Odds and ends of interest.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Our Flag STILL Flies

A song seeming to glorify war, the United States National Anthem is the focus of a long and protracted movement to remove it as National Anthem. Yet that movement repeatedly fails to gain traction. Why?

Look at the words of the song. It is about underdogs. A people struggling to retain a barely obtained and long fight for independence. It is about a people deeply decided politically, some wanting independence and others wanting to reestablish ties to the Mother Country. It is written about a battle that should have been a massacre.

Fort Henry, offshore from Baltimore, was barely a military establishment that had become a refugee center. Women and children outnumbered soldiers. And the entire British fleet sailed offshore. If the fort would strike the colors the mighty naval guns would not fire. And as an act of civility, when bombardment began, the British would immediately cease firing if only the flag would lower.

Thousands of American prisoners huddled in the prison ships while the population of Baltimore watched from the land. The power of the British Navy was the greatest in the world. The determination of it's admirals was second to none. The feeble American Nation hung in the balance and there seemed to be no alternative but to 
surrender. But would the ragtag exhausted soldiers lower the colors?

We look at the terror that has swept the globe these past few years and wonder. Organized armys can strategically fight, and someone will win. But terrorism-asymmetrical wars-they are different. Gorilla and Partisan fights have taken place throughout history, and history paints vivid pictures of the carnage. The "Barbarians" fought against Rome and eventually conquered it. And Resistance fighters took part in most wars since. Just read about the French, Italian and Russian efforts in WWII. Or perhaps at the unsophisticated Vietnamese who finally defeated the great but divided America in the 70s.

We are faced with a terror movement that not only threatens to topple our way of life but is determined to destroy us. Radical Islamists, disjointed, underfunded, unsophisticated yet determined attack in France, Baghdad, Florida and elsewhere at will. The carnage they inflict may kill and maim some but psychologically devastate us all. These animals seek the most historically effective means to defeat their enemies, not through a rifle scope but through the heart. If, as was done in Vietnam, they can decimate a nation's will then they will have won the victory.

Francis Scott Key was a witness to the battle with a front row seat. Aboard a British vessel negotiating a prisoner exchange, he watched as a Goliath threw everything 
they had at the weakened opponent. And through the exhaustive and accurate 
bombardment he felt, moment by moment, all the hopes, the dreams and the determination of the infant nation all hang in the balance.

Americans still hope, and dream, and are determined. Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Baptists, Anglicans and Atheists, straight and gays and grandparents and teenagers and executives and dishwashers, all want the same things: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. We are not united in our approaches, we all do not agree with a single plan, and our politics are very divided. But in our diversity we ARE united in one thing... We are Americans.

Most Americans are not concerned with our neighbor's sexuality. And while we all 
know we will never return to the "Ozzie and Harriet" days, we want a better America for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren. Most of us have our own religion, culture and traditions. And most of us would be content if others would accept ours as we accept theirs without one imposing on the other. And genuine dialogue needs to occur across the spectrum.

I may abhor abortion and you may champion a womens right to choose. Yet the common ground lays in teaching men AND women to be responsible when they engage in potential baby-making activities. You may object to paying tax dollars for someone else's medical care, and I may feel equality in healthcare is a basic right. Yet 
we could come together to discuss and devise a system that could be equitable to all without eliminating, again, the right to choose. Between opposing views there is always central ground. Neither of us may be happy to compromise our individual position and beliefs, but we can find common ground if we try.

The Americans and the British faced a similar polarity in the 1700s. The original Colonist complaint was about "taxation without representation". The British position was that the new world was a British property, it's people British subjects, and there were policy makers in Britain that refused to compromise. So the dirt poor Americans did the only thing left for them to do... FIGHT.

As Mr. Key stood on that British ship watching as hundreds of warships tightened the noose around the neck of Ft. Henry there were two choices... and those few in the fort spoke for the American people.

We need a few people in our fort today. There has been enough rhetoric from all sides of our politically-deep chasm spouting hate, bigotry and violence for too long. We need some representatives deeply believing in their cause to come together with others, who will talk, who will work things out, and who can plot a course to a better 
America.

As insane as it sounds, I would suggest a meeting with a Louis Farrakhan, a Ted Cruz, a Fundamental Christian, a Fundamental Muslim, a Fundamental Atheist, a hard core pro-lifer and pro-abortionist... people whose religion, values and cultures are radically far apart... but EACH ONE a staunch believer in America, Americans and the American way of life. 

Let's address our National problems and let's seek out rational solution. 
The downtrodden and oppressed still seek a way to come here so something must be right.  This is America, and we are Americans. We can do this.

Over the past few decades we have been shamed, stepped on and attacked. Our people have become disenchanted, frightened, beaten and scorned. But we are not defeated. And through the smoke, the thunder and the haze you can look... just look... OUR FLAG STILL FLIES!





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