Yesterday I lost my temper. It happens and it’s never pretty.
A woman on Facebook asked her friends to take a moment and say a prayer for the military members who had been lost in Afghanistan this weekend. A supposed friend of hers filled her wall with not one post, but a total of six. The gist of the posts (one after another) was that these men who died had gotten what they deserved, that she didn’t believe in God, and that we as a nation were trying to turn our paid killers into heroes. There was a lot more, but I won’t bother with the rest – I’ll just get mad all over again.
One of my dearest friends, and a man I greatly respect, took the time to make a reasoned response to her posts. He was polite and articulate. I know that he was just as angry as the rest of us, but he stepped up and displayed incredible professionalism. I can’t even begin to tell you how proud I am of him. Sadly, I doubt his words did any good. People like this woman only listen to themselves.
I, unlike my friend, fell back on my usual string of expletives, once again frustrated by my inability to express myself in a meaningful way. That’s what happens when I get angry. I am not polite, rarely articulate, and I would not have been so professional.
I spent a good bit of my time yesterday trying to figure out exactly why I was so mad. The woman had every right to say the things she said. The right to say your piece is a given in our country and there are more than a few that exercise their rights – no matter how misguided. What was said was certainly nothing that we haven’t seen or heard before. We normally exercise our own freedoms by turning the channel or using that piece of newsprint to line the bottom of the birdcage.
Then it finally hit me. It was because these words were said on someone else’s Facebook post. Some kind soul had asked for prayers for lost warriors and their families, and this other person had filled her friend’s page with something that was the very antithesis of the request. We may all have different opinions and beliefs than our friends, but we don’t disrespect each other in that way. And, we certainly don’t use the death and suffering of others as our weapon of choice. It was an incredibly rude and disrespectful thing to do to someone they claimed was a friend.
I would not do that to someone. However, this blog is my space – my little area of the Internet to express my opinion – so I will take a moment now that I am calm and rational to respond:
I, and the people that I hold most dear, got up every day and put on our gear, spent time away from our families, and served in the armpits of the world to defend your rights. We were all volunteers who chose our profession as Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, or Marines. It was an honor for all of us to stand together regardless of faith, color, or creed and defend your rights. There is not a single one of us who, when push came to shove, would not step in front of you to defend your right to freedom of speech. Not a single one of us who would not step in front of you to defend your right to believe or not believe in God.
And, not a single one of us who would not lay down our lives in defense of you and those rights.
The men who died in Afghanistan this weekend did just that.
My friends and I believe that God will accept those brave warriors into a peaceful place. We also believe that God will listen to the prayers of the many and provide the strength and comfort the families of those warriors need. If anyone wants to take issue with those beliefs – have at it. My friends will stand with me, and we can take whatever you throw at us.
You don’t have to like us, anymore than we like you. However, while you abuse us and treat us as though we are the dirt beneath your feet, we will continue to defend your right to express your opinion. It’s okay, you act the ignorant ass – me and mine will do our jobs.
But, lady –when the brave people who make it possible for you to “express yourself” give their lives in the performance of those duties – the least you could do is shut the hell up and show a little damn respect.
Now that I have that out of my system, I can focus on what’s really important. We have lost a lot of good people this month in Afghanistan and Iraq. Every person lost was someone’s child, sibling, spouse, or parent. While the 30 that we lost this weekend comes as a large blow due to its sheer magnitude, my friends and I feel each and every loss. No one death is any less than the other – each is borne with an equal weight of sorrow. Each was a member of our military family. While we take some comfort in the idea that all were doing the jobs they loved – we all would wish it otherwise and they were safe with us.
My thoughts and prayers remain with the families of all the service members whose lives were lost in the performance of their duties.