The Many, The Proud, The Citizens

How does a citizen serve their country? I’ve been watching the news lately and noticed something which irks me a bit. There’s an implication that in order to serve your country, you must be part of the military. Now I honestly don’t have any issues with the military. Sure I don’t support why we’re fighting a war in the Middle East, however my support of the troops is unwavering.

Back to the implication about “serving our country”. What does serving our country really mean? Can’t I serve my country by promoting a healthy dialogue about political agendas? Must I join the military to serve my country? I happen to think not. A National Guard’s job is important, in my mind, just as important as a park ranger in Mt. Rainier National Park. Both people are serving our country. Yes, you can make a very valid argument the military is putting their life on the line to maintain our freedoms in America. I also think it’s admirable of someone to educate and preserve our country’s national parks…. thus serving our country.

On that same token, our teachers are grossly underpaid and taken for granted. Their contributions to American society and our freedoms aren’t any less important than those proudly serving time in the military. Teachers serve their country every day by being tasked with teaching our young population about the world around them.

How do you serve your country Egan? I serve my country by being open to change, by voting in all elections, by giving a damn about the direction of our country, by participating in jury duty, and by blogging. Now that I got this off my chest I feel much better. What are your thoughts on this topic?


About lessinges

Seattle native, discovering life! I like ice cream, cold cereal, and The Amazing Race.
This entry was posted in Egan Wants to Know, Opinionated. Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to The Many, The Proud, The Citizens

  1. Jayne says:

    I agree wholeheartedly! The basis for serving your country is to assist it and the people to move forward by evolving and learning from the past,looking to the future with open minds and considering any opinion,regardless if it’s opposed to your own.

  2. nessa says:

    You are right. There are many ways to serve.

  3. brookem says:

    i agree though- there are heaps of ways to “serve our country,” which include, but certainly not limited to, fighting, to defend our country. while that’s all well and good in it’s own right, there are many other things that an average citizen can do to help the cause.

  4. armalicious says:

    Great post, efo! It’s been awhile since we’ve seen one of these.
    I have quite a few opinions on this topic…it’s the basis of many a conversation between my friend and I for we have heard people imply this same thing all the time. Living where we live, it’s kind of a given, I suppose. But I agree with you 100% (see why I don’t always fit in here in the good old midwest?). Why people have taken those three words (serving our country) and made them synonymous with joining the military is beyond me. Like it’s the only way to serve. What about the people who want to join the military but can’t because of some medical issue? My oldest brother is a perfect example of this…he couldn’t join because of ear and eye problems (though…I don’t know if they check these kinds of things anymore…don’t they take anyone now?), so instead he is active in many political things in his city, serves on many boards, votes in all elections, helps educate people around election time. So is he not serving our country? Whatev, I say. It scares me how closed minded so many of our citizens are.

  5. armalicious says:

    p.s. three days in a row of posting? Wowza!

  6. armalicious says:

    p.s.s. Hmmm…now that’s a typical Amanda comment!

  7. ms chica says:

    I agree with you.
    So many who make this country worth living in go unappreciated. There are jobs and contributions people make that go relatively unnoticed when they do these task well, making them somewhat invisible in society. But if they make a mistake, everybody knows about it.
    We seldom talk about the number of houses that didn’t burn down, the wrecks that didn’t happen, the kids who can read well, or how clean things are because of public works. Many contributions to polite society go unnoticed.

  8. tori says:

    This is just another reason I love your posts. I totally agree.

  9. tori says:

    Also, I am very impressed at your ability to post so many days! I am having trouble getting a chance lately!

  10. Lynn says:

    I never knew that blogging was a way to serve my country…love that idea…I feel like a real patriot right now;~)

  11. Golden says:

    Has anybody read Ann Coulter’s book? It’s called ‘Godless’. I am not a fan, nor am I an extreme right wing conservative. Once you get past Ann’s very narrow minded and somewhat attacking nature, she makes some interesting points about teachers and military. (I do have to say there were several times I had to put the book down, because she pissed me off, but there were also times her wit cracked me up) Again, I think she’s nuts.. but I got something out of her book. I am now going to read ‘Brainless’. It’s a ‘rebuttal’ of sorts to her book.

  12. meno says:

    I serve by paying taxes, raising a decent human being, volunteering and obeying the speed limit.
    Ok, that last one was a lie.

  13. col says:

    I serve our country by supporting its greatest institution: capitalism. I do this especially by shopping at Wal-mart.

  14. brookem says:

    you know what, i just re-read my comment, and i want to take the word “fighting” out of it. i just dont like that i added that word in there. it’s unnecessary.

  15. churlita says:

    So, does that mean if I don’t blog, then the terrorists win? I guess I’m doing my part then.

  16. Tall Chick says:

    You really ARE trying to get back to Warp Speed!

