Self, Family, and Country…
By Jim Kuiken
In the first post of the “Getting to Know You” series, I talked about ‘The Basics’; what is the foundation of my nature, the motivation for ‘how Jim’s brain works’ (although a lot of my family and friends consider that an oxymoron…).
In this second instalment, I’d like to share my beliefs on personal independence, family, friends, and national security. I know that sounds like a lot, and sounds totally unconnected, but bear with me, like most things in my life it’s actually pretty simple.
As I mentioned last week in ‘The Basics’, one of my main traits is self-sufficiency (i.e., independence) and the basic character is that of a ‘protector’. Those both form the core of my personal belief system.
When it comes to my family, you can see that play out over and over during my childhood up into adulthood. I mentioned a well-known (within the family) incident when I was about four – which set the pattern. What happened is that we had just moved to Florida, when my dad got a short-term temporary assignment overseas (he was in the Air Force), and his new wife (my mom) with her two little boys were left behind for the first time. It was scary for her, and for us boys, who had just gotten a new dad, and he was leaving. We didn’t really understand at that age, but we were scared, and watched our mom trying to put a good face on it.
When it came time for dinner, we all came to the table, but my dad’s spot was empty. He was always there to cut the meat, serve, and just head up the dinner – and now he wasn’t. I have no idea what I was thinking back then, but I just walked over to his seat, and (with my mom’s help) got up in his chair, and (again with my mom’s help) cut and served the main course to the family. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but that helped fill the void, and seemed to comfort my mom and make things right.
There are numerous times during my childhood when I jumped in to help my brother when he was picked on, teaming up with him against all foes…and later, in my adult life, at least a couple of times when something was happening to my family that I dropped everything (once while I was on Active Duty with the Marines, and again, just after I had stepped into a new job with federal law enforcement), and the first time, flew across the world, and the second time, across the country to step into the situation and resolve it through any means necessary (no specifics here, “to protect the innocent”).
Even my own mom once told some of her friends that I was “the family bulldog. We keep him in the closet unless there is some trouble, then we let him out…”
So exactly what is this philosophy? Like I said, it’s pretty simple. I learned it from something my mom said when I was a kid, and it fit my feelings exactly. “Your right to swing your arms ends just where the other man's nose begins”. (Zechariah Chafee, "Freedom of Speech in Wartime", 1919)
I’ve put that in my own words many, many times throughout my life. I’ll clean it up a little for you here. “If you just leave me and others the #@$% alone, I’ll leave you alone.”
I don’t care what anyone believes or what anyone does (within the law), as long as they don’t hurt or infringe the rights of me or others to believe and do what they want. Back to those Saturday morning cowboy movies I talked about - as John Wayne said in The Shootist, “I won't be wronged. I won't be insulted. I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them.”
Like I said in the beginning of this post, I wanted to share my beliefs on personal independence, family, friends, and national security. This pretty much covers my personal belief, but how about the rest of it?
While I was down in Texas, out on the campaign trail running for US Congress, I got asked all sorts of questions in many venues, town hall meetings, debates, etc., about National Security, and my answer was always the same – not because I had memorized a ‘sound bite’ for the cameras – but because it is exactly the same belief I have had all my life. I spoke from my heart.
As I said, it’s very simple. I have the exact same belief about my own personal security, my family and friends, and this country. It is the belief I already talked about.
If you leave (insert the appropriate word here…“me”, “my family”, “my friends”, “my country” “our allies”, etc.) alone, I / we’ll leave you alone. Be my / our friend, trading partner, ally, etc., and I / we’ll be yours, with all of my heart and complete loyalty.
Try to hurt (again, insert word here), then I’ll /we’ll do everything in my / our power to stop you or take you out. Period.
I won’t stop, I won’t back down. Ever.
Like I said, pretty simple, huh?