I’m not willing to die for my country.
I’m not willing to take the oath. I’m not willing to go to war for the constitution, for the political freedom of others, or for patriotic sentiment. I’m not willing to consign my life to the federal government–and that’s not just a statement about the current political situation.
Maybe it’s a statement about my own ungratefulness, selfishness, apathy, or fear. I should be braver, stronger, more of a patriot, etc. But that’s just how it is.
I do solemnly swear that…I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me.
On my honor… I will always have the courage to hold myself and others accountable for our actions.
-Excerpts from the Armed Forces’ Oath of Enlistment and the Law Enforcement Oath of Honor
I’m not willing to die for my country, but I’m married to someone who is. I’m not willing to die for the safety of my town or county, but I’m so grateful for the law enforcement officers who put on blue every day and go hold others accountable for their actions.
Whether they see it as a personal challenge, a legacy, an obligation, or just a job with decent benefits, our military and our law enforcement officers–every single one–have jumped through countless hoops to earn the right to work and fight for us.
Every single one has sworn to protect their badge or their country at incredible personal sacrifice.
They have trained, they have studied, they have left their homes, they have been poked and prodded, they’ve waded through the bog of beaurocratic stupidity along the way, they’ve been insulted, they’ve been treated like children, they’ve tested themselves and been tested–repeatedly–all the time, in every way.
All for a less-than-stellar paycheck and for people who aren’t willing to do the same. That doesn’t make them all superstars. It doesn’t even make them all heroes. There are selfish, power-hungry, immature, irresponsible, bigoted jerks in the military and on police forces all over the country, and pretending there aren’t does a disservice to those who do bring integrity to the job every day.
Not every police officer or soldier is a shining star in the community. But the fact is, they were willing to take the oath. They were willing to do what it took to earn the right to sacrifice themselves. And every day, they’re willing to get out of bed and do it again.
They deserve all our support until they’ve demonstrated otherwise. We can and should back the men and women in uniform until those individuals have proven that they don’t deserve to put it on.
It’s time for us to pause at both the gross injustice that has been inflicted on Black people and the sacrifice of those willing to die for people (like me) who wouldn’t do the same.
And now that I’ve got that off my chest, I’m going back to my knitting, copywriting, and momming, because thanks to my husband and people like him, I have the freedom to do so.