Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day

Yet another national holiday, providing yet another opportunity on social media to see who can out-patriot everyone else.

There will be memes galore on Facebook, thanking our "heroes;" declaring that any person who loves this country must loudly and eternally proclaim undying gratitude to our military for procuring and protecting our freedoms.

Which is a crock, really...  If our military were in charge of protecting our freedoms, they would have zeroed in on Congress and the president decades ago.  But that is called a "military coup" and among modern Western peoples, is frowned upon in no uncertain terms.  If you honestly ponder the role of the military in our society, you must concede that "protecting our freedoms" is NOT its primary function.   

We will see flags flying everywhere, on lawns, in cemeteries, on public buildings, and especially in the ether.  Many of those "ethereal" flags will be testimonials to a deranged degree of icon-worship, which will include mean-spirited challenges and accusations that any person who does not "venerate" this scrap of cloth to the zealous degree of the poster is NOT a worthy American; may, in fact, be an enemy in white man's clothing, and/or will be invited to leave this country with the boot of a "real" American planted firmly between his/her buttocks. 

For the record, let me make the following statements:

1.)  I am not anti-military.  Nor am I pro-military.  I concede that the military exists, and will continue to exist in its present form for the foreseeable future.  I do not blame the young conscripts who comprise our fighting forces for the nebulous efficacy of the agencies in which they have enlisted. I don't necessarily thank our soldiers, sailors and flyers for their service;  my feelings toward them tend more toward...apology.  I am emphatically sorry that they go where they go, do what they do, for the benefit of (and generally in place of) the rich and powerful, who then discard them like shell casings at a skeet shoot when they have outlived their usefulness.   

2.)  I do not believe that my degree of appreciation for the country of my birth is anyone else's business.  I do believe that one of the most cherished principles upon which this country was founded is that I may express my disappointment in its people, its policies, its president, its government, without forfeiting my citizenship, my rights, my safety or my life.   Two centuries ago, men DID, in fact, die that I may enjoy that freedom, and the others listed in our Constitution.  Let no person who calls himself a patriot pervert or deny my right to "tough love" my country.      

3.)  I DO NOT worship flags.  A flag is a fancy scrap of fabric--nothing more.  While there are lovely stories behind the symbolism of the design elements of our flag, it is essentially, like any flag, merely a sign of ownership.  We slap the flag on things that we want to declare as belonging to the United States of America.  Ships.  Planes.  Hills.  Mountain tops.  Buildings.  The moon.  We use flags to mark our territory.  They're basically piss on a stick.  If I put a plaque with my name on it next to my front door, I don't worship the plaque.  The value is in the place, the home, that it signifies.
So, there.  Love me or hate me, those are my beliefs.
A final thought:
We are so ready, these days, to fight with everybody about everything.  We argue.  We name-call.  We debase.  We seethe.  We hate.

Because we can.

Maybe this Memorial Day, the thing we should remember is that we're also free to agree.  Embrace.  Build up.  Cooperate.  Love.

Because we can.



  1. I love your closing statement. I think I will have to borrow it from time to time

  2. I do believe that anyone who serves to defend our nation, enforce our laws, save us from fires, etc. deserves our respect. Yes, our military is sometimes used in ways that we don't support as a people. That's on the ones who sign the orders. That military is all that stands between our freedoms and the dictators, despots, and terrorists of the world. To me, that is keeping me free, that is commendable. The trashy, tragic way the public received the vets home from Vietnam, was a disgrace. The runaround the government has given vets is a disgrace. I don't see a need for posting and sharing umpteen pics & videos on social media. A moment of silence, a prayer, flowers placed on graves or a memorial, or one single poppy on the lapel is all that is needed to convey the respect, gratitude and humility the occasion deserves. Simply clicking share over and over isn't it. Just as thinking only of the fun a three day weekend can bring without any of the aforementioned is not it. Both extremes miss the the mark.