Patriots and POW’s
When I was a kid I knew nothing of politics but a whole lot about being free. I had no knowledge of whether my family leaned left or right. We obviously had pride, I was unaware of the prejudice. I knew that we were patriotic. We had a flag pole in the front yard that always held both an American flag and a POW flag. My step-dad fought in Vietnam. First Calvary and damn proud. I knew about Agent Orange, about those “gone but not forgotten” MIA’s and how the vets were treated when they returned from that conflict. I heard about “anchor babies” and “illegals”. My sister dated “those people”, the brown and black skinned gangsters who lived in the much lower than our lower middle class neighborhood.
My step-dad’s a strange dichotomy, a patriot disgruntled with his country. Like most of the boys shipped off to that war he came home a different man: angry, confused, bitter and broken. A soldier who loved his military brothers and hated the leaders who put them there. He could be brought to tears by the national anthem but railed against the government; an American who felt forgotten, shunned and discarded . I have seen him spit and cuss at cops, warning us to never let them in the house.Yet he proudly posts “Blue Lives Matter” memes. How someone could be torn and committed at the same time made little sense to me.
Where did they go?
Now I understand. Now I am completely torn and committed at the same time. The country I was raised to adore has some how become something I mostly abhor. My step-dad, the only dad I’ve had for 30 years, “unfriended” me and blocked me on Facebook as have several others who cant or wont get past their own opinions on the current state of the nation. They aren’t up for civil debates and don’t care to understand. Instead they hurl insults like “bleeding heart” as if all of our hearts aren’t made up of blood. They stay in their closed circles and re-post the same opinions with no interest in learning about the facts. While I don’t block or unfriend people, I can understand why they do. It’s easier to stay asleep, head buried in the sand.
However, I can and do attempt to understand their positions. Just as I am not Muslim yet I can empathize with their plight, misunderstood and just wanting a chance at the American Dream. I can understand the desperate need to be free to pursue life and liberty without fear of death even though I am not a person of color. I am not a veteran. However I can relate to a love of the flag and anthem for a country that is not everything it once claimed to be. Everything I once thought it was. My question is why cant they?
Why can’t they?
“They” being the seeming majority of white people my parents age. (70+) The veterans who were shunned, wrongfully accused of being baby killers and spit on. Those who for so long they were and continue to be ignored by the VA and the government they gave so much for. “They” are also many white people my older sisters ages. (50+) Angry about the new America and what it means for them. I am extremely confused by “they” that are younger than my 40+ years. These angry young white men and women with so much more opportunity than those below them and double the hatred of those who are truly underprivileged. I have so many questions for these folks yet they seem unwilling to answer. So I will list them here and hope that someone can shed some light for me.
Questions for my countrymen….
- If “All Lives Matter” then why cant you agree that Black Lives Matter and leave it at that?
- Why is kneeling for the National Anthem more important to you than listening to these individuals as they explain what they have witnessed and experienced in this nation of the “free” men?
- How do you explain women earning less than men for the same job to your daughters?
- What is so absolutely terrifying about gay marriage, trans rights, anything LGBTQ?
- Do you know what would really happen to us, to our economy, if all the “illegals” actually left?
- Have you ever even met a Muslim? *Follow up question: How would you know?
- Are you at all embarrassed by Trump’s lies and laziness?
- Does it not hurt you that children are being ripped from their parents, many of whom may never be reunited?
- How can you not see the NAZI in the White House? (Especially those of you who are children of WWII vets)
- Why is another woman’s abortion any of your business?
- What happened to the Land of the Free, Home of the Brave, when did we become Land of Prisons for Profits and Home of the Morally Corrupt?
- Why do you hate brown skinned people yet eat in their restaurants and let them work in your homes and watch your kids?
- Are guns really more important than school children?
- When and how did you turn into this?
- When will it stop?
Paul Hannah says
America is a constantly changing, morphing, learning,( often the hard way) and then we will correct. Don’t get me wrong, turning this country away from the darkness of trump and the certain destruction his legacy will be hard. All of these answers lie within us. We are all the same, in that we are all spiritual beings struggling to be earthly beings. It’s the job! Truly the art of ” Comfortable being Uncomfortable”. Reach out to the unknown, go where you lose comfort. Be there a fearless human on the verge of cultural revolution. We are the fucking cure, for what has collectively infected our country. Out with old broken shit!
I couldn’t agree more! We are at the crux of a new world. Any birth (or rebirth) is painful but we shall overcome. It may not feel like it now but we are lucky to witness the change.
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