The Judge

I usually spend weeks drafting a blog post in my head, before it ever makes the blog.  That means rarely my posts make it to “publication” because I usually end up so bogged down by my own thoughts, I don’t ever sit down to write about a topic.  As it is, when watching the news these days, I feel like this post is a little late.  
That said, this blog isn’t fully drafted – I haven’t had the ability to fully revise it in my head prior to writing it.  In school, there are english/writing exercises where you just write whatever comes to mind, in a certain amount of time, regardless of content and material.  Essentially, that is what I am doing with this post – writing what comes to mind as I type.  
Weeks ago, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (known anecdotally among national and international press, government agencies and officials, etc. as ISIS) began a systematic invasion of Iraq.  From my non-educated understanding (I didn’t study more than a few classes of international politics), they are targeting people who worked with American forces in Iraq during our time in the country – and, I’m sure they are killing more than those who worked with American forces.    
My heart is heavy.  I have a relative who spent a significant amount of time with a man I shall call “The Judge”.  The Judge was a person who was working to give democracy a chance in a country that had never experienced democracy.  He would be a target for the ISIS group – he would be someone that they would publicly execute, to make an example.  
This is not a political post – I refuse to get into politics in this specific post.  My heart grieves for this man, his family, and those that knew him – that helped him to make his country a more equal, tolerant place.  The Judge came and visited our country, and was astounded at what opportunities there were to see, do, and experience.  He enjoyed horseback riding, wearing a cowboy hat and boots (his first ever), and was amazed at the beauty of our nation’s capital in a driving tour of DC after dark.  He was a simple man, who loved his country more than his own life, and was willing to sacrifice his life to make his country the better country in which he (and others) envisioned.  We don’t know if he is alive right now, and I don’t know if we will ever know his fate.  I do know a high profile judge was executed this last week – for all I know, it could have been The Judge.  But, my heart grieves, regardless of whether or not it was that judge.
You see, so many of our veterans who have returned from Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) have worked with so many of the Iraqi people (civilian and military alike) to help the people of Iraq.  When they see the news, they don’t see military missions, they don’t see politics – they see the faces of the people they knew.  Personally.  I imagine that with all the recent news stories and developments occurring in Iraq, with ISIS, that many veterans who may have been handling their post-war readjustment issues (of which it is completely normal to have post-war readjustment issues), or their post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for those who have it, may be seeing a recurrence of those issues.  And, that is going to be difficult for them, difficult for their families, difficult for their peers, and difficult for the mental health professionals that may be helping the veterans/soldiers readjust to our American society.  
We also have the stories of the children being sent over the border, in an attempt to get them citizenship.  These children, many of whom are toddlers and young children, are being brought/sent over here, some of them sans family, so that they can have the chance at a better life.  As Soldier Boy has pointed out to me numerous times, even the poorest of the poor in America, have no ability to fathom the poverty-stricken conditions found in other countries – especially, 3rd world countries.  
We are not having to fight, as a collective people, to secure our nation’s freedom and to get an emerging democratic (or republic) system off the ground – that was done by our forefathers.  We are not having to grapple with the difficult choice of sending our families (let alone our toddlers) away, to a foreign country, to give them the absolute best start to their lives, or to give them a chance at having a life that allows them to worry less about their mere survival from starvation from day to day.  
Yes, we are a nation evolving, and ever changing.  We have our turmoil and our ups and downs.  We have our issues and bickering.  But, we also have what other people want, either for themselves, their families, or for their country.      
I think it is time that we, as a people, begin to recognize what we have in our country.  And, it is time to be thankful. 


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