  17. The Scarlett says:

    My ancestors are considered patriots by the Daughters of the American Revolution and thus I am eligible for membership. My ancestors were Quakers and as such were not in favor of fighting a war. However they did support the cause of the Revolution by farming and at times housing troops on their property. They served their country without doing battle. So I guess I’m saying why is it any different now? Why do you have to fight to serve your country? In a sense I am serving my country by not fighting – I would be the worst kind of soldier really not good for anything. I would complain and cause low morale. Instead, I am a tax payer and I pay an obscene amount of taxes which go to support this war. Is that not serving my country?

  18. Darlene says:

    I totally agree with you – point well made. :o)

  19. sprizee says:

    If I was ever inspired to serve my country I would do it via The Peace Corp. Or a bumperstick that reads “It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need and the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber”.

  20. brandy says:

    Can we be best friends forever? Because I liked this post so much I think I’m ready for that kind of commitment. Although, if we DO become best friends forever, can we please abbreviate it with ‘bff’? Because I just think that’s fun. Seriously though, this is a valid point, made at very important time, not just for your country, but for mine as well.

  21. mez says:

    I absolutely agree Egan. Thanks for writing this – the definition of ‘serving our country’ (and it’s true of Australians too) is much too narrow. Furthermore there is this idea that in order to serve your country that your views must be synonymous with those of the people in power. Personally I think that’s poppycock! Maybe being contrary to the politics in your country IS part of serving your country.
    If you believe something to be wrong the best thing you can do as a human is try to fix it. We always talk about fixing problems, working towards solutions and being proactive in our personal lives but suddenly when it comes to politics/globalism people think it’s too confronting and contrary to speak your mind? Good grief – is it really okay to just ‘let it slide because it’s got nothing to do with me?’ I don’t see that attitude as helpful.
    I really believe that serving your country, is when you are politically aware, and have an opinion – but are also open minded. We talk a lot about the courage of our diggers in this country and the courage to fight for what you believe in – and I agree – I just don’t agree with that having anything to do with guns. I think you can have courage and conviction in your beliefs, in you opinions, in the things you do and say by voting, speaking, being passionate, not being passive and being politically aware and yes blogging! Absolutely. Well that is if you blog about your thoughts and feelings on ANY kinds of politics – doesn’t have to be about GW or the war or any of that – maybe just blogging about the lovely things about humanity, or horrible things about humanity. About race relations, gender, the environment, education, health, violence – ANY of that stuff is politically aware – and if someone reads you they might agree, or disagree and by doing that you’re starting something that is absolutely essential in creating change: thought and discourse.

  22. armalicious says:

    Can I just say that not only do I agree with Mez, but she has brought up some additional valid points with the “let it slide because it has nothing to do with me” stuff. Kind of what I was alluding to with your Starbucks story and why I admire and respect what you did in that situation.
    And…she also used the word “poppycock” which makes me smile.

  23. pink says:

    main way to serve? vote. I’m guilty – I’m overseas and so I don’t always vote for elections back home.
    then there are a myriad of ways that I can see
    jury duty (like you already said)
    medical service, firefighting, coast guard, police
    volunteering in the community
    charitable giving
    studying and adding to the education of the population and the generation of innovative thought (or teaching, as you said)
    keeping free speach alive in open forums (blogging, as you said)
    you go!

  24. Bro#3 says:

    How do i serve? How do I serve? Over head and with few double faults…Don’t you know about don’t ask and don’t tell?

  25. egan says:

    Jayne – that’s a very good way to put it. Serving your country is about learning from past mistake. Can you say Vietnam? Wait, you’re Australian.
    Nessa – there are and you don’t have to have a government job to do so.
    Brookem – thanks. Belgium.
    Brookem – yeah, and in order to fight that war in Iraq, it has to be funded somehow. That’s where we come in, whether we like it or not.
    Armalicious – that’s a great example. Regardless of your brother’s politics, he’s serving his country. My buddy who is a mail carrier in Ohio, he’s serving his country too. And the folks who pump gas in Oregon and New Jersey… they are contributing too.
    Armalicious – I have my work cut out for me to get in good with a certain blogger.
    Armalicious – I like the long comments. I did see your comment on Mez’s blog. I have questions about that comment. See me in my office please.
    Ms Chica – yeah, the thankless jobs are important. It’s really too bad that social status is created based on jobs people hold. Oh, I’m so sick of people lawyer bashing too, that gets old fast.
    Tori – why thank you on both tidbits. I’m trying to get in good with Tall Chick as she demoted me.
    Lynn – it’s open dialogue where anyone can read and contribute… on most blogs.
    Justrun – will you vote for me?
    Golden – you’re a better person than me for sure. I couldn’t read a book of hers because she bugs the shit out of me. I suppose that’s not good of me if I’m truly open minded. What did she say about teachers and the military?
    Meno – paying taxes is a huge thing. Many people try to avoid paying taxes at all costs. I think that’s silly. I gladly pay them.
    Col – you shop at Wal-Mart eh? To each their own I suppose.
    Brookem – I really wondered about the fighting thing. It made you sound like someone just waiting to throw the smack down.
    Churlita – that’s a fantastic interpretation of this post. You rule for this.
    Tall Chick – I am. I got a couple more posts in the works to regain my status.
    The Scarlett – I love this example you provided. I’m sure there was much of this serving the country during the revolutionary and civil wars. Thanks for sharing this family story.
    Darlene – thank you very much. Does it apply for Canada as well?
    Sprizee – I love that bumpersticker. I think you should do the Peace Corps. Why buy cupcake anywhere else?
    Brandy – hey, you bet we can be bff. I would be honoured to have this status. I was curious if it applied in Canada too, now you answered my question. I here this “served his country” all the time and it bugs me.
    Mez – holy comment! I love it. Poppycock it is to think we have to agree with everything or else we’re seen as dissenters. The whole “letting it slide” thing really does concern me. I think so many people here in the states have just tuned out. They don’t care about what happens in the world. Another day, 30-50 more dead in Baghdad. When is it going to end? To look away or pretend it doesn’t exist does nobody any good.
    I really like what you said here. Thanks for such a great comment. Starting a dialogue is so important, without a forum to chat about this stuff… we lose sight of the bigger picture.
    Armalicious – thanks for that. Mez is a great person and I love how she thinks. The Starbucks parking spot fight post highlighted some interesting behaviors. I was not the only one near these guys who were obviously verbally sparring. Others just walked away. I could have walked away too, but if we all did that… what kind of world are we living in? Lots of commenters on that post were shocked I did anything. Shocking to me is how many just pretend to not witness anything. Ugh.
    Pinks – these are all very fine examples of how we can serve our country. I’m willing to bet most Americans feel put out doing half those things.
    Bro#3 – a tennis metaphor? I’ve heard that expression before. I like to think it’s one of Clinton’s few mistakes while in office.

