Is there a difference in being PROUD to be an American, and being PROUD of America? I tender my thought that they are two completely different, totally UNIQUE things and I’m not afraid to explain why.
First, however, allow me to state that I im in posession of “certain” qualifications for making this distinction, in fact, I am among the less than 1% of ALL Americans alive today, who can claim the qualification. I am a wounded combat veteran. Although about 2% of all Americans have served in the Military, less than 1% are wounded combat veterans. While not taking one thing away from those Veterans, it is ALSO true that less than one-half on one percent have made the supreme sacrafice…they simply are not here to give voice to their thoughts.
Having said that, I beleive that while you may not agree with my analysis of the subject, the FACT of the matter is that I am not only QUALIFIED to speak it, I have also FOUGHT for OUR rights to speak our minds, and enjoy our differences of opinion. What I do NOT have to do, however, is believe ANYTHING other than the facts as those are resolute and enjoy no ability to be enjoined.
Let’s begin with WHY I am PROUD to be an American.
1. We live, today, in a FREE Society that allows JUST this type of discussion without any concern that I might be arrested as a result of it. I am FREE to speak my mind, just as you are yours, and more than that, I personally took the bullet literally, to be able to do so. That makes me PROUND.
2. I am FREE to disagree with anything that our Government says or does, and I don’t require anyones advice or counsel on whether to do so. If we do good things as a Society, I can point them out. If we do bad things, I am equally free to point those out. Democrat or Republican, and any other “form” of affiliation, if you do wrong things, I can, and WILL, point them out. I am given that right by the Constitution of the United States, the very SAME one that I personally stood in front of an American Flag, raised my right hand, and SWORE to defend.
3. I can go anywhere I choose, with anyone of my choice, and no man can stand in front of me, restrict my movements and travel, or require any form of “papers” to arrive safely as my destination. Yes, I am required to have a drivers license, perhaps even a REAL ID for airplane flight, but THOSE things are privileges, not rights, and I can repect that. It is for my safety, as much as yours, frankly it may well be more for mine than yours, who knows.
4. I am in full posession of EVERY right granted me under all the rest of the Constitution.
5. I love America for her beauty, her grace, her kind and caring people, and I truly appreciate the fact that, despite my dislike for some things American, I can enjoy those things that I truly love, free, unfettered, and at will.
I believe that pretty much sums it up for me. You might call this “The American Way,” but I will sadly disagree with that notation. The American Way is an idea whose time has passed. It was based on bad data, old ideas, and horrible, awful treatment of many Americans, just so that we could preserve “it.” It is time, that The American Way changed it’s meaning, and became what America is TRULY all about.
Allow me, then, to explain WHY I am sometimes NOT proud, of America.
1. When did is become “American” to HATE? For that matter, when did it become Christian to hate? I’ve no idea where this started, but the truth is, it’s BEEN a part of your grand “American Way” statement since the very foundation of this great experiment. Slavery, Bigotry, Disgust for anyone who doesn’t “sound” like us, “dress” like us, or “look” like us. THAT HAS BEEN the American Way, and VERY sadly, it continues to this day. We hate people for their political views, we hate people because they’re a different color, religion, nationality, and SO much more. We’ve become a divided nation of HATE.
Some would LOVE to drop all of that at the feet of the current President, but that simply would not be true. It’s been here forever. What CAN be said, is that the administration has done absolutely NOTHING to attempt to heal that breach, in fact, they’ve flat our ENCOURAGED it.
For this alone, and more, there are days when I am simply NOT proud of my Country. I understand if you find fault with that, but it speaks to you, and not to me so “rock on.”
2. When was it, that we began to think of people simply as “sexual” objects? I, for the life of me, do not understand this. Now I like Sex, don’t get me wrong. In fact, I was thinking about hiring myself out for some good old fashioned sexual trafficing, but then I discovered that they take away some of your freedoms for that, and well, no thank you.
Women, Men, and MOST especially CHILDREN, should NOT be sexually objectified. PERIOD…by ANYONE, EVER. And yet, this Society is being led by a sexual predator and no one seems to mind at all. How is that? How did we get from a place where GARY HART was zoomed out of Presidential contention for an affair, to a place where a man with MULTIPLE affairs, MULTIPLE RAPE allegations, and a HISTORY of treating women, including his own daughter, as a sexual object. How did we get there? Now we KNOW someone will talk about Clinton and thank you very much, I was AGAINST that too…but it’s a long way from some action in the White House to a full blown, ADMITTED, sexual predator. I can’t figure it out, I can’t even BEGIN to understand why the Christian Right bought into it, AND, as a result, I can no longer support them in their efforts. It’s a bridge too far for me. If you’re getting your news from CBN or one of those other idiot TV Preachers, then I apologize I’m just NOT going there. Every day, the American idea of EVANGELISM is being tarnished by this administration, and I no longer want anything to do with that. Nothing at all.
This, however, does NOT change my own Christian belief structure. I love Jesus, I believe in Father God. What I do NOT believe in, frankly, is man’s own legalistic structure of beliefs that would allow this travesty.
3. The very THOUGHT, that somehow is OK to treat people that are different than us is OK, is an anethma to EVERYTHING I grew up believing in, everything I STILL believe, and more importantly, it is EXACTLY what and why I fought for this Country in the first place.
A Muslim, a Christian, a Jew, ALL RELIGIONS, and ALL people, even including Democrats and Republicans, ARE worthy in their OWN right, and should NOT be thought of as “less than” you and I. I fought for Muslim Americans, as well as Christian Americans, and thus they BOTH enjoy the SAME rights as you and I.
I will tell you NOW, that if a Christian man picks on a Muslim man in my presense, there is GOING to be a confrontation, it IS going to involve ME, and it is NOT going to end well for him. I fought too hard, gave too much, to ignore that simple fact, and trust me on this, I’ll notice. Conversely, I’d act the SAME way, if the Muslim was picking on the Christian. I won’t allow it.
4. While I am not a big fan of the Supreme Court of the United States, the law is the law. If SCOTUS says that THIS is “how we do it,” then that’s the way we do it. While you’re problably thinking abortion, I’m not. Abortion is the rule of law, and when and IF it’s changed, THAT will be the rule of law. I am pro-life by definition. What immediately comes to mind, for me, are more simple things. SCOTUS has ruled that it is an individuals RIGHT to burn a flag. While I personally would NEVER do that, I will DEFEND YOUR right to it. It’s simple, you can’t ignore laws you simply don’t like. Take it or leave it, THAT, quite frankly, IS the American Way.
It is also TRUE, that when the “colors” are presented, when our men and women march by, or when the National Anthem is played, I not only stand, but I SALUTE. Yes, I salue, EVEN in civilian clothes because there is now a law that says I can, and I do. However, if YOU choose NOT to stand, or salute, I’m personally ok with your exercising YOUR rights, even though I find them distasteful. It’s really simply, I DON’T get to choose how YOU live YOUR life, any more than you get to choose how I live mine.
In summation: Far too many people today, are Proud of their Country. They’re proud of our defects and will defend them. There’s the “Pround boys,” the Milita Morons, the KKK, and other “White Supremacists” who have suddenly felt empowered by a new generation of idiot politicians who are going to “MAGA.” When I see that, I see, Make America GAG Again. Great, by definition, means we are inclusive, we love, we believe. When I start seeing some of that, when yo fix those four things that I SO dislike about America and Americans, then you’ll have my full and undivided attention.
Until then, I remain, Proud to be an American, Ashamed of my Country.