KingMidget's Ramblings

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Memorial Day Thoughts

I’m just about as anti-war as a person can be, and being an American I have had to watch countless military adventures our country’s leaders have taken us on. I have opposed virtually every one of those adventures. I came of age with Grenada and Lebanon and useless fist-shaking military strikes authorized by President Reagan.

The one I supported … well, actually, there have been two. The first was our military intervention to put a stop to the ethnic slaughters that were taking place in the former Yugoslavia. I felt that was a situation where we could use our military might for a good cause that didn’t necessarily have anything to do with our strategic interests. We actually used our power for an unselfish purpose.

The second was the post-9/11 invasion of Afghanistan to put an end to the Taliban and al Qaeda and to help Afghanistan enter the modern world of nations. My support of this effort turned sour when it became clear that the Bush Administration actually had no real plan for accomplishing those objectives. Almost seventeen years later, that “war” grinds on with no end in sight, no clear idea of what the objective is, no exit strategy. nothing. Just soldiers continuing to try to do the right thing while fighting and dying.

As anti-war as I am I also am fascinated with the stories of war and the soldiers that fight them. A few months ago, I saw previews for Thank You For Your Service. The previews seemed far too jingoistic for me and I haven’t seen the movie. I did, however, buy the book and am reading it now. The author, David Finkel, also wrote The Good Soldiers, an excellent book about our Iraq War. The book is a no holds barred, in your face, gut-wrenching look at the after-effects of war on soldiers who return home.

I have read countless books on Afghanistan and Iraq, on World War II, Vietnam, the Civil War, The War to End All Wars (yeah, right), and others. I am fascinated with these stories. My favorite movie (if I’m not counting The Holy Grail) is Saving Private Ryan.  Band of Brothers is just incredible.

The point for me is this. I may be anti-war, but I honor those who serve and put their lives on the line. They do something I could never do, and I feel compelled to know their story. That’s the least I can do. So, on this Memorial Day, if you don’t want to read a book, read this. Honor a fallen hero by knowing his story and those who have lost him.

* * * * *

Meanwhile, the NFL is a joke and our President is worse. The former announced a new policy that allows its players to continue protesting just so long as they do it behind closed doors so nobody can see it. They claim the owners supported it unanimously, but the 49ers abstained from the “vote” and the Jets have already said they won’t discipline any of their players if they continue to protest. So, not only did they adopt a policy that doesn’t stop the protesting, but treats the protesters like … well, they belong on the back of the bus … but they lied about it. I will do everything I can to skip the NFL this fall.

As for our President… After the NFL announced their new policy, he tweeted that players who kneel during the National Anthem should find another country. The idea that the only way to honor this country, to be patriotic, to demonstrate your love for this country, is to stand for the National Anthem — that kneeling during the song is disrespectful — is so dictatorial, authoritarian, and anti-American, I will not stand for the National Anthem as long as he is President. He has bastardized American and is destroying it from within. And disrespecting those who have fought and died for the freedoms and principles this country was founded on.

“Move to another country?” I think not. I’m staying right here, exercising my rights as an American to have a different opinion and to express it freely. I look forward to when we have a President again who respects those rights for all citizens.

5 responses to “Memorial Day Thoughts

  1. Carrie Rubin May 28, 2018 at 2:05 pm

    You’ve parroted my thoughts on the NFL thing, and while I’ll still stand for the anthem, and likely always will, I respect those who choose not to as a means of protesting, and I’m grateful to live in a country where one can do so. Hopefully they’ll always be able to.

    • kingmidget May 28, 2018 at 2:10 pm

      After Trump first made a big deal of this last Fall, I went to a couple of sporting events. When the Anthem came along, I’d get out of my seat and walk the concourse so it wasn’t obvious I wasn’t standing. I’m going to make it obvious from now on and if anybody challenges me on it … I’m just sick of this, absolutely sick of this. One of the amazing things about the NFL policy is that they didn’t define what would qualify as not showing respect for the Anthem. But an owner was quoted as saying that players linking arms during the Anthem would be disrespectful — I just can’t even begin to get my head around that.

      And just so you know, I totally respect that you will keep standing. We each have to address this the way we believe is best.

      • Carrie Rubin May 28, 2018 at 2:26 pm

        Exactly. That’s the beauty–or at least it’s supposed to be–of our country and its freedoms. The linking-arms thing being considered disrespectful is ridiculous. Heavy, heavy sigh.

  2. S.K. Nicholls May 28, 2018 at 7:35 pm

    I’ve never gotten into sports since elementary school cheerleading. Went to a few Braves games. We started really patriotizing sports events when votes were needed to use taxes to pay for stadiums, which I also think is wrong. I personally don’t feel that they provide enough value for the communities they are built in. The value is for the team owners and players. The money could be better spent. Since childhood, I never felt compelled to stand for the National Anthem. I certainly don’t in my home. Why would I do it in public? As a show of patriotism? Maybe I’ve just never felt a strong sense of patriotism if patriotism means being showy. I honor the servicemen and women who have fought for this country and tell them so personally.

    I’m not opposed to war when it is used to defend against aggressors. Never really understood the whole Palestine/Israel thing, though I have studied both arguments. The lines so often get blurred it’s difficult to tell who is offense and who is defense sometimes. Also, we often use war to protect our access to resources in other countries/regions, and innocent people die. That can’t be right.

    • kingmidget May 28, 2018 at 8:27 pm

      I’ve always stood because that’s what you’re supposed to do. Years ago somebody pointed out that the Anthem is basically about a war and when I realized that, I began to think of it differently. Maybe America the Beautiful would be a better anthem?

      I’ve never been into showy displays of patriotism. It’s about how you act and treat others. To have people on a right wing blog accuse me of hating America because I’m a liberal tells me that “patriotism” is actually a term for demagogues and I’m not interested in playing that game.

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