Soldiers and Crackpots

Last week, as I boarded my plane from Chicago to San Diego, when the pre-boarding announcement was made for anyone needing a little more time or assistance, they invited, as always, military to board at their leisure any time. A few soldiers out of uniform stepped forward. One of them wore shorts and a T-shirt, a daypack on this back, and worked his way forward through the crowd on two canes. As he entered the gate, I noticed that he had two metal legs, all the way up past his knees. He was able to walk upright independently and proudly.

Shortly after that, as I was standing in line, I noticed another young man in the crowd that wore a white T-shirt with this message in big black letters on the back:

Those members of the armed forces obeying the orders of Obama are traitors of the United States and our constitution.

He also had a big white on black sign on his carry-on bag:

9/11 was an inside job

There were two young men on that plane that night that made statements. One didn’t speak a word and simply got on a plane, just like all of us did. The other screamed loudly and boldly with slogans. I wonder who was noticed with more respect?

And mostly I wonder how the soldier felt about the crackpot.

2 thoughts on “Soldiers and Crackpots

  1. I hope the soldier MOSTLY was proud that he (in part) was defending a system where such a crackpot could wave his crazy and still board a plane.
    I must admit, I feel for the soldier. But I hope he was proud to be able to say that in HIM at least, duty trumped self serving or well marketed BS.
    I have nothing but the utmost respect for those who serve in the armed forces. It is their job to do what they are asked to do. And they do it with the most amazing dedication and competence.
    What we never seem to look at is … why are we asking what we do of them?
    On the other hand, the “crackpot” though I pretty much disagree with him on many levels, and might argue that e could find a more productive way to air his views … is ALSO a critical part of our “free society”.

  2. Eric Petrie

    Well, this post deserves a response.

    On the one hand, the second guy with the t-shirt is obviously an idiot with a right to vote. We go out of our way to allow idiots like him to speak his mind in public, and even to influence elections. But that does not make him any less of an idiot. He ought to spend some time actually learning about the Constitution.

    The soldier is an example of amazing but dangerous virtue. I would honor him publicly every opportunity I could. He risked himself, and suffered for a political order that is among the best in the world, and that protects many things that are precious and more than that.

    Here are two problems: the idiot, if he had more courage and ambition, might blow his legs off trying to destroy America. And the soldier, if he were blindly patriotic, rather than someone (as I am sure that he is) who knows why he risked his life, might do the same thing as the idiot, if he were born in a place that was an enemy of our country.

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