Learn, The Less I Know Although I am a New York State Certified Teacher who knows the actual worth of my own vote isn't what it should be and I do try to stay informed; every day I am learning how much I never really knew/understood about the Actual American Election Process...and how an even larger portion of the population understands it even less than I do. It's truly a humbling and, well, sort of... alarming realization to see how many of our citizens are clueless about this aspect of our democracy.
SOME OF MY POSTS ABOUT THE ELECTION AND THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE
IN CASE YOU WANT TO BUT, CANNOT UNDERSTAND THE GRIEF AND FRUSTRATION MANY AMERICANS ARE WORKING THROUGH RIGHT NOW....
When I went against my own Romantic and Peaceful notions about being gentle and loving to all forms of life and prepared myself at the "tender" age of 17 to take up arms to honor and defend my country, though I may have been a somewhat-jaded Army Brat with few romantic notions about the Military; it was because I BELIEVED in the Greatness of our nation.
I believed in Justice For All. I believed in the equitable defense of the citizens of our nation. Though it may have been tempered by the idealism of Youth, in my heart I was legitimately prepared to fight like hell to defend these concepts because I BELIEVED in the Great Potential of our Country. AND, I STILL DO.
It's NOT ABOUT winning or losing. It's about "inclusion and connection and inter-dependency... about building bridges and breaking ceilings... about taking the high road.... VS. a platform which supports creating a nation which caters to an ONLY christian, white, straight, population with no space for anyone who might be "different" or "difficult to understand". His was truly a campaign of fear and exclusion and Open-Minded Americans are struggling to unify under such a concept.
The grief and frustration does not stem from the media hype about party lines...or which party should be in charge. This is about the selection of a leader, one person, who demonstrates an appreciation for the diversity of our people and seeks to unite all factions of our population to the best of his/her ability. The apparent president-elect has shown no evidence in his behavior, demeanor, conduct, or history to indicate that he is qualified to do such a thing. He has clearly and blatantly demonstrated an intrinsic desire to do the exact opposite of that. The concerns are justified. Additionally, as far as I know, to date...the actual votes of the American people DO NOT support his placement as our leader. And those who are peacefully protesting his appointment as such are doing so within the legitimate boundaries of the Electoral process which does not end until December 19th.
THIS IS WHAT MAKES AMERICA GREAT.... IN THE WAYS THAT IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN GREAT. We have options and rights that FEW, IF ANY, OTHER NATION'S CITIZENS DO. No matter which way you voted; to me The MOST IMPORTANT thing to remember in all of the issues about this election ...and there ARE many... is that The Petitions to Request that the Electoral College Choose Hilary Clinton as President on Dec. 19th is also, ...though not publicized enough...A Part of the Election Process and NOT a 'temper-tantrum' or "poor loser scenario"...
Because the Electoral College exists; this action COULD be done after EVERY Presidential Election. The option is NOT new. The media tells us that the process is over when THEY announce the winner. And, we believe it.
THIS emphasizes the need to get rid of, or seriously revise, the Electoral College to improve the Electoral Process BEFORE the next presidential election. Which, in case you have been hiding under a rock (or are just totally and justifiably revolted by the political talk bombarding all social media right now) and haven't seen it yet, IS another petition circulating right now.