The bumper sticker was on the back of a huge pickup truck. I was driving through Denver, and we were at a stop light.
Next to the bumper sticker was a USMC sticker.
That’s interesting. It’s also hugely insulting, and here’s why.
On one hand, those of us who have lived in Colorado (or any other small mountain town, pretty hamlet, tucked-away-by-the-sea town that has been completely inundated by “outsiders” (anyone who isn’t us, in other words) can relate. Since I moved to Denver forty-five years ago, some five million plus folks have landed here. All of them want to zip up the state’s boundary lines and keep all the other folks out.
In just twelve months our population jumped by more than 100,000 people https://www.denverpost.com/2015/12/22/colorados-population-jumped-by-101000-in-12-months-2/.
In addition, our marijuana legalization has sucked in many of the country’s homeless population https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/03/us/colorado-survey-suggests-legal-marijuana-attracting-homeless/index.html.
We’re a gorgeous state with lots to do. Legalized pot is just one of a million reasons people want to live here. If folks move here and start a pot business, pay taxes and hire folks, what is your problem? And as I wrote in another article (https://medium.com/s/story/dont-move-here-we-don-t-want-you-566448c6e3ee), we can’t put a barbed wire fence on the borders or mountain towns (which are WAY out of reach for anyone less than a few million to begin with anyway).
This is America. The land of the free (or at least free to go bankrupt trying to pay our bills).
Anyone with USMC on his bumper sticker fought for our absolute right to live anywhere we want in this country.
As an Army veteran, so did I.
So I ask you, Mr. Get High Now GO HOME, what the fuck gives YOU the right to invite people out of my state, ANY state, after you donned a uniform to fight for those very rights?
In case you missed it, here’s the story about another Marine who made the immensely stupid mistake of deciding that Americans were the enemy, and the price he paid for it:https://taskandpurpose.com/neo-nazi-marine-court-martial/. He is the tip of the iceberg. Count on it.
I have a personal problem with any military person who doesn’t understand the sacred responsibility we all have to protect the Constitutional rights of ALL Americans, which includes the right to drive across a state line, fall in love with a place for his own reasons, and decide to hang out a shingle.
Forgive me for pointing this out, folks, but when you don a military uniform, you protect ALL of us, and ALL of our rights. You don’t get to pick and choose. The military really is all or nothing. You can harbor personal beliefs, as we all do, but you don’t get to proselytize them publicly. The Uniformed Code of Military Justice has a thing or two to say about your behavior for good reason. At least for now.
I have seen veterans who expressed pretty strong opinions about white nationalists who wear camouflage (often they never served at all but LOVE to posture like they did) after they themselves risked life, limb, and lost friends during World War II fighting the very Nazis now walking our small town streets.
I’m with them.
However there is something vastly more insidious and evil going on in our military. This is the kind of thing that gives rise not only to our Neo Nazi friend but also the jerks who served but also feel they have the right to kick out anyone from any state they want because it either displeases them or they just feel superior or justified. Here’s what I mean: https://www.advocate.com/commentary/2018/3/29/christian-takeover-us-military.
As someone who served, and who has no specific religion or dogma that I choose to follow (with the exception of Buddhist practices, which by my definition are not religious dogma but disciplines of the mind), any kind of imposed religious practices in our military expressly go against the separation of Church and State as defined by our founders. The founders knew what they were doing.
Given that we increasingly have Muslim men and women in our military, for example, who serve America with precisely the same passion and zeal with which the rest of us do, give their lives and limbs in service of our collective Constitution, then I would argue that the military- as a branch of government (the State)-has no goddamned business imposing any kind of religious practice on anyone for any reason.
Otherwise we end up with jackasses like Lance Cpl. Vasillios Pistolis and his Nazi cohorts who were (appropriately) booted out the Marines. Unfortunately, the more the military is infected with religious extremism, the more likely we are headed down a very dangerous road- the same road that has led to vicious tinpot dictators, menacing military and all the joyful happy results that ruin a republic.
Today’s military attracts extremists in precisely the same way that the Catholic Church attracts pedophiles. Both demand absolute subservience to the organization, the chain of command, above all things. Not service to a higher good, be that God or Country. That is exactly where the incipient danger lies. To our Republic.
A Republic that once stood as the example to the world of everything that was worth respecting, admiring, and aspiring to. We have lost our way, in every sense of the word. The world is turning its collective backs on us for very good reasons. We’ve spat in the faces of our allies, we strip families of their kids even as we have the breathtaking arrogance to criticize other countries of how they treat people, we refuse to honor our commitments to those who risked everything to help us during war time (https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/america-is-disrespecting-its-wartime-allies/2017/07/20/d26a6e38-6ca3-11e7-9c15-177740635e83_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.f4244abf0e3a), we are acting like international jerks. Just wait until we find ourselves in another war ( and we will, it’s the national pastime). The locals who might otherwise have helped us have plenty of reasons to flip us the bird as they head to Europe. Cost? My fellow military peeps and possibly, the entire war. You cannot, cannot make critical promises to those who give their hearts, homes and family safety to us and then shit on them, leaving them to the terrorists they helped us fight. That is the very definition of evil. Most in the Pentagon understand this fully. Just like they understand that climate change is a strategic international issue for us, but that’s another issue entirely (for more see https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/01/09/the-only-force-that-can-beat-climate-change-is-the-u-s-army/.) Not everyone in the military is brain dead, thank God.
I love my country. I would still take a bullet for her ideals. Ideals that we are swiftly losing, given the current Administration, the infections rotting Her from the inside, that can give rise to an ex-Marine asshole who thinks he alone can decide who can live where in a country that once prided itself on “freedom.” Neo Nazi Marines who are little more than goose-stepping Hilterites, the embodiment of the very worst the world can offer.
When most of us are walking around tripping on fire hydrants because we have our noses in our iPhones, we aren’t noticing. You can’t be a noticer when you’re numb. And numb is precisely where they want us. https://youtu.be/nYgTM1pPjKQ Uneducated. Stupid. Mindless. Distracted. Asleep. Willing to drink the Koolaid. Trump and Pence et. al. are serving it up. Will that be grape or raspberry flavor?
A sleeping Republic is ripe for the picking. Call me reactionary. Call me what you will. I wore a uniform and swore to protect her for YOUR right to live where you want, YOUR right to worship the local cockroach king if that happens to be your thing, YOUR right to marry whomever you wish, and YOUR right to life, liberty and happiness.
Here’s what that preamble says:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
I have a great great great great who signed that sacred document. I share a birthday with Ben Franklin. I feel rather strongly about this.
I fought for her.
I’m not a Democrat. Not a Republican. I’m barely an Independent. I AM an American. And by god I VOTE.
We are losing her dream. I think she’s worth fighting for.
Mid-terms are coming.
In America, you have the right to choose not to vote. That right, exercised by vastly too many, gave us this Administration. America is for sale to the highest bidder, including Putin’s Russia, and any rich bastard Trump wants to impress. Try traveling to countries who don’t have that right, and see how those folks live. Why do you think people want to move here so that they CAN vote? So that they can get away from the tinpot dictators who have raped and ruined their countries (in many cases with our help)?
Mid-terms are coming.
Or you can sit at home on your iPhone.
Good luck with that.