AmeriCAN-DO Attitude

Are you an AmeriCAN or an AmeriCAN'T?

If Only I Had a Gump Heart

Forrest Gump is on AMC right now and it is the DVD enhanced version – or whatever it is called – where they show some tips and added info at the bottom of the screen about the movie, the actors, etc.

Towards the end, where Jenny comes back into Forrest’s life once again for about the 5th time or something, and they are spending time together at Forrest’s home after he has hit it big with his Bubba-Gump Shrimp Company, Forrest asks Jenny to marry her as she is going up the steps. It is the famous “I may not be a smart man, but I know what Love is” scene. In the added info portion, they state that Robin Wright was worried that her character of Jenny would come across as a “selfish bitch”. They state that Robert Zemeckis (the Producer I believe) told her that the audience would not see her that way, because Forrest does not see her that way. Forrest does not live in a society of labels as we do. And then they state that the message of the film was a good one like that.

And I’m sitting there thinking that is *exactly* how I saw Jenny in this movie (a selfish bitch), because all I could think about was a few of the women in my life whom I had grown so close to and decided to let myself go and love, only to have them use me over and over when they needed something and then drop me like I was nothing and leave me when they had gotten what they needed from me. I could put myself in Forrest’s position where he gave himself – his friendship and his love – to her and she only cared about him when she needed someone. But other than that, she would leave him at the drop of a hat whenever she felt like it, no matter how much it hurt him.

Actually, I don’t think she even bothered to think about his feelings. Because he really didn’t show any. So that allowed her to be selfish and get away with hurting him over and over again.

In my experience, women are pretty damn good at this. And good at whining their way back into your life after they hurt you – time and time again – by playing on your emotions and the feelings that they know you have for them. They take advantage of the fact that you are a nice guy and they can keep breaking your heart – over and over again – and you’ll still take them back.

Now, in the movie, the added info, they state that Forrest’s reaction to this is a great message to send to society. I don’t see how. Is the message to bury our pain, get over all the heartbreak women put us through, deal with how they take advantage of us and break our hearts over and over and over again and use us for their own selfish reasons… and just smile, take it, allow them back into our lives and love them unconditionally, even though, by the time this happens 5-6-7 times, our hearts have been broken and repaired 5-6-7 times and the emotional trauma has turned us cynical and angry?

Is that really the message?

That Forrest Gump must either be a complete unfeeling prick or he has some really amazing inner emotional strength to deal with Jenny’s betrayals – over and over and over again – and then take her back and still love her.

Maybe this is what people speak of when they talk about “unconditional love”, but I just don’t understand. I have had a few women in my life – real and just online – do this to me for years: Lie to me, leave me when I needed them, but then beg me to help them when they needed me, only to leave me again when things were back to good in their lives and they didn’t need me anymore. And, I’m sorry, but it hurts – really fucking hurts – inside to have that happen over and over again. I used to think that it was what I was supposed to do, how I was supposed to be: just love them and be there for them unconditionally.

But I just don’t know how people go on being strong and having a strong heart when one continually gives out love to others, but others not only don’t fully reciprocate the love, but end up breaking your heart, leaving you to pick up the pieces and mend it back together again. After a while, there are certain scars that just do not heal and certain pieces that can’t be put back in place and it ends up that love drips out of your heart and is lost, leaving an empty space needed replenishing… only the ones who need to replenish it have gone on their selfish way, until they need to come back to use your love again.

And then these people are surprised when they have come back recently only to find I have no love left to give them.

Forrest Gump may not have had the best intelligence, but he apparently had an amazingly strong heart. Either that or he was as good at repairing his heart as he was at taking apart his rifle and putting it back together in Boot.

March 9, 2008 , 9:36PM Posted by | Life, Relationships, Romance | Comments Off on If Only I Had a Gump Heart

Army Spc. Monica Lin Brown – 2nd Female Soldier Since WWII to Receive Silver Star

Woman Earns Silver Star in Afghan War

CAMP SALERNO, Afghanistan – A 19-year-old medic from Texas will become the first woman in Afghanistan and only the second female soldier since World War II to receive the Silver Star, the nation’s third-highest medal for valor.

