Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Teaching Our Children To Stand Up To The Man

There are days when I am definitely My Father's Daughter.  Granted, I am always biologically his, but some days, I act just like him as well.  My Father is a grouchy, mean old man, whom I love.  He taught me a lot of things.  Some good.  Some my mother doesn't appreciate.  One of the best lessons he ever taught me, though, is to stand up for what you believe in, no matter what or to whom.  He taught me that elected officials put their pants on one leg at a time, just like the rest of us, and their door, or email inbox, should always be open to us.
Right now, I am going through the process of trying to get the great city of Chattanooga to change a city code that will disqualify many of our recently retired veterans from serving as police officers or fire fighters.  Basically, to be employed for either, you mist be totally through training and hired before you turn 40.  When a person enters the military at 18, they can retire 20 years later at the age of 38, possibly very closed to 39.  The hiring process is very long, often taking up to, or even longer than a year for police officers.  That means, you will be 39, pushing 40, by the time you are even approved for a police academy.  Then, you have to wait for an academy to start.  In all that time, most recent retirees will age out of eligibility, since the training itself take yet another 5 months, and you must be done before you turn 40.  I find it absurd that the city would toss aside so many people who would be invaluable to them in either department.  Turing 40 doesn't mean you can't still be a vital member of the police department.  Far from it.   In fact, with the experience that many people walk away from the military with, they would only make the police department better for it.  Where else are you going to find so many people who are completely prepared to make tough decisions under extreme pressure?  They are generally all very familiar with small arms, something a police officer needs to be very comfortable with.  I could go on, and on about how their experience would be beneficial to the department, but I think it is really very obvious.  They would make great police officers, especially those who have any military police training.
However, this city code will preclude so many of them from being up to get into the department on such a tight time frame.
So, I want it changed.
I also have a special drive for this because it does affect my family directly.  I don't want to go into that right now, but I think you can figure it out.

I've already started contacting the mayor and City Council members.  I've started a petition that I plan on taking to a council meeting as soon as I have enough signatures.  Please, sign it.  Sign it.  Share it.  Send it to anyone you know.

As a side goal in this whole process, and something that gets me all worked up in a good way, I want to involve my children.  I want them to watch their mom in action and see that anyone can try to change the way things are run.  "We the people.." isn't just in our governing documents for great literary effect.  It is there because regardless as to how they make us feel sometimes, we need to remember that we elect people.  We should drive policy, not the policy makers themselves.  I want my girls to see it, and feel it.  I want them to stand up for what they believe in, and work to change what they don't.

I want my Girl Scout troop to participate with me, too.  I want them to sit in on the council meetings that I go to.  I want them to watch me speak, and learn that they can do anything and be anything they want to.

This is one time where my dad taught me everything just right.  Thanks, Dad, and I promise to pass the lesson on to the best of my ability.