March 3rd, 2014 -- Dear Bart,
Two weeks ago during the “Bad News Over Happy Music Segment,” we aired a story about a former member of the Army Reserves who, amongst other things at the age of 46, following a divorce, had moved back in with his parents. While airing the tale, I commented on the fact that in my world, any man (or woman), for any reason, under any circumstance, who is living with his parents at the age of 46 isn’t one to be respected. This is hardly a new theme of mine, as it has been shouted, explained, reasoned and defended ad nauseam. Throw me any scenario, any sob story, any heart-wrenching tale you wish, and my answer will always be the same; winners never, ever run home to mommy and daddy. There is more dignity in a urine soaked basement floor of a local shelter than in relying on the safety net of parents that today’s culture not only tolerates, but encourages. Independence and self-reliance are all but dead in this nation, and that’s a travesty.
At the time of my latest condemnation of grown adults living with their parents, it was implied that while many understood and shared my view of the need for people to make it on their own, that we should somehow give this particular, unique individual "a pass,” because he had served in the military.
As a staunch, loud, and lifelong supporter of all people and professions ranging from first responders to the highest level of our military, there are few assertions that infuriate me more.
I have met and known hundreds of men and women who wear uniforms of all types of sacrifice to our country, our neighborhoods and everything in between. And while it is romantic for us all to apply a blanket of nobility, purity, and greatness to each of them, it is not only completely and wholly false, it is something few of them want and fewer would ever accept.
For the record and without hesitation I state the following: It takes a person of unbridled fortitude, courage, and conviction to raise their hand and volunteer for the job of running towards danger in the name of defending and/or helping total strangers. Once confronted with those horrendous moments of life that most of us will hopefully never live to see or endure, the true character of the bravest and calmest amongst them comes shining through and countless lives are saved, tragedies prevented, and battles won. From cops to firefighters, Seals to Rangers and every responder and soldier in between, America’s unique forms of heroism and selflessness remain one of our few and final shining stars we can point to as something that truly makes us an exceptional nation.
But let’s not kid ourselves, shall we? Let us not rewrite facts to make ourselves feel better about the truth. Let us not, in our need for a nostalgic reality that never existed, claim that just because a person wears a uniform, they are therefore infallible. Moreover, let us never, ever claim that such a person deserves elite status amongst us for it is against that insidious mindset that is at the core of the very basis for which they each serve. Or at least it should be.
I make no apologies for harshly judging a variety of behaviors which to me are so clearly reprehensible that they make me ill. I’ve heard all of the stories, excuses, and attempts at explaining away the pathetic, cowardly, and putrid motivations for why grown men and women are moving back in with, and in some cases, settling down for the haul with, their grown parents. The overwhelming majority of them do it not for health reasons (their own or their parents), nor do most do it for even a short amount of time, although I would wretch in the face of even those examples. This trend, nay, epidemic, in our culture is done through laziness, sloth, a total lack of ambition, and the redefining of what independence in America means.
Whether you’ve worn a uniform of service in your life or not, the judgment of that behavior remains the same; you’re a loser.
Pick whatever behavior you find to be amongst your worst violations and apply the same test; for example…were a man to be introduced to you as a pedophile, a racist who acted on his beliefs, or a serial adulterer, what would your reaction be? And would that reaction suddenly soften if you were told he was a former member of the Armed Forces? Good God, I hope not. Whether it be rape, rudeness, laziness, corruption, abuse, or any other vile choice someone makes, no person amongst us should get special quarter and additional leeway solely because they performed a job deemed by anyone to be “more important,” than another.
And yet, shortly after that segment aired, the show received the following email from something named Bart:
Let's bash on all 46 year old former service members that have to move back in with their folks after a divorce. WTF? Are either of you married Rob or Arnie? A self righteous omnipotent narcissist and a slob like Arnie that couldn't even succeed at his own demise are certainly the pillars of "shinning examples" for us all to follow. I realize that you try to keep your offensive amoral show on the air with the rule of 3 C's: (Controversy-Creates-Cash), but do you ever have any compassion for the trials an tribulations of others, like Dawn at least appears to have? From promoting porn ....to bashing on military service members.... is there anything that isn't just plain OFF LIMITS for you two self righteous "shining male" examples?
I'm sure you don't have the balls to air or reply to this email appropriately, but feel free to rip it apart instead of giving a proper shout out and messages of good will to ALL military service members that make airing your offensive voices possible.
Always support the men and women of the military, even if you don't support the mission.
Just another decorated Yankee looser from a family tree that has shed many bloody leaves, and spilled them for this great country as far back as the civil war.
Thank you for proving my point. Often times, people expose themselves using their own words, as you have done exquisitely with this putrid letter. You did not fight for this country, you fought for your own self-aggrandizement and now demand that all of us bow before you and give you full quarter when you want to violate rules ranging from right to wrong, moral and immoral, lazy and ambitious. You are the worst kind of volunteer; the kind who signs up for a job and then demands that no one knows the suffering they’ve seen, and therefore should be allowed to bitch, whine, moan and meander through life at their own pace while constantly being told “thank you so much for all you have given.”
I have neither the time nor the inclination to defend my existence and societal contribution to the likes of you, for despite what you think, you haven’t earned it, just like you haven’t earned my respect. For the record, I’m not married, but was once and as many before me have reported, divorce is one of the most emotionally, mentally and physically draining events in anyone’s lifetime…yet never did I run and ask for help, from anyone, let alone my parents.
Putting on a uniform makes you no more of a man than being able to get a woman pregnant. The measure of those men comes in whether or not they actually parent their child, or in your case, whether or not they act with valor, courage, distinction and honor both on and off the battlefield. I clearly can’t speak to the former, but you are a failure at the latter.
For me, the good news rests in the dozens of Wounded Warriors whose hands I’ve held and voices I’ve heard over the last many years and who have never ceased to inspire me; not one of whom would approve of your attitude. For me, my countless friends who serve as cops, firefighters, paramedics and other shining examples of civil service remind me that you are the very small minority; you are amongst a small, pitiful group of those who have served who will use it as either a badge of honor or a crutch for sympathy and excuses, depending on which situation will best serve you. How dare you, Bart. How dare you shame, blemish, and tarnish the legacy of the seemingly last true, courageous, noble Americans amongst us by betraying everything they stand for.
And for the record, since your measure of what makes a person’s worth is as sad and pointless as an adolescent obsessed with his genital size, thanks for your family’s service. Too bad you and your ancestors couldn’t put in the full tour of duty as mine did. On both sides of my family, I come from a family tree that has shed many bloody leaves myself, and spilled them for this great country, including a paternal grandfather who was in a little place called Europe during World War II for 4 years of my own father’s young life. The only difference is that my family’s documented sacrifice goes far beyond the Civil War to the beginnings of this great nation, way back when my great-great-great-great-great grandfather personally assisted George Washington as one of his key spies, a duty at the time which took more valor and courage than you’ll apparently ever know. I’m glad my family could assist in a very small way in creating this nation; one which allows small human beings like you to have the freedom to totally misunderstand everything we’re about. The only difference is that I’ll never use it as a crutch, weapon or excuse. I’d prefer you just said “thank you,” and went on your way…
#A Few Good Men….