Every year – right about this time – I have head splodeys at some of the things I see on the Internets. They’re not all Memorial Day-related, but this is the time when I think about these things more than most, because of how many of my fellow Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors and Marines lost their lives defending the very ideals I am grateful for daily.
I’m grateful for being in the United States. My parents brought me here when I was eight, knowing I wouldn’t have opportunities in the USSR as a Jew, and every year, as I was growing up, I knew I would join the military and serve my adopted country. I would watch military movies, practice saluting, and when I played by myself as a kid, I would pretend I was in the Army. I always considered service in the military of the country you love an honor, and I did exactly that after I finished college. I called the Army recruiter from a number found in the Baltimore Sun, and said, “Hey, I just graduated Johns Hopkins with a degree in International Relations. Can you tell me what kind of opportunities are available for someone like me?”
There was this long silence on the phone, and finally the voice on the other end of the line asked, “Where are you located?”
I told him, and he said, “I’ll be right there.”
A few months later, I was shipping out to Basic Combat Training at Ft. Jackson.
Military service is an honor. A precious few people get that. The camaraderie, the dedication, the love for one’s country – not as an empty platitude, but with the full knowledge that what you have made a commitment to protect is a nation that codified the protection of the freedoms and opportunities no other could or would – the willingness to die for those principles… very few people make that kind of promise, backed with their lives.
So on this weekend, when so many of our friends – brothers and sisters – those happy few – have lost their lives, we remember them solemnly and reverently. It’s not about us having barbecues and heading to the beach. It’s not about celebrating our own service. It’s about remembering, memorializing and honoring those who gave it all. I didn’t get into my own service to honor myself on this day, but to explain what military service means to us, especially to those who paid the ultimate price.
That’s why hearing “Happy Memorial Day” makes me and many other veterans want to issue a throat punch to the person who says it. I understand the intent is not to offend. I understand it is to offer respect for service. But Memorial Day is anything but happy. It’s solemn. It’s reverent. Sure, we celebrate their lives, but we also honor their sacrifices. Please remember that.
Memorial Day =/= Veterans Day.
Another pet peeve is this “privilege” garbage. This is one that has been brewing. This is one that I haven’t blogged about, because it’s so fucking stupid, it makes me want to slap a bitch.
The “white privilege” crap implies that no white person has experienced struggle, that your personal experiences don’t matter, that you, as an individual, do not matter, because those who happen to have been born of the same race as you, and who might have been more fortunate in their lives, negate any struggle, any challenge, any achievement you may have had.
This is sick. It’s disgusting. It’s twisted, and it’s unacceptable.
My experiences as a Jew in the USSR – the abuse, the discrimination, the lack of opportunities – are my own. I came here with nothing. I knew no English. I was terrified, because I was from a country most people in America considered to be the enemy. I was terrified I would once again be beaten up in school, teased because of my funny last name, ridiculed, marginalized and discriminated against. I worked my ass off. I learned English within a year. I shunned my Russian/Ukrainian heritage, because I wanted – more than anything in the world – to be a normal (not different) American. I got into one of the best colleges in the world. I graduated. I served in the military. I started my career at less than minimum wage, and I worked my ass off to where I am today.
Who the hell are these self-anointed victims to tell me that my struggle doesn’t matter? Who the hell are they to tell others that the challenges they overcame were nothing, because others of the same race didn’t face those challenges? How the hell can they justify taking on the challenges of other minorities, merely by sporting the same color skin?
No, these are not the ideals I honor and protect. And I will never, EVER accept this crap as legitimate or ethical. These people are disgusting, and while they have every right to spew their ignorant garbage, guaranteed by every life dedicated to protecting that right, they will never be moral. They will always be twisted toads in my book – miserable mediocrities, who appropriate the struggle and achievement of others to prop their lack of achievement or simply demean others to make them seem more accomplished.
Related to the “privilege” garbage is the claim of prevalent racism.
Does it exist? Sure. There are ignorant assholes all over the country.
Is it prevalent? No.
And when perpetual victims realize that there’s just not enough out there to support their claims that they’re a miserable FAIL because of racism in a meek effort to avoid responsibility for their own failures, they make it up.
Jenkins made national headlines in September when she posted Barnes’ receipt on Facebook, and later on YouTube, which had been left on a table she was serving. The $44.53 receipt, with a signature reading “Devin Barnes,” said “none” on the tip line and had the n-word — spelled out — on the total line.
“This is what I got as a tip last night … so happy to live in the proud southern states … God Bless America, land of the free and home of the low class racists of Tennessee,” Jenkins wrote on her Facebook page at the time.
Barnes denied writing the word and said he did not leave a tip because it was a takeout order. A handwriting expert he later hired also agreed with him.
Thomas Vastrick, a forensic document examiner with offices in Memphis and Orlando, Fla., said in his report that “no significant handwriting characteristics similarities” were found between the questioned “total” entry line and the handwriting samples provided by Barnes and his wife.
Barnes’ pastor and attorney, Richard Dugger, who filed the suit, said the incident has caused his client to receive “threats from all over the world,” and he believes Barnes has suffered “great harm and mental anguish.”
So they victimize innocent others, because they’re white, to bring attention to a problem that is in no way status quo in this country, because of their own miserable lot in life. Apparently being a waitress didn’t pay well enough. She had to make this shit up, play victim, and get sympathy “tips” from kind strangers all over the country.
Oh, and while we’re on the subject of pet peeves, this whole open carry thing… I’m not going to get too much into it, as that’s all I’ve been talking about this past week. But I will say this: the Second Amendment protects our right to keep and bear arms – inside, outside, wherever. But that doesn’t relieve you of the right to act like a responsible, mature human being. Exercise your rights responsibly. A lot of people died to defend them.
Enjoy the weekend and remember what you are commemorating here.