Pictures are worth a thousand words right?
Well this one is worth that and its worth the rest of this...
I personally thought that this picture has a lot of bearing on how Vets...er I feel. I suppose that it would be infinitely presumptuous of me to figure that I could speak for them but its a large part of how I feel.
For a year I was a jolly green giant walking the earth with a gun. (cookie to the first person who names that movie.)
For a year (and this has been stated ad nauseum) I was making decisions everyday that determined whether or not someone saw their next sunrise.
For a year, I was entrusted with millions of dollars of government equipment. Not to mention the lives of my team, squad, platoon, and company.
And here's a new one. Something I have been thinking about lately (especially with this god damned election coming up) For a year, I was shielded and allowed to purify myself of the relentless media onslaught that is American TV. I didn't watch any TV.
First let me define what I mean. Because any soldier reading this will call bullshit right away if I say I didn't watch any video entertainment at all. The sheer volume of porn in Afghanistan right now is enough to sink a battle ship, not to mention the avalanche of pirated DVD's and the endless collections of ripped movies in MP4 or WMV format. If you were to prosecute one platoon of GI's overseas for their pirated movie collections I can guarantee that there would be at least 10,000 years of prison time and a fine in excess of 1 billion dollars. And I'd think those were conservative estimates.
When I say TV, I didn't have to watch commercials. All the TV shows we watched were on DVD's or digitized and minus all commercials. They were stories. We watched Sons of Anarchy, Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Family Guy and all that shit. But we got to leave the commercials at home. Plus we didn't have to see much in the way of news. I read plenty of it on the internet, so I guess I'm not as pure as I'm pontificating to be.
Regardless, I was able to kind of shake myself loose from all the celebrity worship and athlete worship and all that shit. I came back with an entirely new attitude about the entertainment industry. And it goes like this...
They're show ponies.
Actors: Act in your movie. Be really hot. Have really big boobs. Dance around looking really sexy. Athletes: Throw the ball. Shoot the basket. Score the touchdown.
Go the fuck away.
Don't speak. No one cares.
Don't give us your opinion. No one cares.
And finally on to the news casters. Dear Lord, someone please shut this monstrosity up. I think that the advent of the 24 hour news cycle has doomed our entire way of life.
There isn't enough real news to fill 24 hours.
There really isn't. I know it for a fact. Ask me how I know. Do it. Ask me.
Well since you asked, its because at least 60% of the time of those 24 hour "news" channels is filled with opinion shows. Glenn Beck telling me why the sky is falling. Chris Matthews telling me why the sky is falling. Bill O'Reilly telling me why the sky is falling. Rachel Maddow telling me why the sky is falling. Sean Hannity telling me why...you getting the jist of what I'm saying yet?
Its not news. Its rehashing the same shit from 2 different angles. And anyone who thinks these schmucks are unbiased really needs to have their head examined and their voting privileges revoked. Actually pay attention for 5 mintues and then tell me if you haven't figured out who they're for.
News is supposed to be just that. News. A collection of who, what, where, when and why that a person could use to make an intelligent decision about some event, or issue that affects them in some way. Or they can take the information and completely disregard it.
Its the lost art of thinking. Taking the information you have at hand, and making the best decision you can with the resources you have, and then taking action.
But the way it is nowadays you have 24 hours a day of these shitbirds telling you what to think about this issue and that issue and what to say about this politician and that politician and telling you what to feel about this war and that war.
Unfortunately its pretty much unavoidable. I mean I love Judge Napolitano. That guys the shit, plus I want him to come over to my house and let me call him Uncle Vinny and he cooks spaghetti. I know its odd, but it is what it is.
Where was I going with this...oh yeah. I got disconnected from that, for the most part, for a year. And by the time I got back my entire world view was expanded exponentially. I saw things differently, I questioned what I saw, I believed less and less of what I heard. I learned to be suspicious of power. Which is something that we all need to learn and live.
Don't be one of those people who blindly follows this news company or that. I mean, I know people who wait for the endorsements to come out from either the Sun-Times or the Trib (Chicago) and then they vote accordingly. Make up your own mind.
Afghanistan disconnected me from that. And I'm thankful to say that I haven't gone back.
Add all that in together and I am thankful for the time I spent there. I'm thankful for those I spent that time with. And it has forever changed the course of my life.
Unfortunately, I will never be that awesome again...
But I can try.
I love you Mom....
Then I found one other picture that I think should be posted in every Air Force barracks the world over. Plus tattooed onto every fobbits door. Good night, and good luck