Monday, November 28, 2011

The one percent and the 99 percent

VA Medical Center, Cheyenne, Wyo.
What is freedom?

The well-publicized “occupiers” around the country seem to know the answer, though it usually takes a bit of deciphering.

The message of the self-professed “99 percent” comes down to this:

Freedom is a government provided sinecure (not a “job” job; heaven forbid!).

Freedom is the government forgiving whatever debt the 99-percenters have amassed.

Freedom is the government taking wealth from those who’ve earned it (especially the “rich”) and giving to those who want it but don't want to earn it.

Freedom is free food, free medical care, and “…no hassles about rules, man.”

Freedom, to paraphrase Nancy Pelosi, is not having to take a job so that one can follow one’s muse.

Oh, and freedom pretty much means ridding the world of Jews. I never really thought I would see that kind of naked hate return. It’s human nature, I suppose. Some control it, some refuse to control it or find excuses not to.

As you may have guessed, I don’t agree with the “occupy” crowd. Perhaps you don’t agree with me, that’s fair. But I’ve spent a lot of time studying this self-professed movement, and if you’re honest, you have to agree that I’ve pretty much suitcased their demands and their idea of freedom.

Initially the occupiers were reasonably peaceful and law abiding, in the goofy  tradition of “everybody gets high, and everybody gets a chance at the mic” fashion so beloved by young protesters since the 1960’s.

Unfortunately, while the message hasn’t changed, the occupy protests have grown considerably more violent of late.

While the 99-percenters rail against the greed of the one-percent, the vast (?!?) Zionist/Capitalist conspiracy that controls the world government, they seem oblivious to the fact that a different “one-percent” exists. A one percent that ensures the liberty and rights of the real 99 percent, the 300-plus million Americans who, for the most part, continue to live their lives of liberty one day at a time, in good times and in bad times. The same one percent ensures the rights and liberty of the childish occupiers as well, because they swore a solemn oath to protect and defend the constitution of the United States, and not just the people they agree with.

As I write this on Tuesday morning, it’s closing in on 10 p.m. in Kabul, 9 p.m. in Baghdad, and Mombasa, 2 a.m. on Wednesday in Quezon and at Naha. In these places, and in nearly every one of the 24 time zones on this planet, American fighting men and women are prepared to go into harms way on your behalf. In many places they are, as you read these words, in direct peril. On this day, Nov. 11, 2011, some of them may give their lives, others will surely bleed.

I visited the Cheyenne VA Medical Center on Monday. As I walked through the halls of the big, clean, high-tech hospital, I carefully looked at all of the veterans. There were a lot of older fellows who had seen service in WWII and Korea, and a younger generation of graybeards who had fought in Vietnam. There were a scattering of folks my age who fought in places like Beirut and Grenada and Panama and what we now call “Gulf War One.” And there are younger ones, too. Men and women who look far too young to have fought for our nation, yet bear the healing external scars and unfathomable internal hurts of combat.

On Monday I thought about the experiences shared across time by those few hundred vets. Experiences so very similar within the community of those who have served, so utterly foreign to those who have not.

I wondered what those men and women thought about the occupiers. But I didn’t have to ask. They know, as do I, that a “…government of the people, by the people, and for the people” can sometimes be pretty messy. Disgusting, even. It’s the nature of self government, and so far as anyone has been able to determine, the only way to ensure individual liberty.

So long as enough Americans believe to their core the ideas our country was founded on, the country, the people, the Constitution, will be worth defending. The one-percent will continue to raise their right arms, will continue to take the oath, will continue to fight and bleed and die.

For us.

I wrote this on Veterans Day. When I write about Veterans Day I often urge you readers to thank a vet or someone on active duty.

This time I’ll ask you to think about the difference between one percent and 99 percent.

To my brothers and sisters: I know and understand your sacrifice. Bravo Zulu.

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