Friday, November 09, 2018

Veteran's Day 2018

     Veteran's Day is this Sunday. The 100th year anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended the War to end all Wars, at least until 1939.
      And of course, all the hubbub about veterans and how best to honor them. Among  the offerings of the obligatory veteran's discounts.
      I'm not really a big chaser of veteran's discounts. I don't feel that my tour of duty warrants them. If I saw combat, if I was injured and earned a Purple Heart, if I came home with PTSD or some other mental issue, that's one thing. But I came home pretty much the way I left. More than a few pounds heavier, a little bit more mature, a little irritated in retrospect that I didn't do more to make more of my time in.
      I didn't join the service because I wanted to uphold some great family tradition of military service. I joined because I had crap grades out of high school, I wasn't prepared in the least for college, and Homewood in 1980 was a place I desperately wanted to leave. Because my black ass might not be alive today had I decided to stick around. 
      Look on my DD214, not a helluva lot on there worth noting. A grand total of two decorations. Neither of them took any special effort to earn. More or less, just being in the right place at the right time and keeping my nose clean for four years.  And while I wear my ship's ball caps, and am proud to rep the veteran status, and while I appreciate that veteran's discounts exist. I'm not big on chasing them down.
      I'm not in great financial shape, but I don't want to be looked on as a charity case.
      I'm uncomfortable with people thanking me for my service. My service wasn't really all that much. I wasn't a Rambo or a war hero. I didn't come out with a chest full of medals. I didn't jump out of a perfectly good airplane. My Navy career isn't the stuff of Tom Clancy thrillers. I was a cook. I served chow. Pretty good chow, but cooks don't make it on to recruiting posters. Hollywood doesn't make movies about stewburners, at least not stewburners that aren't secretly Navy SEAL's. That celebrity treatment's for the SEAL's and the fighter jocks.
      That wasn't even my first choice of careers.  I ended up doing that because I bombed out of my first choice job and was willing to go to San Diego for six weeks to go to a school, damn near any school rather than go to the fleet as a deckape. I f'd up more than a few times, when I was in the service. But I succeeded in keeping my crow, getting my Good Boy medal and not going up to Captain's Mast. Big Whoop.  Thanks to all those who put on this country's uniform. Especially those who were just a face in the crowd, a cog in the machine. Who came home neither as a hero, nor as a mental case, or in a flag draped coffin.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Exercise Your Franchise...

This might piss a few folks off, but I personally don't care. If yinz don't like that I'm not foursquare voting for the 'Blue Wave', unfriend away. People who choose to shun me because I didn't vote the way they did, aren't really my friends, and therefore, not worth my time.

I'm not one of these voters, even in the age of Trump, who believes Democrats, good. Republicans, bad. I don't trust either party. To me, they are two sides of the same coin. There are sleazy Democrats as well as sleazy Republicans.  There are good Republicans as well as good Democrats. I hate that we live in a state that forces us to vote straight party in the primaries. I hate that we live in a state where the Republicrats make it so hard for a third party to get candidates on the ballot.
Especially considering that in Pittsburgh, Democrats hold a 9 to 1 edge in terms of voting strength. And we have had plenty of Democrats who've run this region into the ground. I have no problem voting across the aisle. My politics might lean to the left, but I  also hold some conservative positions. I hold some libertarian positions. I hold some positions that are downright draconian.  I want to vote for the person, not the party. Today will be no different. I'll vote for some Democrats as well as some Republicans. Mostly Democrats because they are the party on the outside and Trump's wackiness needs to be checked.  But I won't be surprised if the Democrats do a faceplant and end up as ineffective as the Republicans. Where there are third party candidates, I'll vote for them to throw up a middle finger to the Republicrats. Call me a skeptic and a cynic, but i believe in compromise and bi-partisanship.
I'm registered Democrat. But that's only so I can vote in the primaries, because Pennsylvania has this insane rule that requires it. But in the general election, I do not vote straight party. I go across the aisle.