arteejee

A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Monday, May 30, 2016

Rant? Manifesto? Whatever!



Memorial Day 2016, ushering in what promises to be the most contentious political summer since 1968.  The day arrives with constant Facebook reminders about the true meaning of the day.  No, younguns, it’s not about charcoaled burgers and a tall cool one on the beach.   It’s about remembering those who served and died to preserve the ideals our country was founded. 

The ideals survive somehow despite how they are twisted to and fro depending on who claims power at the moment.  Of course we the people have never totally agreed upon any one particular direction 100% of the time, but what would be the point even if we did agree all the time.  It would take all the fun out of democracy.

In the last eight years American society has taken great strides forward in the name of cultural progress.  Unfortunately, the progressive elements never totally won over the hearts and minds of the more culturally traditional segment of the population.  That segment is now rising up to make itself heard.  There’s nothing wrong with voicing your concerns; that’s guaranteed with the First Amendment.  On the other hand, the current attitude amongst the newly empowered segment would seem to run counter to the ideals which millions have sacrificed all to preserve.

As an example, the latest in a long line of clichés to become the sound bite mantra of the moment: “Make America Great Again.”  I reject the premise of this bite.  While I have disagreed with the how the people running the country at certain times have interpreted the American ideals to their advantage, I never lost faith in the country itself.   
Okay, so we should address the concerns of those who now feel disaffected by the progress of the last eight years.  Just don’t turn the clock back so much that we don’t recognize, or worse, refuse, the potential in each one of us as an American citizen.

Then on the other side of the coin there are those who have shared the life experience that leaves them feeling that:”America Was Never Great”. An African American woman has taken a lot of condemnation on social media for wearing a cap with this slogan during her shift at a Home Depot on Staten Island.  I don’t totally agree with her slogan either, but knowing what I know about American history I can see her point of view is valid for her.   The country has its flaws and there is always room for improvement.   That is a fact of life and true for all of us.

As for those who are calling for her dismissal I can only ask, “What part of the First Amendment don’t you understand?”  In case they don’t know, the First Amendment applies to all points of view.  I admit that this is an inconvenience at times, but it is the right thing to do.

The truth, the right thing is somewhere between these two slogans.  America has always been great, but we shouldn’t be so arrogant to dismiss the idea that we have never made a mistake.  We have made mistakes, and that is the wonderful thing about history.  It gives us the ability to look back, see events which could be regretful, then use that knowledge to guide our actions in the future.

In the past, one country took the lives of many American servicemen in an attack on Pearl Harbor.  We responded with the most powerful weapon mankind has ever witnessed, and its use on Hiroshima and Nagasaki has discouraged its use ever since.  For some reason many saw the President’s recent trip to Hiroshima as an apology for the dropping of the atomic bomb.  I have not come across the words, “America is sorry” or “We apologize for this incident” anywhere in his statements.

Those condemning the President appear to endorse the opposite of the cliché “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”  They seem to believe that two wrongs (Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima) do make a right.  Okay, whatever!

So far I’ve concentrated on ideals; I’ve mentioned no names or personalities in this essay, rant, manifesto, or whatever.  The President, the Home Depot retail worker, or this thing that believes he can ride to power by convincing that he will “Make America Great Again.”  All nameless, not faceless, much like the millions of Americans we honor today.  No, they should not be nameless, but beyond those who loved them in life, many of their names will not be known to the majority of Americans. 

All the same we should be grateful for their sacrifice in the name of the ideals we hold so dear and forever strive to achieve.  So for now I will try to be hopeful that we will agree to do the right thing.  Although I must admit to a gnawing feeling of despair that as we did step forward in the last eight years, we are about to take two steps back.

Again, whatever!

(Thank you for reading.  Now it’s time for a tall cool one.)

3 Comments:

Blogger Raybeard said...

With not the slightest wish to belitle the seriousness of your posting here:-

"Two wrongs don't make a right". Quite. However, on a frivolous note, your using that phrase reminds me of an unfortunate foot-in-mouth comment made way back in the mid-60s by a certain BBC TV interviewer when speaking to one of the African political leaders opposing (naturally) then Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith's declaration of independence from Britain so he could impose his white supremacy rule in that country. The interviewer said "But Mr...., two blacks don't make a white!" That clanger was followed by an embarrassed silence while trying to cover a suppressed need to break out into unrestrained laughter. (I only hope the same phrase isn't ever used to Pres O - intentionally or not.)

But now that one of November's candidates for President (I won't say which one) has defined himself as 'The Great Unifier' then whoever wins it can't be that bad, can it? CAN it? (Oh dear. It can!)

May 30, 2016 at 3:08 PM  
Blogger todd gunther said...

Interesting anecdote, Raybeard. Yes, we've had some howlers on our end as well, and we might set a record this year for political bloopers.

Ironically he is a Great Unifier in one respect. So far he's unified the leadership in Mexico and Britain against us! And he hasn't even been elected yet!

May 31, 2016 at 11:38 AM  
Blogger Raybeard said...

Yes, The Trump saga has now got scary. On our news the tone has changed whenever 'The Great Unifier' is mentioned. The one-time unexpressed but underlying humour when reporting his speeches and antics is giving way to a more sober, even fearful, mood now, recognising that he's not just a harmless, clownish, flash-in-the-pan but he seems to be attracting enough support to being actually able to pull it off. Clearly, true or not, Hilary now got some serious work to do. If I read the signs correctly a lot of Americans have started to feel the same way.

June 3, 2016 at 2:54 AM  

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