Posts Tagged ‘patriotism’

I am usually not one to criticize, at least not heavily, in print the decisions of our military leaders.  Today, however, I was confronted with a situation that I simply have to vent about.  The powers that be here at my long-term residence of Fort Bragg, NC have decided that due to the current fiscal climate it is an unjustifiable expense to hold our annual Fourth of July celebration this year.  In all the years I have been here (since 1994) the celebration has never been cancelled before.  Hell, even last year a torrential downpour and high winds only halted the celebration for just a short while until the storm was over.  Right after that, business as usual.

Citing the lame-ass excuse that they:

The decision was driven, in part, by overtime costs associated with the festivities

Overtime cost that exceed $120,000 for the day.  I remember a time on Fort Bragg, and in the military in general, when we soldiers were tasked with the duties of supporting post-wide events.  Civilians and their salaries were not a part of the costs of doing business.  I am not in any way putting down the contributions of our civilian workforce and the support they have provided us during these last 12 years of war, but if we have moved to the point of  a professional military service where we cannot support ourselves and our festivities in-house with our troops, then we have indeed fallen far below the standard.

We, the current and past service members and our families and friends, have paid the costs in blood, sweat and tears for the last 237 years of this country’s history.  We have answered every call since before the Declaration of Independence was signed.  That day would never had been celebrated if it were not for the sacrifices our military members have made.  Even in times of war, when we have been off in foreign lands we have had our families back home joining in the celebration of the day of the founding of our country.

It is with a sad heart that I have to hear the excuses stemming from the ineptitude of our elected officials, officials from both sides of the aisle.  It is a travesty that we, Americans, have fallen so low as to repeatedly elect, and re-elect those who we have little to no faith in and a distinct lack of trust for.  Repeatedly, we have given up more and more freedom, and this year we will feel the pinch of our irresponsibility; not only will we have to feel the effects of our governments inability to stop spending, come to consensus for the good of the people they represent, and their overall disdain for our ability to live our lives for ourselves, now we are not going to be able to see a celebration of our former greatness.  A celebration we deserve to have for all the lives we have given in support of it all these years.

In 1776, our Founding Fathers reached down and grabbed their balls, placed their signatures on the greatest document ever written in our history and gave a big “FUCK YOU” to a tyrant across the sea.  We stood up an Army and a country without the benefit of taxation yet today we cannot even celebrate that great day from 237 years ago because a bunch of dumb fuckers cannot balance a checkbook.  A federal income tax became law 100 years ago this month and still with all the money they suck out of our paychecks each month for taxes and fees to be an American we still cannot throw a party.

I have a petition on “We the People“.  Please sign it and lets send the criminal enterprise a message that we at least deserve our day.  Especially when there can be parties hosted with celebrities and music and dancing off of our dime.

The patchwork image of America has never included more examples of diversity than you can find today.  We are born of the bastard offspring of the three major empires of their time, yet today there is such a diverse make-up of our population that it truly epitomizes the inscription on the Statue of Liberty, a sonnet written by the poet Emma Lazarus entitled The New Colossus:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

The Statue of Liberty, dedicated in 1886, has stood all these years as beacon for those who want to make their way to our shores and become an American.  At the time of the dedication we, as a country, were still reeling from the effects of the Civil War, yet using the skills and man-power of our growing immigrant population to push our boundaries even further westward.  This was no peaceful expansion, not by any stretch of the imagination.  The fabric of our country was in the midst of being re-woven into a new quilt.  It included the hard fought battles to reunite our country in the wake of the worst war to ever reach our shores.  It included the greed, the corruption, the growth, the genocide and attempted extermination of native populations.  It included growths in industry and new inventions.  During this time of ever constant change, the name America and to be American was the desire of people from all across the globe.  There was a time when people coming to our shores looked in anticipation for the streets they believed to be paved with gold.

Flash forward to the 21st century, just under 130 years after the Statue was dedicated on Liberty Island.  The immigrations stations on Liberty and Ellis Islands are closed.  There is no longer a wait of ships filled with immigrants waiting their turn to enter the country.  We still have our vast population of people entering our borders, both legally and illegally, yet our name is no longer mentioned with the same reverence that it once was.  In many parts of the world our name is said with complete disdain and often comes with some measure of violence included with it.

While we are still the world leaders in many aspects of life, we have failed to maintain the lead in many of the aspects that are distinctly American.  As one of the richest and most developed countries in the world we do not even lead in education.  Despite our vast natural resources we rely upon other countries to supply our needs.  Self-reliance is making a come-back in many communities across the country but we rely more upon the business models of vast corporations to supply our most basic of needs rather than spend the time it takes to do it ourselves.  We test our children incessantly in school to see how they do compared to others, yet we set the standards to the lowest common denominator rather than try to elevate those who need it the most.  We have settled and come to expect that as a nation that the bare minimum is good enough.

There is a rift in our country.  More than one if truth be told.  On the world stage we shout the term American as if it should carry weight, yet within our own borders we fail to identify ourselves as Americans first.  We have become a country that demonstrates our patriotism and faith in our Constitution, yet the term American takes second place in almost every personal introduction anyone makes.  Ethnic heritage, faith or lack thereof, and geographic location are all hyphenated with America as the suffix.

It has become commonplace to mock and criticize those we have elected to office, yet we do very little besides post our displeasure on Facebook.  Seldom does a day go by that someone does not post or complain about a violation of Constitutional rights, yet we do very little to educate ourselves on what those rights truly mean to us, individually and collectively.  It is much simpler to become ignorantly impassioned and moved by the words of pundits and loudmouths who grow richer off of our displeasure and ignorance.  I hear complaints about the entitlement of America today but those same people fail to realize that we have empowered others to give away what we have worked for without any consequence to those who would do it.  We as a voting populace have allowed careerism to govern us rather than insist on service from those we have entrusted with that responsibility.

The fabric of our nation was woven on a flawed pattern.  It was how it was intended and what makes us unique.  Periodically through our history we have rewoven and added to the fabric, adding our lessons and flaws in a tapestry that was distinctly American.  It has been a long time since the fabric has been maintained or added to. It has become frayed and tattered.  We are allowing personal allegiances and beliefs to drive wedges and pull at the threads that have come loose.

Despite the fear-mongering of many we are not falling as a nation.  We simply need people to step up and lead.  We do not simply need a leader, we need leadership.  We need the type of leadership that comes not from one person, but the voice of the many.  We do not need a doctor, we need a team that can help us heal.  We have done it before, it can be done again.  At the worst times in our country, great people have stepped up and moved us forward.  Americans prosper under the worst of conditions, not “insert any word”-Americans, but Americans.  It is when we put ourselves first that we will begin to rise up again.  Until then I will allow myself to get irritated at the ignorant shit that gets posted on Facebook and sensationalized by the media and their overpaid pundits.  Until then I will maintain the ethic that I was taught is required to be an American and do my best to pass that on to my family and instill in my children, my belief that no matter how bad it may get, it is better than anywhere else in the world I have been.