Army Spc. Monica Lin Brown saved the lives of fellow soldiers after a roadside bomb tore through a convoy of Humvees in the eastern Paktia province in April 2007, the military said.

After the explosion, which wounded five soldiers in her unit, Brown ran through insurgent gunfire and used her body to shield wounded comrades as mortars fell less than 100 yards away, the military said.

“I did not really think about anything except for getting the guys to a safer location and getting them taken care of and getting them out of there,” Brown told The Associated Press on Saturday at a U.S. base in the eastern province of Khost.

Brown, of Lake Jackson, Texas, is scheduled to receive the Silver Star later this month. She was part of a four-vehicle convoy patrolling near Jani Kheil in the eastern province of Paktia on April 25, 2007, when a bomb struck one of the Humvees.

“We stopped the convoy. I opened up my door and grabbed my aid bag,” Brown said.

She started running toward the burning vehicle as insurgents opened fire. All five wounded soldiers had scrambled out.

“I assessed the patients to see how bad they were. We tried to move them to a safer location because we were still receiving incoming fire,” Brown said.

Pentagon policy prohibits women from serving in front-line combat roles — in the infantry, armor or artillery, for example. But the nature of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, with no real front lines, has seen women soldiers take part in close-quarters combat more than previous conflicts.

Four Army nurses in World War II were the first women to receive the Silver Star, though three nurses serving in World War I were awarded the medal posthumously last year, according to the Army’s Web site.

Brown, of the 4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, said ammunition going off inside the burning Humvee was sending shrapnel in all directions. She said they were sitting in a dangerous spot.

“So we dragged them for 100 or 200 meters, got them away from the Humvee a little bit,” she said. “I was in a kind of a robot-mode, did not think about much but getting the guys taken care of.”

For Brown, who knew all five wounded soldiers, it became a race to get them all to a safer location. Eventually, they moved the wounded some 500 yards away and treated them on site before putting them on a helicopter for evacuation.

“I did not really have time to be scared,” Brown said. “Running back to the vehicle, I was nervous (since) I did not know how badly the guys were injured. That was scary.”

The military said Brown’s “bravery, unselfish actions and medical aid rendered under fire saved the lives of her comrades and represents the finest traditions of heroism in combat.”

Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester, of Nashville, Tenn., received the Silver Star in 2005 for gallantry during an insurgent ambush on a convoy in Iraq. Two men from her unit, the 617th Military Police Company of Richmond, Ky., also received the Silver Star for their roles in the same action.

For more on Sgt Leigh Ann Hester, whom has been covered extensively on MILBLOGS, go here: Blackfive: Sgt Leigh Ann Hester

March 9, 2008 , 1:33PM Posted by | Operation Enduring Freedom, SGT Leigh Ann Hester, Silver Star, SPC Monica Lin Brown, The Long War, US Army | Comments Off on Army Spc. Monica Lin Brown – 2nd Female Soldier Since WWII to Receive Silver Star

Patriotic Individualism?

Clay posted an excellent piece by his friend Kelly entitled “The Sacred Individual”.

An exerpt:

With that being said, we are, and always will be individuals FIRST… whether we like it or not. Because we are individuals first, I would argue that Individualism is the paramount value when dealing in politics; and I posit that Capitalism is the only political philosophy that fosters it. It is in this paradigm that we can each hold our own beliefs about morality and god, without the need to conform. (Before someone loses their mind with that statement, I’m not advocating that there be no law and order. I’m saying, however, that we take a minimalist approach to it. The limitations of law are only instituted to protect the individual rights from being infringed upon by someone else’s exercise of their own rights. We have the inalienable right to “persue happiness” but not at the expense of someone else’s life or possessions.)

