Maggie’s Farm

20 05 2011

The Fog of War... or an unfocused camera. You decide.

I enlisted in the military on October 31, 2002.  My job was designated 46-Romeo, or broadcast journalist.  It was a job I always took seriously, even when it seemed like I didn’t.  I’ve always taken personal pride in any creative venture, and there are few jobs in the military that allow you to be more creative than broadcasting (the only more creative job may be Psychological Operations).  I served two years in the Minnesota National Guard, a gig that allowed me to sit on my butt one weekend a month and get paid, although they did send me to El Salvador for two weeks, and then transferred into what they call the Active Army and will continue there until June 8 of this year.  The Army gave me many things including two tours in Iraq, and trips to Spain, Germany, and Ireland.  It gave me the chance to see first hand the devastation that comes from poor judgement on the Louisiana coast.  It opened my eyes to different ways of thinking and the importance of good, strong, just leadership.  And most importantly it revealed my talent with film and sent me to Japan.

Some of you may know, but I’m on what’s called terminal leave right now.  That’s when you save up vacation days and then use them all in one lump to ride out the end of your military contract. Even before my end of times vacation started, word had spread that I was getting out and I began to receive job offers from around the civilian sectors of the military.  You see, they have non-military broadcast jobs, too.  They also have public affairs jobs, and because my first jaunt in the Active Army was with one of the rockin’-rollin’est public affairs shops in the service, people in the know knew that I’m pretty good at that, too. So I’m sitting here in Japan with nice job offers; jobs that would pay the bills and put food on the table and generally lead to a safe and comfortable life.  And I’ve entertained those offers- believe me, I have; but as I write resumes and plan for the future, one thing has become very clear to me:

I can’t suckle at the tit of the American Government any more.

I didn’t join the Army on a whim.  I joined it to keep from being a hypocrite.  I was going to Inver Hills Community College in Minnesota, when I decided to join the Young Republicans.  But the thing was, Inver Hills was a rather liberal campus and I turned out to be the only member of the Young Republicans (something that should have been renamed after I joined… I was 26, so we should have been called the Middling Republicans).  As the head of my chapter, part of my job was to campaign for a man named Norm Coleman who wanted to upset then Senator Paul Wellstone from his seat (there was some foreshadowing… did you catch it?).  One of the things that we were pushing for was to go to war with Iraq because we knew, we knew, that they had weapons of mass destruction poised to do us all in and we had to stop it!  So there I was telling the parents of college kids that we needed to up and send their sons and daughters to war when it occurred to me what a horrible person I was telling others to go and die so I didn’t have to.  So I enlisted.  I tried to go infantry first, to the great objection of my father.  He flew helicopters in Viet Nam and knew first hand what happens to infantry Soldiers; though I couldn’t stomach the idea of having some paper pushing job in the rear while other folks were dying.  But because of my background, the Army wanted me to be a journalist, so I was.

The reason I’m sharing this story with you is because it brings me to today.  I’ve come full circle.  I am very critical of the American Government now, and I think that being through what I’ve been through and seeing what I’ve seen that I have a right to be.  I disagree with many of the decisions made in Washington on both the domestic and foreign fronts, almost fanatically so.  I believe that the current establishment in Washington has driven the car out of the ditch and then in the totally wrong direction.  I don’t even believe they have a map.  So why in the world would I want to work for them?

Being made out of a map doesn't mean you have one.

It’s very simple, just as not joining the military would have made me a hypocrite back in 2002, continuing to work for a government that I oppose would make me a hypocrite in 2011.

Which leaves me in a very scary situation.  I’ve put all my money, all my assets into Studio Happy Chicken.  I have no liquid funds.  I think the apprehension that I feel now is what drives most people to continue to re-enlist in the military and to take government jobs; people always want to do the safe thing whether it’s right or not.  But I’ve created something… something I stand behind and believe whole-heartedly in.  The fact of the matter is, if I were to accept a government job, it would be the end of Studio Happy Chicken.  I didn’t work as hard as I did over the last two years to throw it all away because I was nervous and things looked bleak.  Things have always looked bleak.  I owe it to myself, and those associated with Studio Happy Chicken, and our fans (all 3 of you) to see this through to the end, so that’s what I’m going to do.

And if it doesn’t work out, I hear Wal-Mart hires veterans.


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