In support of truth, justice and the American way

I don’t know the circumstances behind Bowe Bergdahl’s capture and imprisonment, and I don’t know what transpired over the course of those five years.

You know who else doesn’t know the circumstances behind Bowe Bergdahl’s capture and imprisonment?

Just about every other person on the planet.

There are, however, a few things I do know.

I know that anyone who pretends they know the truth is a lying sack of dirty diapers.

I also know that I am beyond livid when I hear or read anything other than “Good, we got him back.” I resent the implication that our military and our – yes our – president don’t have the sense they were born with when it comes to dealing with getting back an American serviceman using a method that has been in existence for as long as there has been warfare.

Honestly, I would rather Congress have a major case of butt-hurt than another dead American serviceman. Oh, and John McCain, I have a heaping bunch of scorn directed at you normally, and it just hit critical mass. This is one of those times I hope there is a real, literal hell, and you burn in it for all of eternity, plus a day. I hope you at least have the grace to be thankful that no one wanted to play politics with your freedom.

To those members of Congress using him to score cheap political points against the president and polish up their bona fides: Shame on you.

To bloggers and columnists who claim to have talked to a guy who served with his second cousin – so they, of course, know the truth – to run up page hits and comments: Shame on you.

To the talking heads and media people who are propagating lies and innuendo against his family: Shame on you.

To the mouth-breathing-knuckle-draggers who have threatened his life and the life of his family: Shame (and a pox) on you.No one knows.

Yet.

See, that’s because this is still America and we still have the rule of law and the presumption of innocence.

There will be an investigation by the appropriate military personnel. They will most likely interview Mr. Bergdahl and his family; they will also most likely interview his friends and his second-grade teacher. I’m quite certain they will interview those with whom he served.

See, that’s what we do. If someone is accused, we try to get to the facts. We have a system. We have rules and law and procedures. Moses on a moped, that’s the whole reason men and women like Berghdal are serving – to preserve our way of life and our way of doing things.

If you don’t believe in that, then you have no business wrapping yourself in the flag and declaring that you support the troops. Because one thing we don’t do: We don’t leave anyone behind, no matter what we may think of their character or their alleged behavior. We allow – no, we guarantee with American lives – that they get that right.

It may turn out that he is a deserter and sympathizer. If that is the case, he will be dealt with accordingly.

It may turn out that he was tormented and naive and disillusioned. If that is the case, he will be dealt with accordingly.

It may turn out that a satisfactory explanation is not forthcoming as people are nuanced and complex beings.

One thing will remain the same. Bowe Berghdal is an American and a soldier and should be dealt with accordingly, regardless of what has been alleged against him.

And shame on anyone who doesn’t understand that basic fact, because that is our way.

The American way.

I trust it.

Do you?

Originally published in the Old Colony Memorial on June 18, 2014 and on wickedlocal.com/plymouth on June 19, 2014

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Class of 2014

Congratulations on getting through the easiest part of your lives. ~ Random Internet meme

While parents like to tease kids about how easy they have it, what with no walking to school up hill both ways, in the snow, to a school lit only by the sheer will of the meanest teacher ever to grace planet Earth and kept warm by our burning fear, I know that being a teen these days is harder than I can even imagine.

Each generation believes that it bears the heaviest burden, has the meanest teachers and the most awful and clueless parents. Perhaps it needs to be that way in order for you, the youngsters, to move out and try to change the world. If that is the case, I guess being a villain is a small price to pay for you moving our world forward in your attempts to change it and mold it to your visions.

I applaud the graduating Class of 2014 and wish its members much success in the world – but not before adding my two cents and a couple of clichés, as well.

Go out and experiment.

Jump from the nest, no matter how comfortably feathered, and greet the world with the enthusiasm that only the young can muster.

Strive to change the world no matter how small a space you occupy in it.

Face difficult challenges and rise to the occasion.

Struggle with new ideas, and give some of the old ones a good honest assessment and see if they still ring true.

Do not be afraid to try and fail for there is courage and experience in the trying that isn’t always evident with success.

There is so much that can and will be experienced, and my sincerest wish for you all is that your experiences are only limited by time and not opportunity.

Some of you will go on to live large and extraordinary lives. The next great innovator is very likely among you as is a future president or a celebrated actor. The choices and challenges you face are limitless and I have no doubt that the Class of 2014 will leave its mark on the world in any number of ways both positive and not so positive.

But I don’t want to talk about the large lives lived in the spotlight.

I want to talk about the small lives, the ordinary lives.

For every great innovator and president and entertainer, for every life lived in the public spotlight, for every grand achievement, there will be countless more of you living quiet ordinary lives. Most of you will not make the evening news, heck, most will not even make the local news. But you – each of you – have the ability to live lives that make a difference.

You are the future youth league coaches and team moms. You are the future parents and stepparents. You are the future adults and you will make more of an immediate impact on the lives you touch.

I don’t envy you, though. Not really. You have been conditioned to accept an uncomfortable level of security in your lives. Cameras at school (Plymouth North High has 170), cameras in the roads, social media and 24/7 access have all contributed to an erosion of privacy.

Your pictures are plastered from one end of the Internet to the other by proud parents, grandparents and aunts/uncles. Your every achievement is feted, videotaped and played on a loop at significant events.

You hear yourselves disparaged as the scourge of the future. You hear yourself referred to as vapid and vain, called lazy and indolent, and indulged by us, the generation that is raising you.

I have said it before but it bears repeating, we created a connected world and blame you for living in it.

I know that high school is demanding and difficult, both academically and socially. I’m not sure my generation can fully comprehend the stresses of living in the connected 24/7 world we created or the duality we created for you by simultaneously demanding that you behave like adults while we treat you like children. We monitor your movements and snoop to an unprecedented degree.

In spite of all our admonishments and escalation of nonsense, I must say – I’m impressed.

I have been to several end-of-high-school functions and you know what I do not see? I do not see spoiled brats and kids that are soft from over-indulgence.

What do I see as I look into the faces of the Class of 2014? I see hope. I see achievement. I see your futures.

Every life has the potential to be extraordinary, but never discount the person living the ordinary life, as it is not the spotlight that makes a person special it is the shining light from within.

Tend your light, as it may well be a beacon for others.

Originally published in the Old Colony Memorial and on wickedlocal.com/plymouth, June 4, 2014 

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Them Bones

So I had this dream last night in which Felix bit me on the hand but not enough to draw blood but enough to put a deep tooth-sized hole in my hand at the base between my right index and middle fingers. You could see into the hole and see the bones of my hand. I spent the rest of the dream trying to get people to look at it and see if I needed stitches.

I learned several things during the course of my dream. First, I have no idea what hand bones should look like since mine looked suspiciously like plastic.

Second, I need better decision making skills as I spent too much time asking others to solve my problem.

Third, and most importantly, all my friends are jerks. So fuck all y’all. Haters.