Here we are on the Monday before the coming Memorial Day weekend. For me, it is a time of personal and patriotic reflection.
Personal because for so many wonderful and celebratory family weekends when all of us were younger, my children, my parents and my beloved wife, Ann, who passed to the other side last September would celebrate in the American family style of gatherings and honoring’s. Sure, I miss her form, but do not wish her back under the circumstances of her illness. When we were young, and she was well, it sure was fun.
For the patriotism of the past; I lament it’s passing. It’s not there anymore, and neither are the ethics of America. Ethics are sets of unenforceable values by which we choose to live. Not that we didn’t have the aberrational before, in the likes of Joe McCarthy, but again we have political characters and candidates who lie to plea for a vote or appease a public who want nothing more than a better life.
We all want a better life! We all want a peaceful life. We all want a productive and contributing life, but when we are only offered continued contention in the administration of our country and its participation in the global gestalt, we fail to see the vision of what we use to be and what we could be, and we embrace the illusion that fear protects.
A wall will not work. Expulsion will not work. America was never meant to be stockade of self-fulfilled values. It is meant to be a shared chalice of freedom, a haven for the oppressed, the weak, the retched refuse of the world as Emma Lazarus so aptly put it in her poem emblazed on the Statue of Liberty.
Sure things have changed since her time, but not that much. The only difference is that now we have the liberty for which our ancestors sacrificed, and we don’t want to share it because of the anticipated discomfort in our lifestyle. We don’t want to share it because we fear some soul will get in and throw a bomb to kill and maim.
We had anarchists in the past, and we’ve dealt with them, and we can deal with them again, but not in the cage of isolationism and fear, but in the open front yards of our homes and hearts.
Memorial day is a time to honor and remember our war dead who died that we may have the freedoms we enjoy today. It is not a time to throw away the liberties they gave America because we are afraid.