Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Cymbals and Symbols

I think this blog is going to be about some of the things occupying FB and the media currently, but hopefully not at full blown rant amplitude.  Let's give it a go.

Removing confederate Statues and flags Edition - While I understand that many, if not all, of the monuments were erected in a direct attempt to intimidate people of color, removing them will not change the attitudes that got them erected in the first place.  No matter how many statues are removed, how many flags are taken down, or words redacted, the fundamental problem still exists.

The USA - that's us - is still a racist country.  It hurts me to say that, but it is.  We are in the throes of a major setback in any attempts to mitigate that situation.  Enabling racism while chastising those who bring the inequity of racial bias to the front is throwing gasoline on a fire.  And it continues to happen with the current chief executive as the arsonist.

Stars and Stripes and Anthems Edition -  Let me first be clear, I am a veteran (10/13/1961 - 8/2/1968.) I took an oath to defend the US against all enemies foreign and domestic.  I saluted the flag almost every day of that enlistment, sometimes twice a day if I was present at both the raising and lowering of it, whether or not there was musical accompaniment.  I did that out of respect for the country, not its symbol.  That's all the flag is - a symbol.  It's the country and the populace that it symbolizes that's important.

To stand for an anthem, face a flag, and then disrespect residents of the country they represent is not patriotism.  You must, to be a patriot, preserve and protect the land you live in and the people who occupy it with you. You must, to be a patriot, be able to discuss differences, listen to opinions with which you disagree, without resorting to violence - verbal or physical.

Patriotism is hard when you see your country in an emotional crisis, but it's then when true patriots emerge, stand up and salute the country by their actions to promote discourse, equity, and peace.

Things are changing but so slowly as to be glacial.  Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, in a BBC interview, said "A great man once said that the true symbol of the United States is not the bald eagle; it is the pendulum."

Think about how you can do your part to put the pendulum in motion toward caring about your country: the land and the people, not the music and flowing fabric of its symbols.