25 May 2015

Why I Don't Worship The Military

Not too long ago, I had a boss who called a meeting for all his employees to attend. In that conference room, he mentioned something that I agreed with at the time. He was asked by a lay person (someone who never served) what anyone could do for those who joined the military. He said, "All I ask is that you thank someone. Thank them for their service." Everyone shook their heads in agreement.

America loves their service men and women. They hail them as some of the biggest heroes in the world for serving their country. This is a very popular view and actually, anyone who doesn't agree can leave and find somewhere else to live. The majority loves praising our military and it's simply the right(eous) thing to do.

There are even organizations who receive donations that devote every effort to honoring soldiers and doing what they can to promote a better life for these people. The military are praised in sporting events, in schools, churches, and even among cross-cultural families. Heck, look at all the videos we see of men and women in uniform returning home and surprising their loved ones. Honestly, even these images still make me cry. I'm such a sucker.

They also receive special rewards from places like Home Depot, theaters, restaurants, car dealerships, retailers, carpet cleaners, dog sitters, you name it.  And I don't know why I'm picking on Home Depot. I think it's because I used to help a friend's dad do some remodeling to pay for rent and his dad would always ask for a military discount. There is even this one guy in Boulder who sets up a display on the sidewalk to ask for donations because he's a Veteran (complete with American flags, buttons and posters). Honestly, this guy gets it. Like sex, he knows that the military sells. America loves to glorify those who risk their lives for their country. Maybe I'll even write a worship song so they can sing the troop's praises in church.

Why am I not a fan of all this? Why do I "hate my country"?

I'm just not impressed. Someone who signs a contract to do a job in return for a salary and benefits is not someone who deserves special praises. This isn't a special thing. Everyone agrees to terms in order to receive due compensation.

"But Dathan, these people give up their lives for you and me!" Um, no. None of these men and women care that much about you and me. What's really going on? What's really happening is getting that pay check; getting those tax breaks, benefits and most of all, receiving the glory and honor that comes with performing such an honorable duty. Honestly, I don't see anyone volunteering their efforts for no reason. I don't see anyone taking a bullet for free. They are all getting their just reward.

Let's take a look at garbage men. They get paid sh!t. They sacrifice their time and effort helping their communities and making life better for everyone. They are constantly doing a good job at making this world a better place. They want your life to be sanitary, less smelly and less gross. Why? Because more than likely, it's all they've got. They need the money and they need to feed others. They sign up for a job no one wants to do, yet, no one cares. No one honors their sacrifice. The only time anyone thinks about them is when the trash doesn't get picked up.

Garbage men also don't receive special rewards or treatment. They agreed to do a difficult job that many shy away from, yet they receive no glory, honor or respect. There are no organizations dedicated to their service, no organization dedicated to enhancing their lives, and they certainly don't get a discount at Home Depot. Why? Because they're just not that important. Because their job just isn't good enough. It's not a service that really matters.

If you're going to reward one group for doing their job, then reward them all.

The only people I truly respect are those that sacrifice everything for free. Like those guys who risk their lives to save that poor dude who fell off the subway platform. Or that poor girl who ran in the middle of a gun fight to stop the shooting. Or that random dude who jumped in the river to save the drowning boy's life.

But you know what's so funny? These real heroes don't want any accolades, stripes or badges. They don't ask for any praise or compensation for doing a job well done and almost try to reject it. They're just happy to help. They're thankful for being in the right place at the right time to help someone in need. Their satisfaction comes from being true to themselves and making a brave move without hesitation. These people are the real heroes that most certainly deserve a discount.

Everyone sacrifices something at any job. It doesn't matter if you're a computer programmer, parking nazi, fire hydrant painter, or company executive. If we all didn't do our part on the terms we agree to, this world would suck.

Think about why the government or state would want you to believe that one job is worthy and another doesn't deserve its special holiday. Think about why certain sacrifices deserve honor and others aren't as cool. Why would white haired men and women who hold great power want their people to believe a certain way?

Not only that, but why does our culture love sacrifices? Is it because religions have ruled the world for ages and can't do anything without someone or some animal paying with their life?

Just because it's popular, doesn't mean it's right or makes any sense.

And as for those serving in the military, please just do your f#cking job.

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