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I don't contribute much to the DKos community.
I read diaries, peruse comments, sometimes adding my own opinion when I think I have a valid opinion I fear might not be brought up.
I didn't personally participate in the election this week (aside from voting.)
But I figured today, having witnessed a landmark election in my lifetime, and being able to spend my Veterans' Day thousands of miles away from my home in Dallas without anyone noticing me, would be a good day to toss out some random shit on my mind I think is prescient and may resonate with some readers simply because of who I am: a 25-year old, racially mixed soldier in Germany who can't ignore the ignominy of politics.

I'm no genius.  I'm no dumbass either. (Let me apologize in advance for my language.  I'm from the South and I'm in the Army.  That equates to cussing to the 6th power.  I'll try to watch myself)
I graduated college, reluctantly, and joined the United States Army.  I've always felt a personal responsibility for serving my country in this capacity.  It really isn't that venerable of a decision.  I serve with thousands of others, many of whom I would describe in less than complimentary terms.  Still, I feel a bond with so many men and women who joined for the right reasons as I did: to do our part.
Even here, in Germany, I can feel the American populace.  I can hear them.  People at home tell me they're honored and proud of my service.  I say fuck that, I'm humbled to serve.  I'm the lucky one.  I get paid to advance the causes of the greatest country on Earth, one that I feel grateful to have been born and raised in.
We all have our problems with today's climate.  I won't go into the ridiculously long list of names and disparaging acts that so many people in powerful positions have carried out.  I'll let the community continue to do that.  It does good, but it's not for me.
I see so much potential in the coming years to set America back on a track for progress.  Diplomatic progress, economic progress, educational progress.  I hope we start putting the right people in Washington to be able to realize that progress.  I think Tuesday was a step in the right direction.
I'm a realist.  I know we're going to make mistakes.  We'll make mistakes in the GWOT, we'll make mistakes at home, and each of us will make personal mistakes in our lives.  This is just how life works.  I hope we can make these mistakes as trivial and benign as possible.  This being the case, I'd ask for a few things (not just from Kossacks, but everyone):

- Clean up politics.  I'm a centrist.  I'm liberal on domestic issues, but I tend to skew conservative on international issues.  Regardless, my ideology makes no damn difference if the people making decisions subvert their own beliefs to make the rich even richer.  Corruption is the only thing that will bring America to its knees.  Don't let this happen. Part of this is campaign finance reform.  If we allow honest, opinionated people to be elected, we can have an honest, opionated government.  Please, don't allow any more Rick Santorums or Tom DeLays anywhere near a job that allows them to have the slightest effect on Americans' lives.

- Fix education.  I was raised in Texas.  My family is from Louisiana.  Our school systems are fucking horrendous.  Too many people in my family have their opportunities limited simply because of a systematic inability to educate.  This is unacceptable.

- Redistribute some fucking wealth.  There is no reason why the rich need to have so much money when the poor have absolutely nothing.  Think Katrina was bad?  Try being in N'Awlins before Katrina and tell me if that was Greenwich.  Look at how people on the Mississippi Delta live and tell me it's their fault.  (and don't tell me tax reform will help)

and lastly,

- Quit using the military for your own image.  I hate when people say "they support the troops."  How?  By putting a magnet on your bumper?  By shaking my hand when I go on leave?  Don't get me wrong, I appreciated the gift basket I got when I got to spend a month in Dallas in July/September, but there are soldiers who die, who lose limbs, brain functions, etc.  I don't have to tell yall this, you know it.  I'm just sick of politicians who exploit the military to look good.  It is disgusting.  It's reprehensible.  Don't fund the war.  Fund the damn troops.  Quit spending billions on technology that will never make it down range.  Buy some new IBAs, armor some Bradleys and Humvees.   Buy us some eye protection.  Give me a M16 that I won't have to worry about it malfunctioning because it was used in Vietnam.  Look at someone who lost their arms in the eye and can't hold their children with their own arms anymore and tell me you did what you could for him or her.

I had to vent, and I hope you didn't read this and think I was saying you didn't do something right, but America isn't doing alot of things right and YOU, we have the power to fix this shit.

Originally posted to 3k on Sun Nov 12, 2006 at 09:36 AM PST.

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