Monday, May 25, 2009

Concientious Objecter Reservist?

Confession: In the past few months I have been thinking ever more seriously about being a reservist in the armed forces. For anyone who knows me for more than 4 years this is shocking. For people who have met me in the past year, maybe not so much.

I have become increasingly interested in a way to serve my country. Problem is of course that I never ever want to fire a weapon. Therefore it's been difficult to put together a way to serve without aggression, especially since I am more than willing to go to Iraq and Afghanistan, or any other war zone, in order to work on behalf of my country. Sadly, I'm a little too strong-willed to follow orders the way they do in the military, and I'm too liberal to fit in, and I'm too much of a peace loving person to fire a weapon, so... maybe I should contact a recruiter and see how I can parlay these things into some sort of support staff or negotiation liaison position.

Despite my numerous applications for jobs within the U.S. government system, the process takes so long, and signing up as a reservist is instantaneous, which is appealing to the spontaneous side of me. At the same time, it seems like I would be far more helpful doing something more constructive than war, seeing as how I pointblank refuse to fire a weapon.

My interest in military personnel has increased lately, I have singled them out for discussion, and only dated men in the armed services for the past six months. not by design really, but it's what appeals to me. They have the same goal as I do, they understand my desire to serve, to travel, to live life with structured adventure, and to be a part of a community that isn't religious or political (even though the military is entirely both). The identity of belonging to something greater is very appealing and very human.

Sadly, I might make this decision based on which uniform I think would look best on me (and it's not the Navy uniform...).

Let's bring it back to the real discussion though: How I wish I could enact change and bring peace and hope to people around the world. In many ways, the armed forces do that for people at home, the transition team provides services to the Iraqi people, and yes, they wage a war and cause destruction, but there is good that can be done.

After this discussion, I can think of no image more fitting than of the United States flag standing outside of the U.N. HQ in New York where I worked for the 63rd General Assembly. In a world where leaders refuse to simply sit and talk, the U.N joins people together on a daily basis for discussion. The peace building that occurs in this building is a step forward for humanity, and while it is not always as successful as we want, or as it could be, without the U.N. there would not be a place for people from around the world to come talk about issues in one room everyday. It is not a perfect system, but nothing is, and I am proud that my country is a member nation (even if sometimes our actions are... well... let's just say we vote with Sudan and North Korea a lot...)

Thanks for reading and best regards,


Emily Norton said...

I don't think that's a good plan for a fall back option. You're not that desperate yet.

Alya said...

When it comes down to it, I want to serve my country. Through the Peace Corps, the Foreign Service or the reserves.

I've been thinking a lot about it and the conclusion I have reached is the following: I have been frustrated with some parts of foreign policy in this country for a while. This is a turning point where I can be a part of making the nation great again. This is not because of Obama, but because of the change in leadership and because of where I am in my own life. I have the education, skills, experience and drive to work for a better future for Americans and our allies, and to broker agreements with all peoples for a better future- and I would rather contribute to the world in that way, than not at all.

The Foreign Service definitely offers that, and the Peace Corps and reserves to a lesser degree.

From my perspective, this is a better option than working in a dead end job where I see policy that I am dissatisfied with and can do nothing to help mold it or enact it in a meaningful way.

TK said...

I think an interpreter position would be up your alley aly. You already know Swahili and French.

The biggest issue I would see you having with being a reservist is not being able to speak your mind when ever you wanted to.

Alya said...

Well I can't speak my mind in the Peace Corps or as a Foreign Service Officer, or even in my last job when I represented a country at the UN. I was a representative. It's right there in the job description in the first line. And in most jobs you never get to say what you really think, so I'm okay with that. Especially if it means I get to do this particular job.

In fact, being diplomatic has nothing to do with what you personally feel. I'd rather cast my opinion at the ballot box than through my mouth in the future. Politics is my life, but I don't need to make it everyone else's life.