As is my norm, I riffed along a few snarky tweets while he spoke. Let's face it (and I choke on this quite often when it's invoked by people I don't agree with), it is the right of every American to voice their opinion, to have freedom of speech, and to voice disagreement with our elected leaders. (Insert "America, F Yeah!" statement here). So I did my usual thing. And in the end, when the speech rapidly swung into campaign territory, I tweeted this:
Is this really going toward "I'm in Afghanistan. Fix Economy. Forward!!!"?? Vets & spouses can't even find jobs you twit!!!
That tweet seems to have found a target in a total stranger. (Complete tangent, I am simply amazed by how people find people on Twitter. Seriously, can't make the connection sometimes.) This morning, I woke up, poured some coffee (oh, sweet coffee), and dutifully checked my mentions on Twitter (what, that's not what you do every morning?). There they were.
Wait. What? Huh?
Seriously. My first reaction was not one of anger, of indignation, or urge to hunt the person down and smack them. No. I was confused. Then I was shocked. Then I laughed out loud.
There are so very many things wrong with these tweets. First, perhaps because it's the most simple, I did go to college, did not focus on marrying a military person, and am beyond proud of what my husband has done and continues to do. It is amusing and ignorant to believe that a military spouse must be unemployed because clearly there is no way she went to college. Clearly because my husband serves, my entire goal in life was to follow around guys in ACUs until I found one that would take me home.
I really laughed out loud when I clicked through to her profile, found that in her personal description is one short line, and then a link to her online resume. So this hate and condescending statement is actually coming from someone who is unemployed just like me! But I thought she had all the answers?? That I should have gone to college and not focused on a marrying a military person, and DUH then I would have a job?
So I clicked.
She went to Indiana University. You know, the one in Bloomington. Home of basketball. Home of the Little 500. Home of the gorgeous Dunn Meadow, Old Campus and the beautiful gateway onto Kirkwood, the Main Library that rumor has it is actually sinking. Oh, the one where I attended for four years, and graduated, receiving my Bachelor of Arts with a dual major in Communication and Political Science. Oh, the irony.
So perhaps she's inexperienced, facing the new graduate struggle, the bitter effort to find a job, any job in a bad economy. No, in fact, she had 9 years experience with major defense contractors, each employment stint lasting roughly 2 years and showing career growth. She claims in several tweets to have active security clearance. But she is unemployed. And she is bitter. (I'm pretty sure you'll see the irony here, as I too am unemployed and bitter, though apparently I didn't realized that I deserve my unemployment because I married a military person).
So let's think about the meat and bones of these tweets. That veterans are in her words, "retards" and "assholes". Really, read that again. "Vets are taking up all the defense intel jobs. Nothing like putting retards in important national security jobs."
Let that sink in.
In another tweets on her timeline, she refers to veterans as "assholes". She re-tweeted and adamantly agreed with a tweet complaining that soon we will withdraw from Afghanistan, veterans will come home, and they will need jobs. I suppose they could have stayed here, fought for her job all along, and never gone to war, which if you think about it, probably created the very jobs she's had for the last 10 years.
Now, as for vets taking up all the defense intel jobs, I can see where she could be upset. I mean, why should defense intel companies hire people who have actually been on the ground in the country in question? Who have trained to interact with the people there, both good and bad? Who have studied the customs and culture? Who have hunted down and fought against those very security threats that defense intel people fight against? Nah, that doesn't make ANY sense to hire veterans for those positions!
And really, how dare these companies be offered tax credits for hiring our veterans? For attempting to ensure that our men and women can come home from fighting a war for us and actually be taken care of? Frankly, forget the tax credits, their real-world life experiences outweigh her 9 years of office experience any day.
Now, I may be an unemployed, uneducated, fatigue-hunting bum, but I know one thing she doesn't. Twitter is powerful. Twitter is accessible. Twitter is not going to pick and choose for you what other people can see. I know that if you're constantly tweeting about how desperately you need a job, if you're tweeting out your resume, if you've linked to it right there in your bio, you DON'T spend multiple tweets insulting, grossly insulting the very people you would be expected to work with.
If I am an employer, I see out the best person for the job. In many cases, for a defense contractor, the best person for a job will be a veteran. Regardless of any hiring incentive, the veteran has experience, honor, dedication. Knowing this, if I receive an application or an inquiry from someone, I check their Twitter, and I see them refer to veterans as "retards" and "assholes" multiple times, do I call that person, or even give them the time of day? A big, fat, emphatic NO.
As far as her mentality, her hatred and disrespect for veterans and their spouses, I can't answer that. It'd be easy to lump her in with the Occupy Wall Streeters, the Bradley Manning supports (tweets show she is), the anti-war liberals. I could give her a category, walk away, and never think about her again. But really, when I scrolled through her timeline, I was simply sad. Sad that life could have made her so broken, so bitter, so angry. Sad at the opportunities she is destroying for herself. Sad at the sheer anger and ignorance coming out of her.
And it made me proud. Proud of our veterans. Proud of my husband. Proud of the spouses who struggle, who fight, who wait. Who don't lash out (well, maybe we do, in the safety of a group of friends, wine in hand). Who live through war with honor, despite the ignorance among our society. Who receive hate and push forward anyway. Who come home and seek jobs, seek treatment for what ails them, seek to be productive in society. We won't be knocked down by bitterness, resentment, misguided hate. And for that, I am proud.