So I've finally gotten to the point where it's hard for me not to make comments on the political atmosphere. I refuse to post anything specific on Facebook, mostly because I have very vocal friends on every edge of the spectrum (can it really be a spectrum if there are no less than four edges?) and I don't want to see people I love and respect argue with each other.
This is what I have to say about the political climate in America, 2016...
We've forgotten why we are American.
I had a brief reminder last week.
I was at a Cub Scout meeting and the Cubmaster showed the boys and their families how to retire an American flag. He told us of some of the options there are to retire a flag but he had landed on the idea to retire it by burning.
Now, I need you to understand that this notion is something that stirs my soul. I have had family members serve in the military, and even fight, during every American war and conflict since about 1776. My parents raised me to respect the military, leaders of government (agreement is different than respect), and the flag. My dad flew the flag at our house while I was growing up. He treated it with reverence and taught us to as well.
As the Cubmaster stood in front of the group of Cubs, their siblings and parents, and other leaders, he explained some symbolism of the colors of the flag: the red of the courage and the blood spilled in defense of freedom, the white of virtue and purity, the blue of perseverance and justice. The stripes represent the 13 original colonies while the 50 stars are the states, The UNITED states. The states held together in the union of perseverance and justice (the blue part, remember?). This is what it is to be American. To unite in perseverance and justice.
We watched as the Cubmaster and his assistant folded the flag and gently, in highest regard for Old Glory, laid it on the flames. As the fire consumed the well-used and well-loved symbol, we all held our hands over our hearts and recited the Pledge of Allegiance. It moved me. It brought me to tears. Nevermind that my children will argue that everything brings me to tears, but I couldn't help but think of the sacrifices made for this country. This country of ours that seems in such disarray.
How did we get to this?
We've forgotten who we are. We've forgotten that our brother is not our enemy. We've forgotten that the freedoms we take for granted came at a price. We have confused "liberty" with "entitlement."
Funnily enough, that last sentence made me think of Patrick Henry's infamous line of "Give me liberty or give me death!" I decided to look it up and found the speech it is from. Recorded by William Wirt, Henry is petitioning to the Second Virginia Convention president, Peyton Randolf. Extremely eloquent, Henry explained the time to hope for change was over. It was now the time to act.
They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance, by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?
This is what originally united us all. The desire to find strength, to develop a character of resilience. To work and fight for what we know to be right.
This is what I believe: America is still the greatest country in the world. I love it with all my heart. It is within our greatest interests to determine which presidential candidate will take these weaknesses we've developed as a country and help us gather back our strength. Let us stand tall and proud once more.
Frankly, I don't know who I'm voting for next month. I have a week or two left to figure it out.
But we would be slapping those that have sacrificed so much for our freedoms in the face if we do nothing. If we sit back and let others make our choices for us. If we continue "...lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope..." Stand for your freedoms. Stand for your beliefs. Stand for future generations.
Stand for something.