“Hello, my name is Joe Friday, and I’m a cop.” That’s how it starts, right? The movie line… It might as well start this way here. For one, I can’t give you my name. Its irrelevant, it may compromise the mission, and I’m just a small part of a team. The other reason – you don’t care. Its not a pun against you, nor would I ever take offense. Its just that I am one of “those” one of “them”, whom you blame, celebrate, mourn, call, and usually let do what has to be done without criticism, until something affects you. My name is Friday, and that’s fine for now…
They say we live in challenging and trying times. Seems that way. Maybe its just what I am used to seeing, but its like we forgot what challenging is. What prepared is. What together is. I remember trying times past… When I left for war with strangers and friends, and most people said “we will not fail!” Our Flags were everywhere… New York City was Ground Zero and the epicenter of resilience, perseverance, and strength. But I came back Friday, and buried friends. Some G.I. Joes as far as most care for names, and some more Fridays. I buried friends of all colors and beliefs, but when its convenient to some – I am racist. I have their names on my skin, on my arm, and in my soul. It feels like no one remembers that time, no one learned from it, and most recovered to a blissful ignorance.
If you call this a “police state”, I have to disagree. Again, no offense taken, but this is no police state. Not by any definition. Call it a “crooked politician state”, a “lying media state”, a state of emergency. But this, this is no police state. I am humbled, honored, and grateful to be in a position to help. Cliche it may be, but that’s why most of us are here. Started at the desert, now we’re here? Is that another song? I am blessed to have income, and never take it for granted. You may not know it, and you may not care. But I was at that low spot where you are. I didn’t know how I will cover those who need me tomorrow. I will always be there when you call, though I don’t know you, may not agree with you, and you don’t care for me. Its an instinct maybe, a calling some say. I felt it really weird to put on a mask when speaking with people. I was torn. How do I not scare the kids? How do I present approachable to you, help you face your fear, and look you in the eyes? Then I thought, how do I protect myself and my family, while doing my job? But I learned, and my friends learned. Because this is normal, and because my team and I have a mission, a goal, a drive. You have expectations, but ours are higher. You have needs, we put ours aside. You are scared… So are we. But we get up and move. We hope you do the same, but if you can’t push yourself, we’ll be there for you again.
For all the purposes of protests, those who scream off their couches and throw rocks at whom they disagree with, this Friday and other Fridays are “agents of the government”. But despite the rhetoric when it fits, this is simply not the case. I took an oath, and it wasn’t to cater to an opinion. Not yours, and not theirs. It may seem unfair, but you know its right. It was to hold true to color of life the Constitution which made this a free nation. You know, the one that I envision with “rockets red glare” and lets you kneel, or say what you feel like to my brothers and sisters. And that vision is what moves us forward, what keeps us faithful, and helps us go to the next call.
We know that the new normal isn’t new, nor will it be normal for long in the grand scheme of it all. A few catchy slogans, and all the Fridays are faded behind the scenes, just like most of us like it. Us, and GI Joes. People with no homes need places to stay, those with addictions are still addicted, thieves still steal, neighbors and parents can’t agree on things on their own, the monsters who pray on others don’t stop, terrorists still plan more than some care to admit. We fight them. Amidst it all, that’s what we do. We fight monsters. You know how to find us.
I am Joe Friday, and I have to thank you. For trusting in us, and for believing in yourself. For knowing deep down that this is bigger than individuals, and that the truth is beyond tabloids, social media, arguments, and fear.
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