Tuesday, July 26, 2005

A couple of insensitive idiots later...

It seems that themes run through my day. Today listening to the radio I heard a story that was later reinforced by the email from the member of a group I belong to. It seems insensitivity is the theme today.

I am going to post the email from Gray in complete form, which will make this long, but I think the message makes it necessary.

I am also going to rant a little later. I don't have to, I just want to. And its not going to be nice.

The radio story was about the Lt Governor of Pennsylvania, Catherine Baker Knoll, who came to the funeral of a soldier killed in Iraq. She arrived late, sitting down during communion. She asked the woman she sat next to who she was, and when told it was the soldiers aunt, she handed her a business card.

After the service was over, she left without meeting the soldier's wife or parents, but she had enough time to talk to the reporters on the way out.

The quote of the day from her was:

I want you to know our government is against this war


Well thanks, that's what they needed to hear as they buried him. Staff Sgt. Joseph Goodrich was a former police officer and a career Marine. The audience was full of the police officers he served with, and his fellow Marines, as well as friends and family who wanted to tell the grieving family what Joseph meant to them. She wanted to campaign. People brought flowers and tears. This brainless fool brought damned business cards.

Jerk!

Maybe she meant well, but good God have a little bit of freaking sense.

The family demanded an apology, and she issued one, which if interested, you can read about here: http://tinyurl.com/eykfg You decide of she meant it heartfelt or not, as for me, my respect meter is at zero.

The second issue was when a man I know found out his son was to be deployed to Iraq. He and his ex wife have had to deal with their fears over what could happen to him over there, as I think we all would. But they also had an insensitive jerk, the boys stepfather. He has been publicly complaining about the war, and how he opposes it, and how he blames this person or that for his step son's enlistment into the Army.

Here is his post uncut:

This is more of a personal reflection than anything else. I wonder if there are others in our community here that have had experience with this.

My son is being deployed to Iraq. After being in the Army for several years, he was able to go back to college a year and a half ago, do extremely well, and maintain being in the national guard. However, he got notice this past February that he would be deployed.

This was a new experience for me. Being a father, I want what's best for my children - no matter how old they are! Initially, my gut reactions were of "they can't send my son!" I slowly got used to the idea that he was going no matter what - after all, he knew going into the Army that this was an option.

This past week was a hectic one. I attended a parent's orientation, the official deployment ceremony, and was there when his unit was bused to the airport, where they were sent to finish out their training for the next few months.

Being all that I just said, there is one issue that infuriates me in all of this.

After talking to several of the men and women who will be going with him, I can feel nothing but great pride in what I am hearing. This is a unit that will work together in all they will do. I purposely sought out and talked to many of his superior officers - I wanted to know the men and women who were going to lead my son's troops over the next year or so.

The problem is his step father. After hearing the news this past February, he has repeatedly voiced his opinions about his opposition to the war. So annoying was he in doing so, his wife (my ex) put her foot down and told him to not bother coming to the deployment ceremony. What was my part in this? Why did this affect me? My son visited me several times when he was home, in between his training. Normally, he hasn't been one to be vocal about things that may be bothering him. However, he was very much bothered about the in-fighting that went on at home. I am not trying to air dirty laundry here, but when someone else's actions affected my son's attempts at trying to deal with the prospect of going to war, I had to take action.

I called his step father and told him what I had observed and how much his actions were overshadowing what was happening. I attempted to point out to him that this was NOT about his view of the war. This was ALL ABOUT my son going to war.

My talks were of little use. Although my son and his step father did talk, this man, even while being at the family orientation this past week, still voiced his opposition to the war. Where was his support of my son? Why had he attempted to blame my son's mother for him getting into the army in the first place?

The only thing I can do is to support my son in what he is doing, to be there for him, to keep in touch with him, send him letters and care packages from home, send packages to his friends and hope and pray that he and his unit will return safely.

As for this man, who attempted to draw the attention to himself rather than offer more support, I won't go there. I do feel for my ex wife for having to put up with this, but realize there is nothing much I can do there. We - my ex and I, are my son's parents, and, like any other parents, are both very proud of what he is doing, and concerned at the same time.

It just angers me that some people vent their own agendas when they should support those who are helping us to keep our freedom.

Ok..Nuff said. Thanks to all for reading this and allowing me to vent a little here. I'd appreciate hearing from any who have similar experiences.
- Gray

I told Gray two things in my reply that I will share here:

Ouch! I respect anyone's right to oppose war. Frankly despite being ex military, I am not really a big fan of it, but at the same time, your son is a grown man who has made his choice, and may even pay the ultimate sacrifice for that choice. And he knows it. So what needs to happen, what MUST happen, is those who love him have to swallow the bullshit and love him and offer him unconditional support, because if he is conflicted there, he will not be able to concentrate on his job, and that could lead to mistakes that could affect his or others lives.

and

Not just the only thing, that is the best thing. A good friend of mine's fiance just came home, and he has related how much those packages and phone calls and emails meant to him the year he was gone.

But as important is the support you and your ex and the rest of the family need to provide for yourselves and each other. His being gone affects all. This jackass is going to cause your ex so much grief over his constant negativity.

And jackass he is, and the Lt Governor as well. How can people be so insensitive and cruel to the feelings of others. I don't give a rat's ass how much you hate war, hate Bush or hate anything else, there is a time and a place for those feelings, and sometimes there is a time to shut the f**k up, and be considerate of the feelings of those people who hear you. It isn't about free speech, nor is it about disagreement.

It's about respect.

They both need to be slapped. Hard.