The State of the Union

What is it about America that some people hate so much? Picture in your head someone who virulently protects the burning of the American Flag, someone who promotes the removal of the 10 Commandments from State Legislatures and Courthouses, someone who applauds the efforts of the ACLU to remove “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance, and “In God we Trust” from our money. What do those people look like to you?

You probably didn’t picture people like long time United States Senators, Presidents, Vice-Presidents, Supreme Court Justices, or members of the House. Certainly not people like former President Bill Clinton, former VP Al Gore, Senator Joe Lieberman, Justice Anthony Kennedy, or Rep. Nancy Pelosi, just to name a few. People this involved in running the United States could not hold these convictions, right? We would like to think not because we elect these people to uphold our values, ensure our freedoms, defend the Constitution, and protect us from the same kind of persecution that precipitated the founding of this country. Regrettably, it is not so. In February 2002, just months after the September 11th attacks that killed over 3000 Americans, The IOC banned U.S. athletes from carrying the flag recovered at the World Trade Center site during the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games. They called the flag “too political” and said it would incite “an ultra-nationalist attitude.” Tell me, what is wrong with feeling a certain measure of pride about being an American? Tell me what is so offensive about this to certain citizens of our own country. These athletes wanted to carry the flag as an act of solidarity, a portrait to the world of a country united against an enemy that prayed for, planned for, and executed the single most devastating attack upon the citizens of the United States of America in our 200 plus years as a sovereign nation.

I can hardly begin to understand the rationale of the people who, in the wake of September 11th, thought the country’s resources would be better spent taking Public School Systems to court for giving students the option of saying the Pledge of Allegiance, or singing the National Anthem. An educator in the Madison, WI school district, when explaining the school board’s decision to ban the Pledge and the Anthem actually characterized the recitation of the pledge and the singing of “The Star Spangled Banner” as indoctrination, and “indoctrination leads to totalitarianism.” Can these people be serious? To categorize the voluntary singing of the National Anthem or the saying of the Pledge of Allegiance as indoctrination is simply ludicrous. Indoctrination is a term we often hear associated with the likes of Nazi Germany, and Soviet-era Russia, not America. America is a beacon of freedom for the rest of the world. People fight every single day, risking everything they have (and sometimes all they have is their own life) to get the opportunity to come to this country, and to call it home. They saw it as the “Shining City on a Hill” that President Reagan viewed as America. On the flip side we have people who were actually born here spending their lives pursuing civil actions against businesses, like a library in Colorado, for displaying Old Glory because, “some may be offended, or not share in such an expression of patriotism.” They claimed that displaying the flag “compromised the institution’s objectivity.” Again, are you kidding me? If you personally object to the idea of the American flag, perhaps it is time for a change in locale. At its core, the flag is a symbol of our great nation (and make no mistake, America is a Great Nation!) and a reminder of the blood spilled and sacrifices made by our forefathers so that we may enjoy this way of life. It seems evident now, however, that far too many believe it is their duty to pervert the constitution in search of “political correctness” and the ever present attempt not to offend.

We cannot say words like Islamic-radicalism, or Muslim terrorist because it denotes a negative outlook on a particular people. Is it wrong to call a terrorist what he really is? I have no problem with people of other races. America is the melting pot of races from around our world, and we are the better for it. Ideas and ideologies, cultures and counter-cultures. One and all contribute to the conglomeration that is America, but in doing so, endorse the principles upon which our country was founded. Sure, America has its share of skeletons in the closet (Colonists treatment of Native Americans, the enslavement and subsequent subjugation of peoples from Africa, and the internment of Japanese-American citizens during WWII) but that is no reason to vilify a country whose main mission is to ensure the wellbeing of it’s people, and to aide those fighting for freedom around the world. It is my solemn belief that we cannot continue to ascribe the sins of the Father to the son (as it were.) If we cannot move past our checkered history, then what of the future? Why must we always describe, in detail, the failures and shortcomings of our society without taking stock of all we have accomplished? Our independence was obtained on the backs of poor farmers against the greatest military in the world. President Lincoln held together the country and freed the slaves after a hard fought Civil War. We aided Europe in the struggle against fascist regimes in the two World Wars, securing the freedom of untold millions there and in Southeast Asia. And after our nation was attacked on September the 11th, we took the fight to those who would love nothing more than to see our Union fall. So before you become one of those who would denigrate the people who have given everything to ensure you have the freedom to spout whatever it is you have to say, remember that you are only free to say it because of the patriots and heroes whose blood ran red the grounds of Lexington and Concord, of Gettysburg, of Normandy and Iwo Jima, of New York City and Shanksville, PA.

We have soldiers overseas at this very moment fighting for the freedom of the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. Call me what you will, but I truly believe that our mission there is about the freedom and liberty from the tyrannical and oppressive regimes of the Taliban, and of Saddam Hussein. We fight there to protect our way of life from people who would seek to impose the kind of fear and destruction that they enacted upon their own people, and after September 11th, make no mistake, they have made their intentions clear. Thomas Jefferson once said that “the tree of liberty must be renewed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants” and I agree whole-heartedly. The loss of any life is regrettable but I believe that to give one’s life in defense of our country and way of life is one of the highest honors that we as Americans have to offer. I pray every day that God would give our soldiers the strength and courage to fight honorably and do whatever is necessary to protect and defend the freedoms, as Americans, we all enjoy. I also believe that we should honor those that make the ultimate sacrifice with the utmost respect. Sadly there are those in this country that choose to disrespect our fighting men and women, even in death, and picket their funerals shouting messages of hatred. I may get in a little hot water for saying so, but maybe there will be a special place, somewhere nice and hot, reserved for these kinds of people when all is said and done. Americans need to understand that we are at war with an enemy who kills indiscriminately. They send children and the mentally disabled into crowded markets, or up to patrols of American troops in order to kill as many Americans and civilians as possible. They hope to break the resolve of the American people, and I am grieved to say that, to a certain extent, their efforts have worked. Protesters and politicians daily call for our withdrawal from our overseas conflicts and saying that we have “lost the war” and that “the mission has failed” and that we no longer have business there. What has happened to us as a country? Where is the resolve of the American people to see this through for the protection of the generations to come? I can guarantee you that the passengers of Flight 93 would have something to say on the subject, but sadly we cannot ask them because they paid the ultimate price in order to safeguard their brothers and sisters on the ground, preventing the terrorists from using that plane as a weapon. Those are the kind of people who give me hope for the future of this country.

Weakness is a hallmark of the conquered. Is that the legacy we want to leave to our children? We have given too much as a country to give up and give in now. Me must find within ourselves (and with help from above) the strength and moral compass to guide us through these perilous times. I implore every one who reads this to take a look at yourself and take measure of what you see. Support your country. Pray for the sailors, soldiers, marines, and airmen that defend you while you sleep. Never forget who you are and what our flag represents. We cannot simply let the memory and lessons of September 11th, 2001 fade away. Too many brave Americans gave their lives that day for us to remain idle. We must remain the purveyors of liberty, the ones who give hope to mankind, the ones who defend the helpless, and the ones who spread freedom. We must BE The United States of America.