November 15, 2011

Taken For Granted

This morning began like any other morning. I woke up with the kids, made breakfast, packed my son's lunch, got ready, dropped him at school, and went for a run with my friend. It's when I came home that "something" happened. I put the baby down for a nap and sat down to eat my post-workout apple and yogurt. I turned on the news (I won't say which station) for a few minutes to see what is going on the world. When my husband is gone it's easy to become very disconnected from current events. Self preservation I suppose.

I was watching the reports of the New York City police evacuating Zuccotti Park of the "Occupy" protesters. Now, this post is not political, and I'm not going to go into a rant on what I believe, the message of the protesters, or any of that business. But as I was watching, a group of men and women were chanting,

"Show me a police state!"
"This is a police state!"
"Show me a police state!"
"This is a police state!"

I put down my food, having lost my appetite and had to turn off the tv. I got up and started pacing around my living room growing angrier and angrier. This kind of stuff gets me all worked up which is part of the reason I prefer to read my news. But it touches a special nerve especially when my husband is gone. My utter disgust has nothing to do with why these people are protesting, or their message, and everything to do with what I had just witnessed.

First of all, these people clearly have no idea of what a "police state" really is or what it entails. If this were a police state, lets face it, most of the protesters would be arrested or dead by this point. Look at Iran or North Korea for examples. Look at Germany under the Nazi regime. These are examples of a police state. No one is allowed to protest or rise up, and those who do are usually "arrested" or killed. These protesters chanting about a police state have no clear realization of the freedoms they are taking for granted. None.

Living here in Japan, I've experienced a small but definite culture shock. Not so much from the environment since Japan is a developed country and has most all of the modern conveniences we enjoy in the United States. The culture shock comes from local customs, language, and just how things are done, and run here. It's very clearly not my home. It's not my country. Once you've been here a few months, you really begin to notice and appreciate, love, and pine for your homeland. I, like the other Americans living here as guests of the Japanese, do not have the luxury of taking our freedoms for granted. I don't have the luxury of taking much for granted at all. For military families, we are in a constant state of training or readiness. We ALL wonder if tomorrow will the the day our husbands are called to fight. And when they go, we ALL wonder if tomorrow will the day he never comes home. I take nothing in my life for granted, because it can ALL change for me in the blink of an eye. My happiness, my family as I knew it is gone because we chose to fight for them.

So while my husband IS gone fighting or training to fight for these rights, watching people claim to have the desire to exercise their 1st amendment rights, yet have no desire to follow the laws and municipal codes of a city makes me angry. I have my issues with our country and how it's run, but for these people to have the audacity to disrespect the city that has hosted their protest, and the nation my family gives so much for. . . For them to take the 1st amendment and twist it. . . for them to essentially spit on the freedoms and rights they've had since birth, because a judge didn't give them their way, enrages me. Especially while I spend my nights alone, praying for my husband's safety. Especially while I shed tears of fear and loneliness. Especially while my children grow up with out their father. Especially while I live 3,000 miles from friends and family, and everything I have ever known. Especially while I support other wives like me.

I completely agree with the right to protest and peacefully assemble. If no one ever stood up for what they believe, then nothing would ever change. Nothing would ever get better. But to stand there screaming about a police state at the very same time they are engaging in a protest is ignorant. The rights of our country's citizens are maintained as long as they are not infringing upon the rights of others. Has anyone considered how the people who live around that park are being impacted by the "shanty town" that has been Zuccotti Park? What about their rights? It's taken for granted. All of it. And I'm tired of it. To live in the United States, to be a citizen of the country is a privilege. It's a privilege many people were born to and don't recognize. It's time they educate themselves and start acting like it.

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