Enlisted in the Marines during a war I didn’t support and a President I didn’t agree with. I’m Un-American!

I made a mistake the other day, I decided to go surf youtube videos. Being a country music listener, I’ve heard all the various ways that one can be Un-American, but finally the whole

If you don’t support our troops you’re Un-American

which gets translated to

If you don’t support the war, you’re Un-American

But it goes farther than that, I remember in high school I was a member of my schools JROTC unit, and one of the signs we had in the room said

To those who’ve fought for it, freedom has a taste the protected will never know

And underneath it, of course there were 4 marines in combat gear. We’ve come to celebrate and idolize the military in our country and disagreeing with that statement gets you labeled Un-American. So instead, lets look what freedom for others who fight for freedom look like.

She graduated law school, full of hopes and dreams and ready to change the world. She’s heavily in debt from student loans, and driving a used car that she’s had forever but it gets her around. She’s used to being demonized for being a lawyer, but she’s a public defender. She knows that she has a job to make sure that those hired to enforce the law, don’t violate it.

He graduated college knowing he’d never make money, since he went into public education. All he wants each year is to teach one or two more students to question the things they read and hear on a daily basis. He knows not everyone will get it but maybe some will.

They went down to the ballot box with fear in their eyes, they knew they weren’t supposed to be registered at all much less vote, but they came anyway. They came to challenge a system and a way of life that for too long had sought to keep them down.

We all have stories, these 3 are loosely based on truth, but these are just 2 of the other bastions that uphold our democracy.

Teachers, lawyers, voters, diplomats, congressmen, activists, protesters. These are the type of people who are the protectors of freedom, not just the military.

Standing up and saying that immigrants have rights, whether they’re legal or illegal is protecting freedom.

Standing up and saying that there has been enough violence with guns, maybe it’s time to revise our gun policies is protecting our freedom.

Challenging politicians on what they say, that’s protecting freedom.

The judge who tells their governor, no you CAN’T publish that law yet, that’s someone protecting freedom.

Going to the ballot box and casting your vote in an election, that’s protecting freedom.

The list can go on forever, but in general we need to cut out the narrative that the military is the only protector of freedom that we have. We don’t need to preface everything we say with, “I Support our troops” or “Remember our troops.” If we want to remember them, then we need to think wisely about when we use them and we need to protect our freedoms back at home. Finally, if you always know that every speech will involve one of those phrases, does it not cheapen the phrase itself?