Capitalism provides the individual with the opportunity to be as successful as he sees fit. It also allows us to view our jobs as either integral to our identities or simply as a means to an end without making a moral judgement either way on either approach. It is reward based, no matter how you slice it. The individual never has to think, “This is all I will ever be.” The individual can change their trajectory at any time. Captialism doesn’t make any guaranties with regards to the EASE of any such endeavor and it will weed out those who have not brought sufficient competitiveness; but the onus is on the individual to muster up whatever fortitude is required to achieve that success. This is where socialist find flaw with Capitalism: what about the guy who doesn’t have that fortitude? Well, no matter what philosophy you institute, you cannot rid society of the meek. Socialism simply brings them into the fold and relies of the fortitudes of others to compensate. Capitalism is forward motion driven by the force of the competitive and fueled by those who don’t share that drive: both are essential for progress. But anyone can drive if they can prove they are able. It’s all spaghetti. It’s just a matter of how we choose to organize it on our plates.

Socialism, even in the word itself, places society or the collective as the top priority, so the paramount value is “the greater good”. This is nebulous in and of itself which makes it a dangerous philosophy (and if anyone saw the movie “Hot Fuzz” you can see a satirical demonstration of why LOL). Where this also falls short is that there is only ONE right way: the greater good. You can do whatever you want as long as it doesn’t rock the boat of the greater good. Sounds awesome until you find out you can’t have fries because that will raise your cholesterol and may result in a heart attack which will put an undue strain on society’s economy and workforce. Hyperbole? Not if you consider what’s entailed in that statement Einstein made.

[NOTE: Her example of not being able to eat fries is not hyperbole at all, considering that Britain’s National Health Service was considering denying healthcare to people who were elderly and/or obese.]

Socialism assumes that individuals are inherently corrupt, weak, and incapable of attaining anything of significant meaning on their own. It assumes that like cells of the body, each person was put on this earth simply to further the cause and progress of the body collective.

Okay. That’s the core difference. Then there are the reasons why and the illustrative talking points we typically roll out from there. But the epiphany isn’t that. It’s how do we find unity without subjugating ourselves to the evil collective.

Here is my contribution to the comments section at Clay’s blog:

Absolutely excellent.

However, again, only one small quibble…

The label thing: “Individual Patriots”

I thought she did an excellent job focusing on the ideology in which she believes throughout the entire piece. But, I guess, then decided that she needed some sort of label for people who believe in this ideology.

My focus is still on calling ourselves all Americans, who believe “X, Y & Z”. In this case, she believes in everything she explained so eloquently in this post.

The reason I don’t like the labels, is because they serve to do nothing, but divide us. When we call ourselves “conservatives” or “liberals” or whatever, what we are really doing is saying “I am a Conservative-American”. I don’t think many people here like the whole “Mexican-American”, “African-American”, etc, labeling that multiculturalism has thrust upon our society. I know I don’t. Because it serves nothing except to divide us.

The same thing goes here. I thought this was an absolutely excellent piece, but then we had to go and get stuck on the labeling thing again. Why can’t we just all be Americans who subscribe to a certain ideology?

Conservatism, for example, is a specific ideology. But a “conservative” can be any number of different things. I believe she even addressed that in her article or in one of the comments I read. Where she stated that there are people who are fiscal conservatives, but not social conservatives. Social conservatives, but not fiscal conservatives, etc. People get hung up on the labels and aren’t focusing on the ideology. Someone could believe in fiscal conservatism and “conservative” foreign policy in fighting The Long War (on terror), yet some would label this person a “liberal” simply because they are not socially conservative (support abortion, support homosexual ‘marriage’, etc).

Instead of the label, it seems that she wants this ideology to be “Individual Patriotism” or “Patriotic Individualism”. The latter description of the ideology is probably the better one.

But despite that little quibble (which I actually think may be a big quibble, since it relates to how we are dividing this country with labels, much like the “African-American” and “Mexican-American” labels do so), I think this is an excellent piece and we need more of this type of discussion of focusing on ideology, and explaining that ideology and how it affects society, and less on labeling one another.

Posted by Michael in MI on March 9, 2008 – Sunday at 12:31 PM

March 9, 2008 , 1:04PM Posted by | Patriotism | Comments Off on Patriotic Individualism?