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Civis Americanus Sum

November 2, 2011

There was once a Greek man, named Don Pacifico, who had his house burned down in riot, because of his ethnicity.  He went to the Greek government for help but they ignored him, because some of the people participating in the riots were relatives of high ranking Greek officials.  Luckily, he was born on Gibraltar, which is a British territory.  He petitioned Great Britain for help, and the British navy set up a blockade around Greece, just for this man, and eventually Greece backed down and helped the man.  The prime minister of England at the time explained that in ancient times, a Roman citizen could rest in the power of his country.  He was protected anywhere he went simply by saying, civis Romanus sum, ‘I am a citizen of Rome.’  He wanted England to act in that tradition of greatness.

I was recently reminded of the power of those words.  In that sense I am lucky to be an American.  I think America is the only country since then to claim the ability to stand behind its citizens any place at any time.  I look at history and I think it’s funny that whenever a country abuses that power, they begin to lose it.  I mean what is the average American more afraid of, a SWAT raid or an enemy army dropping a bomb?  A cop or a drug dealer?  We have all this power, wealth, and technology, and we use it to ruin each other.  And it’s tough to justify propping up a military and sending it to the other side of the earth by spending borrowed money that our economy simply can’t produce.  Granted, the first goal of any nation ought to be the defense of its borders.  All our laws and ideals don’t mean much if we don’t have the power to protect and cultivate them.  But defending our borders isn’t really what we’re doing is it?

We have this amazing, lean, fast-moving military but we use it with such recklessness, not really thinking about the problems it will cause in the future, or whether we can afford it.  And we place such arbitrary limits on ourselves.  I’m not really what you would call an isolationist, but it would be great if we would actually wait for someone to ask for our help before we presumed to give it.  And once we commit ourselves, we also commit to the principle that nothing will hold us back.  I mean think of how many problems that would solve.  Sudan would no longer be a living hell, we would not have spent a decade in Afghanistan installing a corrupt government, we would have toppled Saddam Hussein in 1991 and then left a few months later.

 

A country can do a lot when it has the moral high ground, and its people know it in their hearts.  For example, we paid a terrible price, along with most of the world, to help win World War II, but we were glad to do it.  We all participated.  I’m sure the people alive at the time asked themselves why this had to happen in their lifetime, why they had to put their lives on hold and put themselves in danger because of a few evil men bent on conquest and, frankly, ethnic cleansing.  But even with their trepidation, they did what it took, because it couldn’t be allowed to continue.  The goal was clear, and there were good guys and bad guys, and the good guys had to stop the bad guys.

Compare that to Afghanistan.  People generally don’t support this war, nor should they.  After ten years we are preparing to give the country back to basically the same people we considered the enemy in 2001.  We have installed a leader who hates the United States, and in many ways is indistinguishable to the man who ruled the country before we invaded.  The world likes to call us imperialists, but I think it’s OK because we are not very good at it.  The world knows it too.  We lost in Afghanistan because we didn’t know in our hearts whether we were doing the right thing.  In the climate of 2001 if one asked, “so why Afghanistan?  Why not Pakistan?” the response would be “that sounds like terrorist talk.”  And in the ten years since, we, as a people, never really re-evaluated that position.

And supporting a war because there are troops currently fighting is sort of a tautology.  I support the troops by wanting them to not get shot at and blown up.  I support them by not wanting them to be there.  And my opinion hasn’t changed now that they are there.  If you are against a war, but then suddenly for it once it starts, then you are basically a supporter of any military action by your country, right or wrong, forever and ever and ever.

</rant>

 

It’s Wednesday!  Slept in till like 8:30, it was amazing.  Also found a great deal on a lab kit for my next cert.  The voucher and the lab together will be only a couple hundred dollars, if I am brave enough to take the tougher test.  Seems well worth it.  I keep talking about the future but the truth is, the future is continually becoming the present.  So I gotta get on this.  Getting the one cert was a huge weight off my shoulders but this next one in tandem will really give me some confidence.

 

Gather round and I will tell you a story of a young man, just barely 20 years old.  He was taking six classes, including a ridiculous physics class and a lab that took up all his time..  Yes, he was taking all these.  And in the middle of the semester a game came out.  Not just any game, but the greatest game that there was at the time.  It was the fourth game in the Elder Scrolls series, Oblivion.  Having no free time he watched, and he waited, staring at screenshots and looking at video.  In a few months finals were over and he packed up his belongings and headed home, for the summer bound only to a 9-5 job.  And he played the *crap* out of this game.  For a time he lived a double life, working at a hospital, saving money, being studious and responsible, revelling in the huge number of friendly nurses in their mid-20s, being a young man himself.  But over the course of this summer, according to his saved game files, he played an average of four hours a day, every day.

So now that this young man has bills to pay and things to do, it is with great reverence and care that he is anticipating the release of Skyrim, in only 9 days.  I don’t believe he can swing the four hour a day thing anymore, but he can try.

Seriously that game is gonna be sick.  With other games getting stale it’s time for a good shot in the arm.

Speaking of which, I think I am gonna play some New Vegas today to get in the right mindset.

 

And lately I guess it just wouldn’t be a post if I didn’t talk about lady problems.  I said some pretty extreme things a few days ago.  True things, but extreme things, which probably weren’t very nice.  So now she is maybe creating some distance cause she doesn’t want to be responsible for hurting me.  And that’s fair, she doesn’t deserve that on her conscience.

Maybe the whole problem is I’m trying to hold her a little too tightly.  Which makes sense, cause she’s it will be a while before she makes a decision about the whole thing, and this is all new to me and I’m not sure if I’m doing it right.  Least I hope that’s all it is.  I look at her and, other than being bored she seems to be in a pretty good place in life and sometimes I think, do I really belong here?  Is all this just my own silly fantasy?  But I mean, I’ve offered to give the whole thing up and she said she didn’t want that either.  It’s pretty confusing.

And I’m pretty impatient about this stuff.  I want to fix everything now now now and sometimes that’s just not a possibility.  The waiting is fine, though, I mean as long as we still find time for each other.  We still have fun together and have a lot in common, including a lot of things we are working towards.  That’s what’s been so strange to me, all the good things about us are still true, it’s just that the conversation gets serious pretty often, and we end up with more worries than when we started.  I guess that is mostly my fault.  We should help with each other’s burdens, not add to them.

So for now I will have to wait and see what happens.

 

Wow, this has been a really long post.

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