Okay, so I’m not into flag waving and rah-rah. I’m offended that our country confuses patriotism and pep rally. I don’t say the pledge. I don’t think we have ever fought a war justly, at least not since the advent of the technology of the last century, and I don’t know that we have even entered most of our wars for just reasons. And thanking people “for their service” strikes me as trite, especially when that service was given under oppression in the form of conscription.
So, late born hippie that I seem to be, I started my memorial day pondering the right to vote. Is there such thing as a right to vote when the options are so limited and downright lame? I’ve often thought of giving up my “right” to vote but until this year I’ve never actually considered simply failing to exercise that right. I will vote in November, mostly because I do have that right, use it or lose it, and I do honor those who sacrificed (not just in war) so that all Americans (regardless of unorthodox political and uberorthodox religious leanings) could have the right to vote. In part, I’ll vote in order to maintain the right.
But the frustration with the same old choices is a legitimate one. You might say, don’t like the options, run for office. I would, except for that part about how I don’t and won’t say the Pledge. I am glad I have the right to run for office in this country, but it kind of strikes me as wrong to try to lead a country which does not have my whole allegiance. (As Christians we are citizens of another kingdom first.) I’m thankful for the genuine article when they do appear on my ballot (however rare, and however unelectable they tend to be) but for someone like me it would be a compromising position.
So how does someone like me honor a veteran, celebrate Memorial Day? I don’t know. Honestly, I don’t. It seems false to just go along to get along, it seems a betrayal for those who did fight and die for our rights to vote to blindly and quietly (and knowingly) vote for such a pack of losers and crooks. It seems a farce that every public office is bought with a price paid to the media. But how to make a faithful stand? It seems a farce also to go on about those today who “fight and die to protect our freedoms” when our freedom has almost never truly been under attack since the War of 1812. The accurate phrase is “to protect our interests.”
And I don’t fault those who do fight… I know a few of those guys. They’re impressive. If we were really in imminent danger, I’d gladly trust my fate to them. And some of the older guys, the ones who fought decades ago, they are some of the most upstanding, warm, and selfless people I know, older but much the same as the younger ones still fighting.
And most who have served seem to have a sense of being bound together, generation to generation, that the rest of us could learn a lot from.
But it all leaves me not really knowing what to do with it all.