Saturday, November 10, 2007

My Disappointment

As a university student, I tend to measure time in relation to a college schedule. With that being said, this current semester has to rank favorably in terms of satisfaction with all past periods of my life. That is not to say, however, that the price of enjoyment hasn’t come at the cost of certain sacrifices. One of the most disappointing pastimes to have been sacrificed from my life this past semester has been the upkeep of Educated Soldier.

And what’s worse: one of the most compelling, memorable moments of this semester was a product of this simple little website. You see, some time during the summer Educated Soldier caught the eyes of officials at the Vets for Freedom (VFF) organization. Recognizing the mutual aspirations of this website and VFF, these officials invited me to Washington D.C. in September. The purpose was to lobby members of Congress to encourage them to continue their support of the missions of our troops abroad; missions that I and others genuinely believe are growing more and more successful as time progresses. While being asked to actively participate in real-time democracy was a joy in and of itself, the byproduct of the occasion was the true thriller. Having been informed that VFF was in the nation’s capital, President Bush organized an amazing event for us; breakfast on the South Lawn of the White House.

During the meal, I had the privilege of meeting several dignified, high-level executives. These individuals included the Secretary of State, the Director of National Intelligence, the Vice President, President, and several others. The First Lady was on-hand and we were treated to a tour of the White House. The event was amazing and quite an honor. As a participant in VFF, I followed the meal with the planned lobbying campaign. This was an effort that I deemed successful. I met with local congress members from my home state, Florida, as well as the staffs from members from North Dakota; the state where I was raised. The day culminated with an outdoor Capitol Hill press conference. While the “pink shirts” were there to heckle proud American soldiers (of which I was one), their efforts were quickly negated as several members of Congress- Democrat, Republican, Independent alike – arrived to voice their support for our efforts. Again, this was an absolutely amazing occasion and quite possibly one of the most rewarding events that I have been a part of. I want to thank the Vets for Freedom organization for my invitation and, at the same time, direct you to their own recap of the event (located HERE).

Before I step away from the events associated with the Vets for Freedom event, I want to state, in simple terms, my new-found respect for two courageous members of Congress who made a personal impact on me with their contributions to both the VFF event and the service on behalf of America as a whole: Democratic Party congress members from Washington state Brian Baird and from Georgia, Jim Marshall. I am sure that at some future posting, I will digress about how these two individuals so effectively impacted my experience in D.C. but, for now, I will end by simply stating my admiration for their individual expressions of courage.

Now, cycling back to the topic at hand: My disappointment. Leaving the events in D.C., I had every reason to maintain adherence to routine upkeep of this blog. I was an active member of a national organization making a difference (VFF) and I had networked in ways that I had never done before. If there was ever a time that Educated Soldier could be utilitarian for its author, this moment was it. However, at precisely that exact same time, I became completely negligent in maintaining any sort of scheduled updates here. And, while there are plenty of adequate reasons to justify my absence from Educated Soldier, that absence is, nonetheless, a disappointment to me. With that disappointment in mind, I will make every effort to be more active in this endeavor.

Speaking of excuses, however, I feel that I can make quite the case to justify my negligence: since that event in D.C. I have:

• Began a new semester at school where I am not only a member of our Honors College but also now a double major candidate, adding religious studies to my previous international studies endeavors

• Moved into a new apartment with three of my best friends

• Invested financially and passionately into a new puppy to inhabit said apartment with us

• Been a fervent follower of USF Bulls football

• Been physically training tirelessly for my opportunity to successfully complete the Army’s Special Forces Assessment and Selection as I am now a member of the 3rd BN, 20th Special Forces Group of the Florida National Guard, working hard to become S.F-qualified

• Continued to struggle with the following decision: whether or not to transfer, in the Spring, to American University- which finally accepted my admissions request (and is in the city that I love, and offers an international service program that is one of the best in the U.S.) or to remain at U.S.F. (which really is only enduring as a viable and preferred choice because I absolutely love my circle of friends

So my negligence at Educated Soldier hasn’t been without reason. However, those reasons don’t do much to tame the disappointment that I feel now. The frustration grows when I consider the plenitude of valuable items I would love to discuss via this venue. For example, I watched the most recent G.O.P. debate and Senator Fred Thompson’s participation on Meet the Press. Both left me impressed by the Senator from Tennessee’s performances as well as encouraged much to discuss. But, then again, why discuss that when I can discuss my recent involvement with the National Guard and my attempt to earn the right to participate on an Operational Detachment-Alpha? Or, again, why not discuss the interesting classes that I am currently enrolled: one that includes a professor from Africa hell-bent on ingraining in his students the inherent evil of capitalism, especially free-market capitalism? So, since each of these topics (and surely many more) deserve their own dedicated thoughts, I have decided to elaborate on none of these issues. Instead, I will simply apologize for my lack of dedicated effort here and promise to be more diligent in the future.

But, then again, tonight is the rare night that all my roommates (and most of my fraternity brothers) are off at an event that I chose not to participate, so, with the puppy and AmberBock as my only companions, I may end up returning to Educated Soldier before the night ends.