  26. mez says:

    Thanks – poppycock is the word of the moment 😀
    When I read your post about starbucks parking that really highlighted for me exactly what you said right here. The problem is that ‘not doing anything’ is symptomatic of a bigger problem and that problem is non involvement with the world.
    I mean, one doesn’t have to do something about EVERYTHING. Instead you should pick your fights – and in many ways if you’re a woman and there are two men fighting in an alleyway (as an example) you’d have to have shit for brains to do anything but run the other way. So maybe when you pick your fights you chose the things that really matter – but the point is you SHOULD PICK something to have an opinion about! Not everyone has to be a crusader but just being able to say ‘yeah, I talk about this stuff with my kids or my friends or my colleagues or ‘only buying independent music’ or ‘drawing moustaches on every picture of an anorexic model on a billboard you see’ is enough, even THAT is making us more aware and that’s a good thing. When people stop talking then there’s no hope of ever DOING anything.
    The world is not perfect – there’s a lot of horrible stuff going on out there and sometimes people don’t look outside their own backyards. Like as if if things are going well for THEM then everything’s okay. pfee.

  27. Jayne says:

    Yep Egan I can.
    Those who ignore the past continue to repeat the same mistakes in the future.

  28. Cheryl says:

    AMEN. I agree 100%. Serving your country isn’t so absolute or black and white. Serving our country is honoring what it stands for and bettering it and the people in it any way you can.

  29. Diane Mandy says:

    Interesting topic. Isn’t it something that people who serve by particpating in open political dialogue are accused of doing the opposite?

  30. So well said – serving our country is something many Americans do without recognition for doing so

  31. armalicious says:

    I tried to clarify my comment over at Mez’s…I hope I did. Am I excused from the principal’s office now?

  32. brookem says:

    lately i have been feeling like i want to throw the smack down here and there. and no, not just in a (perhaps?) sexual way with mr. f.
    oh, perhaps i took that a little too far?

  33. sandra says:

    I think you serve your country by being a good citizen, voting, and doing what you mentioned — promoting good discourse. I think the reason people focus on the military is because…well, they’re serving the country in a way which could end their lives at any second. So maybe the extra recognition is about the only bonus they get?

  34. egan says:

    Mez – you do have to pick your battles. As a guy, it’s okay for me to intervene when two knuckleheads fight over a parking spot. Have some passion about something. There are lots of disenfranchised people out there.
    Jayne – yes, so sad… but true.
    Cheryl – bettering it any way possible is a great way to look at it. I guess you nailed it on the black and white thing.
    Diane Mandy – you better believe that’s odd. One could see me as a dissenter. They would be wrong, America is great… yet we are far from perfect. Take a peek at our federal maternity leave for example.
    Princess Extraordinaire – you really don’t have to be in the military to serve our country.
    Armalicious – I will read it and see. Hold the door…
    Brookem – why do you want to throw the smack down? Not enough fighting?
    Sandra – great point, but I must argue that they aren’t not only people in our country who could lose their lives any second and does that mean your “service” is more important than those in safer jobs? Bring on the discourse.

  35. Cake Lady says:

    Awesome post Egan. There are so many ways to serve our country without actually enlisting in the military. Keeping a soldier company via e-mail and small gifts while he is in Iraq does wonders for their moral. Become a Big Brother/Big Sister, give blood, buy some supplies for the teachers (most buy out of their own pockets).

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