The New Citizen Soldier

Excerpt from STUFF ACCORDING TO ROCKO

The “citizen soldier” is one of the best-known symbols of the American spirit. Picture the Minutemen who fought the Redcoats at Lexington and Concord, the Doughboys who stopped the Germans in the Argonne Forest, the Marines who raised Old Glory on Iwo Jima.

But the war against COVID-19 gives the term “citizen soldier” a whole new meaning. Here’s why.

Our independence from England was won by civilian militias and a temporary army of recruits who returned to civilian life when the war ended. The Civil War was fought almost entirely by soldiers recruited or conscripted after the war started, and almost all of the survivors returned to civilian life when their enlistment was up.

Both World War I and World War II caught us without regular armed forces sufficient to meet the need. But ordinary citizens answered the call of duty, temporarily giving up their civilian liberties for a soldier’s discipline and sacrifice.

But the war against COVID-19 is a whole new kind of war. The “soldiers” are civilians who haven’t enlisted, even temporarily, in the armed forces. We’re all on active duty now, and we’ve all got to think like soldiers.

The first lessons a soldier learns are that orders must be carried out promptly and completely and that each member of the unit is responsible for the safety of the others. Recklessly endangering fellow soldiers would be unthinkable and, like disobeying orders, would be severely punished.

Failure to follow the urgent recommendations of health experts during a pandemic is the moral equivalent of disobeying orders. It’s also the literal equivalent of needlessly exposing yourself and your unit to enemy fire and thereby needlessly overloading the aid stations and field hospitals with casualties.

Soldiers accept certain limitations on their personal liberties during their time of service as the price of helping to preserve those liberties for themselves and all other Americans in the long run. In past wars, civilians have been spared those limitations but have had to accept rationing, shortages, and some travel restrictions. COVID-19 has made it necessary for every American to accept both sets of limitations and sacrifices.

COVID-19 has also given the new “citizen soldier” something else in common with traditional soldiers past and present: the very real chance of being killed.

With ever-changing guidelines instead of clear and enforceable rules, the integrity and responsibility of individual citizens are more important than ever. We must all take our orders (or advice) from authorities based on their knowledge and experience, not their political affiliation.

And we must all remember that a casualty curve that levels out or starts trending downward doesn’t mark the end of the war. The war won’t be over until the casualty count drops to zero.

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PTS Is Killing America

Excerpt from STUFF ACCORDING TO ROCKO

PTS (Painted Turd Syndrome) has become America’s deadliest self-inflicted catastrophic injury. Here’s how it works:

Paint a turd red, white, and blue and an astonishing number of Americans will:

  1. Buy it;
  2. Salute it;
  3. Vote for it;
  4. Worship it.

Promote the painted turd as being pro-this or anti-that, and its legion of fans will ignore all manner of sins, crimes, and other transgressions which violate everything else they claim to value.

It may already be too late to save America, because PTS thrives on ignorance, hypocrisy, and self-righteousness — the very qualities that half of America’s voters have chosen as the nation’s defining characteristics.

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Electing the King of America

Excerpt from STUFF ACCORDING TO ROCKO

The USA was created because England’s Parliament refused to challenge the lame-brained policies of a king they knew was mentally unstable and ignorant of world affairs. Ordinary people in England and the colonies had no voice in the government, and the handful of men who owned Parliament were happy with what they could plunder from the public purse in spite of (or because of) the idiot at the top.

That’s why our government was designed to let as many ordinary people as possible run the country. It’s why our Constitution requires Congress (supposedly full of ordinary people representing the interests of all the other ordinary people) to make the laws rather than just rubber-stamping whatever the President wants to do. And it’s why the President’s job is supposedly limited to carrying out the agenda set by Congress.

So why did almost all of you decide you wanted to go back to being ruled by a king?

Everything today’s Presidential candidates promise to do is stuff that Congress, not the President, is supposed to do. Most of you expect the President to fill both roles, dictating what the laws will be and then taking any action he pleases to implement them.

Incumbent Presidents demand Congressional support for their own programs, and if they don’t get it they can shut down the entire federal government. If the majority in Congress are of the Prez’s party, they can push through any ill-conceived scheme he proposes. If the majority is of the other party, they can prevent a hearing or a vote on any bill or nomination he or his party supports.

That’s not responsible legislating. That’s plain old butt-kissing.

In mid-term primaries, Congressional candidates in the President’s party try to out-grovel each other in pledging their loyalty to him and their total commitment to his agenda.

Wake up, America. What we have here is King George III and his pucker-up Parliament minus only the silly wigs and costumes. But most of you think voting for your next king (or, as it may be, queen) is democracy in action. It’s really democracy on life support, and you’re pulling the plug. 

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