Friday, June 7, 2013

A Soldier For Your Thoughts

I’m not “into” politics. 

What I mean by this is that I am not properly or formally educated on the subject. I read the news everyday and I have an idea about what is going on, but recently I have been so disgusted and discouraged by the Government of Canada that I haven’t even let myself think about it too much. I tend to avoid spending my time thinking about things that feel unresolvable.

I am not an expert, but I have some things to say. 

Our government hasn’t been seen in a very good light in the past few years. But maybe that has something to do with us, the people of Canada. As a whole, society and media tend to pick things apart until there is nothing less. Like a vulture on road kill. Maybe it is due to the increased exposure from numerous social media outlets? Who knows…maybe NOW we are just more informed? Or maybe the Prime Minister is doing a terrible job running our country? You can decide for yourself.

What I believe is that if our government was doing something positive for the people of Canada then it wouldn’t take us long to sing its praises. But I don't hear any signing. The fact of the matter is that not everyone can have everything that they want. The key is balance.  Healthcare shouldn’t take the backseat to Big Industry. Education shouldn’t take a back seat to ANYTHING, and Environmental should be even higher up on the list!

But above Healthcare, Education and Environment there should sit a role model who ensures that the people of this country are treated with dignity and respect.

Do we even have that? 

If we do, why in the hell did I have to watch a story about a struggling Canadian hero, Cpl. Glen Kirkland on CTV National News last night?

Why is a Canadian soldier (who has been rightfully named a hero by our government) standing in front of a committee, taking an oath, and crying out in desperation because of the mistreatment he has received from our government, his employer?

During this time, he spoke for the rights that he earned serving as a soldier in Afghanistan. He fought honorably for his country (No wait, he fought for another country, because he was told to; but that’s a whole other story) and he lost everything in a Taliban ambush. His father said to him, when he was in an Afghan hospital recovering from injuries, “Don’t worry, Canada will take care of you He said that his father was wrong. 

Canada did nothing. I am sure that if it were up to you and I, we would thank him for his service in the Canadian military and give him a hefty spending account for the rest of his life. We would certainly give him more than a medal on his chest. We would give him the healthcare that he desperately needs to stay alive.We would help him get all the psychological and emotional support that he needs. We would probably give him a hug too.

And actually, we probably wouldn’t have ever sent him over there to fight in the first place, if it were REALLY up to you and I. 

So why isn't it up to us? Don’t Canadians run their own country? Is this not a democratic nation? Don’t we live in a land that is glorious and free? Is allowing this mistreatment to happen to this man demonstrating us standing on guard for thee? We aren’t guarding Cpl. Glen Kirkland. We aren’t guarding anyone. If not YOU, then who will? Let me tell you who will.

Cpl. Glen Kirkland, himself.

This fourth-generation soldier stood (because when he sat too long “his back was killing him”) in front of that committee who is studying the care of injured soldiers, and shared his story of struggle. He also shared his pain, his feelings of abandonment, and of course his fears. Every day he lives with anxiety of crowds, major hearing loss, (from the rocket that missed him by only a few inches) vision loss,  PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), and Survivors Guilt, because he was one of two men that survived that Taliban ambush. Three of his friends, comrades and fellow Canadians died.

He spoke to this committee, despite thinking that he would be reprimanded by his superiors with a dishonorable discharge and a life of uncertainty in regards to his future healthcare and pension he earned serving in Afghanistan. He was disobeying an order that demanded he stay quiet or face the consequences. He was supposed to keep his mouth shut about the bad things that they are doing to our heroes. He said that it is important to expose the hurts that some veterans face. 

He didn't speak out for just himself, but for all other veterans. Whether or not he knows it or not, he actually stood up there for all Canadians. He risked it all to stand up for proper treatment of serving Canadians. Canadians who were brave enough, loyal enough, and strong enough to do the job set out for them by their employer, the Government of Canada. He was standing there risking it all for what he believes is wrong. 

In turn, being a role model for all of us. 

What do you need to stand up for?
Are you brave enough, loyal enough, strong enough?
What do you think is wrong?
What could you do to be a role model for someone else?
Are you proud of what you are doing now?

Take a note from Cpl. Glen Kirkland. 

A true role model for all Canadians.  

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