Just Me

Just Me
Look,I'm just sayin'

Sunday, October 2, 2016

freedom is a choice

 I hear the term sacrifice used a lot lately. I especially hear it used to describe military service. As a retired member of the armed forces I am uncomfortable with that. You see a sacrifice is something you do in hope of a return. That isn't why I joined or stayed in the service. It was a job and one that needed doing. I am uncomfortable with this concept that I did it for anyone other than myself. That is just a false pretense in my opinion. I did what I felt necessary for me and my family. That is the long and short of it. I certainly appreciate others acknowledging that service. At the same time those folks owe me nothing in return. And that is the rub with me. I didn't " sacrifice " anything for you, I did it for me. In the process I earned certain privileges and benefits. Those are what I am entitled to, by law. Gratitude is not guaranteed, nor should it be expected.
 You may wonder why ? I will try to explain my thinking. This expectation of return is a bad thing. Many will wind up bitter and disappointed. By telling our young men, constantly, that what they are doing is a great sacrifice ingrains that concept in their minds. They begin to feel that sense of entitlement, that sense that they are somehow better than others. The idea that a sacrifice is always met with a reward is reinforced and it is just wrong. Sacrifices are given in hope and prayer ! They may or may not be answered with whatever favor you are trying to curry. And isn't that why you sacrifice, to gain favor. A sacrifice is a conscious effort to gain a favor. I am offering one thing for another, a trade so to speak. Yes you could say the service member sacrifices his life for his country but that isn't accurate. It is an occupational hazard. I receive compensation for doing what I do while in the service. A true sacrifice involves taking something you already own and offering it in exchange for that favor. To whom would I offer this sacrifice ? To the enemy in exchange for peace ? If we all did that wouldn't we all be subjugated or dead ? That isn't why we serve. We serve to protect the nation and are compensated for that. If I did so for free that would be a sacrifice.
 To many this logic will seem strange. I understand that but it is something that I find unsettling. It goes hand in hand with all this " hero " stuff I hear everyday as well. It is just to me when you start bantering these terms about frequently they lose their impact. Every firefighter and policeman is not a hero. I'm not a hero for going to work. I'm not a hero for singing a great song or writing a book. All this talk of heroes and sacrifice is removing the luster those terms once enjoyed. A sacrifice to me is the willingness to trade one thing for another, it is an agreement. One should stand by their agreements, hold up their half of the bargain. The gratitude of others is not a part of the bargain, that is an independent action. I don't know it just seems like the wrong message is being sent. I think that is why I hear so much complaining. It is contributing to this entitlement attitude in America. It is a detraction from Freedom !  Freedom is a choice, not an entitlement. It is earned not by sacrifice but by a collective effort.