Tuesday, March 20, 2012

It's everybody's job.

Before I say anything else, I am compelled to remind you that I am the daughter and niece of Marines, and the granddaughter of a Navy pilot. I count members or former members of all four branches of the armed forces among my friends and relatives. I honor the service they do for our country, which is a real and important one.

We are in an election year, and in a war.  This means that "the men and women in uniform protect our rights and freedoms" will be said even more than they are usually.

I find that statement troublesome.

They protect our country. Yes, there was the Civil War. And yes, the National Guard was sent in during the civil rights movement in some cases to help protect people. And yes, every member of the armed forces swears to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States.

But I don't have the Marines to thank for me being able to walk into a voting booth as much as I have Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and a lot of other women (and men) who worked long and hard -- in some cases facing imprisonment and physical punishment -- for the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment. And what about the civil rights workers in Mississippi? Many of them paid a very heavy price so that voting would be available to citizens across the state, not just whites. It was not the Army going into those county courthouses helping people to register.

I don't have the Navy to thank for being able to stand on a soapbox -- even electronically -- and spout whatever unpopular opinion comes into my head. I have the Framers of the Constitution, and many Supreme Court Justices throughout the past 200 years to thank for creating and then protecting that right.

As I said, do not misunderstand me. Members of the armed services perform invaluable duties in keeping the nation physically safe, and I recognize that. I think as a nation we give lip service to how much we value our veterans but treat them like dirt through inadequate funding of veterans' services.

However, the job of "protecting freedom" belongs to every citizen of the realm. Subcontracting that job to the military is irresponsible.  It is also unfair.

Don't they have enough to do already?

1 comment:

  1. Good points...

    -resident shrink