I recall some document somewhere that says something along the lines of by the people, for the people. Does that ring a bell for anyone else? Today there was confirmation that government services are shutting down. This is the beginning of what could be a systemic collapse and create a dangerous environment in this country. The IRS is shutting down, the Smithsonian is closing its doors and most importantly, the military stops getting paid. I don't care what your views are about the war, the military cannot stop getting paid. This is all coming from the fact that the assholes in Washington cannot agree on budget cuts to be made. Party lines and ideologies are creating an impasse and our president has said there will be no more stopgap measures taken.
I love my country. I chose to serve it and put my life on the line for it and today I'm ashamed. I'm embarrassed. I'm disgusted. I'm let down. My country failed me. It's not about the money. It's not about the actual dollars. It's the reason why. It's how this came to be. It's the greed, the unyielding attitudes, regardless of the cost. It is pure shortsightedness and blind pride that creates this scenario. And yet, it is the uniformed servicemembers that are left holding Herman.
What about the people who are deployed? Do you think I have NO friends in a down range location getting mortared at the moment and doing it for free? Risking leaving behind a family as a volunteer. I'm one of the first in my building and the last to leave. I don't do it FOR the money but I sure as shit would not do it for free. There is so much pride in what I do, but pride doesn't keep the lights on. Apparently it does for congress because they'll keep getting paid through all of this.
I have an enlistment contract. If I stop showing up, I'm AWOL (Absent WithOut Leave) and I'm violation of that contract. Breach, if you will, and could be removed from duty. If they stop paying me, are they in breach. Can I quit? They don't have to hold up their end of the bargain. And believe me when I say they're getting a bargain. For almost a decade they've had my service and paid me a hair above the poverty line and well below my worth. I've missed births, deaths, weddings, holidays and more. I've grown apart from some and purely lost others. I did it for my country. I did it because I made a difference in the world. At no point has the military cared about MY world. I accepted that because I volunteered. I was compensated with love and pride and benefits and education and experience. The day our leaders care so little about us as to not even pay us the measly droppings they say we are worth is the day I lost the love and pride. As for the education, I can imagine the money the military pays for my school will dry up for now as well. I have the experience. Try as you may, Congress, you cannot take that from me.
I have my pride. My pride to hold my head up and do my job, for free, in the face of adversity.
You know why? When I enlisted I took an OATH. I VOWED to defend this country from all enemies both foreign and domestic. Congress, you may not take that vow seriously, but I do. I'll do my job 110% all day, every day, just like I always have, but know this - I'll only do it while I'm beholden to you. Today, you gave me a new mission... to ensure my own personal freedom and safety and that begins in a world where I can move and change and get promoted on my own merit. And it begins the day you release me from my vows. Until then... if you need me... I'll be the guy in uniform risking it all for you.