The folks on TV were focused on what all was wrong with our country, and I was a big part of it.

Originally published on LinkedIn — August 15, 2018

I remember getting off the plane. I don’t really know what I was thinking or expecting. I had been out of the country for 13 months, and do remember feeling torn. A part of me wanted to get on the next plane for the last leg of my journey, which would take me home. Another part wanted to get on a plane and go back where I had been.

As I walked through the airport I was ignored. It didn’t really matter to me. In fact, I felt a mite relieved. I had heard stories of some who were less fortunate, but I really didn’t get it down deep in my gut at this time. I soon would. I walked into a bar, and was hoping that, being in uniform, I could buy a beer without being carded. I was only twenty years old. Then I noticed what was on TV. Hordes of angry young people were screaming in the streets chanting, “Hell no, we won’t go.” Someone got up to address the crowd and launched into a tirade about the atrocities of the American military in that far off land I had only left two days before. An American flag was burned, and to my further amazement a flag I had been told was the ensign of the “bad guys” was being waved about.

I looked around the bar. I was ignored. I forgot about the beer, and walked back outside. It seemed that the United States was a different world than the one I had left. The folks on TV were focused on what all was wrong with our country, and I was a big part of it. Through the years not much has changed.

When I turn on the news these days it seems that I am still the quintessential representative of everything that is wrong with our country. The list of names being thrown about to describe me range from being a Nazi, a racist, to a man that hates women and children. My heart is dark, sinister, and filled with hate. I’m “deplorable,” and look, I have a rifle! I represent the “stupidity” of the American people, and you can smell me all over Wal-Mart.

I am also a man possessed with any number of “phobias.” I’m a thisophobe, a thatophobe, and a theotherophobe. I could go on.

While rocking on the porch of my cabin at Round Mountain last weekend, I thought of some phobias that I don’t hear much about from the people who never tire of shooting me the bird. You won’t find them in a dictionary, since I just made them up. Since I coined the words, I get the right to define them. None describe me.

Here are four new phobias:

Libertasophobe: These are people who fear, and/or despise freedom and liberty. They live in freedom and liberty, and use it’s opportunities to oppose it. I am a man who wants to live my own life, and take responsibility for myself. This is the essence of freedom. I ask for nothing, and expect nothing, but the right to “take my own chances, and pay my own dues.” I make my own way, accept the consequences of my own decisions, and fight my own demons alone.

Opusophobe: These are people who fear, and/or despise work. It seems that the folks out to change the world, save the planet, and turn our country upside down have little interest in finding a meaningful way of being of service to their fellow man; this is the definition of work. They are content to let others provide for them, thinking those who do work owe them something. I don’t owe them anything, and am definitely not in their number. Helping someone is not giving them something. It is teaching them up to help themselves.

Cogitareophobe: These are people who fear, and/or despise thinking their own thoughts. They actually promote an environment where “group think” is the norm, and despise those who disagree with them. They seem incapable of having one thought that is not permitted by their masters, who have stuffed them all into a tiny box, or what will happen to them should they choose to think their own thoughts. They never seem to realize that with the passing of time they just might see some things differently. Nothing is more sacred that our right to do our own thinking, have our own opinions about things, and the right to speak our minds. I have resisted indoctrination since I was a boy. I once told a preacher, who had become quite upset with me because I was straying from “the truth,” that if I went to hell over a doctrinal error in scripture, it would be my error and not his.

Auctoritatisophone: These are people who fear, and/or despise authority. The irony here is they lash out at those who have rightful authority to maintain order, and civility in society, while seeking, at the same time, an all powerful governmental system that will exercise absolute authority over them, and tolerate no decent. If history teaches one lesson, it is that when a government becomes all powerful, scoundrels, and tyrants take charge. It never works out well for the people.

Such were my musing as I snorted a bit of Jack, and gave belly rubs to the critters who came by to visit me on the porch. The critters like me.