Firstly, the one thing that I absolutely hate is being taken out of context. It is something I sincerely loathe about our technological age. You cannot tell some one's tone through text. I know that I'm not the only one who is guilty of taking some one's typed words more (or less) serious than they mean them. That being said, I also cannot stand having a semi-serious conversation via social media. A simple disagreement can be taken to even higher levels because when you may think you are coming across as calm and attentive, that person is probably taking it as you yelling or disrespecting them. I have been guilty of this and you know that you have too. It's happened to me more than once and has happened recently, which brings me to what I'm writing about.
I have very distinct views of things and I don't hide them. I believe in equal rights for all, no American (nor anyone else in the world) should be made to feel like a second class citizen. I believe that the GLBT community should have the same rights as everyone else.
I tell myself that I am pro-choice, but I realize that I am more pro-life than pro-choice. I wouldn't tell another woman what she can or can't do with her body, to include abortion, but on the other side, if I was pregnant (no matter the situation), I would not be able to have an abortion. Do I wish that women would choose not to abort? I do. I wish they would go the way of adoption before ever having an abortion. In the end, though, it is ultimately their decision and they have to live with that decision.
I believe in Occupy Wall Street and what they stand for, and on top of that, I believe in supporting and defending the Constitution.. For some reason, this causes a lot of people to scratch their heads. How can I (as a military Veteran) support someone using their First Amendment rights? Do you sense the sarcasm in that question? I don't see how it's ridiculous of me to do so. I also don't understand how anyone who has served or is currently serving can be okay with what's going on. The first thing that I abided to do when I recited my Oath of Enlistment is to SUPPORT AND DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES AGAINST ALL ENEMIES, FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC.
Take a look at the Navy's Oath of Enlistment:
"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. So help me God. I swear (or affirm) that I am fully aware and fully understand the conditions under which I am enlisting."
In the past 2 months during the Occupations around the country (and the world), so many people's rights have been trampled upon and violated. The Constitution is getting thrown out the window left and right. It sincerely disturbs me. I do not serve and protect the Constitution for it to be disregarded so rampantly.
The best example of this is all of these evictions of the Occupy protesters. The First Amendment states:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
Police (and the politicians who command them to commit their acts) have been guilty of prohibiting the free exercise of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the right to peaceably assemble. The rights of Americans are being trampled by other Americans. The biggest example of this is the violence being taken against peaceful protesters. The pepper spray incident at UC Davis is one that sticks out in my mind. A police officer strolled up to a group of protesters sitting on the ground with linked arms. He walked around them with his can of pepper spray like he was showing off a new toy and then proceeded to use the pepper spray. He sprayed these people full on in the face without the ladder of force being met.
I spent my last 3 years of Active Duty serving in Sicily with a Navy Security Department. Even though by rate, I am not a Master-at-Arms, I still went through the classes to learn the basics of being a military police officer. This included learning the Ladder of Force and when to use deadly force. Deadly force is the force which a person uses, causing—or that a person knows, or should know, would create a substantial risk of causing—death or serious bodily harm.
Now this is where I have been called a hypocrite. I do understand when force is needed, but I also understand that throughout the majority of these incidents at Occupy camps across the country, the force has NOT been warranted.
Another thing that has been bothering me is the number of pictures popping up of Active Duty military overseas with sayings like "I don't have time to Occupy because I'm too busy defending our country". I am ashamed by those military members and family of military members that even share these types of posts because it goes against everything that we stand for. One of the main things we do is to ensure the freedoms of our fellow Americans. When you state or support statements like that, you are doing the exact opposite. You are making your fellow Americans (that you swore to protect) feel as though their own military doesn't care. I also get that a good chunk of our country is unappreciative of our military, but you should be glad that these people get to have their say and that we don't live in a land where this freedom isn't a right.
The other screwed up thing about a lot of the military folk that I know NOT supporting OWS is how many people are on their way out of the military because of the economy. Between Perform-to-Serve and Enlisted Review Boards in the Navy, a lot of good Sailors are on their way out because the Navy is downsizing. What is going on in this country affects every single person. Just because you were that lucky person who made the PTS cut this time around, doesn't mean you will next time.
So where is the balance? When will I not be considered a hypocrite for standing up for my fellow Americans and the rights that are given to them via the Constitution? When will I not be considered a hypocrite for serving my country and doing so proudly and faithfully? It's a double-edged sword, I guess.