Make no mistake, I love the basis upon which this country was founded—human rights, freedom of speech, all men are created equal, even if, over the decades, we’ve fallen short of those ideals.
John Wayne said we were right to take this land from the Native Americans if they couldn’t keep it. So much for all men being created equal. Those who aren’t equal can live on a reservation.
Major League Baseball likes to tout itself as America’s national pastime, an all-American sport; but it was segregated by color for nearly fifty years.
Our might made us right in dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end World War II. While those bombs may well have saved my dad’s life, can anyone, in all honesty, say those two bombs didn’t represent our own brand of terrorism? The side that wins the war gets to write its history; or, one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.
Women have come a long way; but they still fall short of equal pay (even as their rate of heart disease is increasing); while young girls are being abducted off the streets of affluent neighborhoods and sold into the sex trade, which is oppression of another kind.
Patriotism: Webster’s defines it as love for or devotion to one’s country.
The previous administration seemed to further define patriotism as blindly supporting the choices they made. “Support the troops,” President Bush told us when we questioned his decisions; but he cut the benefits of those same troops when they most needed them—when they started coming home with limbs missing and other injuries. Apparently Mr. Bush missed the part of the Constitution that reads, We, the People. Or perhaps he misread it as Me, the President.
My father was of the Greatest Generation. A marine, he fought on Okinawa, where some of the bloodiest fighting in WW II took place. He saw and did things he never shared with me. He loved this country so much that he risked his life to protect it.
But Dad was also a wise man even if he didn’t have a college education. Some lessons he taught me:
“No government is benign.”
“No people should fear its government; a government should fear its people.”
“The greatest act of patriotism is to question authority, to hold accountable those elected to office.”
“Sometimes patriotism is a call to arms, a call for revolution.”
Consider our congressmen voted on full retirement and medical benefits for themselves. Serve five years in office and receive full retirement benefits for the rest of their life. How is that fair when my uncle, who worked thirty years for General Motors and retired on a fixed income with full benefits, had his cut after the bailout?
Freedom to assemble? Not according to George W. Bush. During his second campaign for presidency, his secret service forced a group of Michigan student protestors to assemble elsewhere—several blocks elsewhere from where Mr. Bush was speaking.
This country is supposed to be the harbinger of human rights. Except when water-boarding can obtain critical information on the war against terrorism, like the location of Osama bin Laden.
It’s an ugly world in which we live. Many question why God allows so much suffering to take place; but it’s not really God who allows it. He only allows us the freedom to make of the world what we wish. If there is suffering it is because we allow it. Truly, what do we expect from God? Another flood perhaps?
No government is benign; sometimes the greatest evil is the one masquerading as good. If our government is corrupt, it’s because We, the People, allow it.
Don’t you think it’s time we started holding our elected officials accountable? Isn’t it time they started to work for us, those who put them into office, instead of the special interest groups who pay them off?
This isn’t a bad dream from which we will wake tomorrow. It’s time to stop pinning our hopes on tomorrow, on the next elected official to do better. It’s time to take back control of government, to concern ourselves with a world which we will not live to see.
Patriotism: It’s not about waving a flag and having a bumper sticker on your Buick that claims you support our troops …
“Ask not what your country can do for you …”