Nobody has ever made the mistake of calling me a flag waving patriot. I didn't serve in the Military. I don't fly a flag at home on any day, much less holidays. I don't wear a flag lapel pin (well, if I wore suits and had lapels, I wouldn't wear one).
I also don't have a car. But if I did, I wouldn't have any stickers on it proclaiming my patriotism or telling you to support our troops, or a yellow, pink, purple or multi-colored ribbon of any sort. If I had a car, I'd prefer to keep the bumpers clean.
I do, however, vote in every election (city, state and federal). I think I missed one primary since 1978. For that, I get to bitch and moan as loudly as I want about whatever bug is up my ass on any particular day. So do you! Bitch all you like. Welcome to America; please proceed to your designated "Free Speech Zone" and yell a bunch. (Oops, that was a previous Administration...my bad.) Anyway, what all of that boils down to is that I meet the bare requirements for good citizenship and I'm certainly happy to have been born an American. I've got it pretty good here.
Here's what's got me all riled up. It's not news that a whole bunch of people kept their kids home from school yesterday, lest their kids' pointy little heads be invaded by subversive thoughts voiced by the President of the United States of America. A lot of schools completely wussed out and took the courageous stand of refusing to show the President's speech to their students. Excellent Civics lesson you jerks. (Why do I suspect these are the very same parents and schools who would celebrate the loudest if all kids were required to recite Christian prayers in public school.)
What's got me so worked up is that when I was a kid, we were taught that you respect the office of the Presidency...regardless of who is in Office at the moment. This certainly wasn't an easy lesson considering that from my ninth birthday to my fourteenth, Richard Nixon was in office. (Don't get me wrong, my parents didn't hesitate to let me hear what they thought was wrong with Mr. Nixon, but if he had made a televised speech to school children, or, God Forbid, an actual appearance at my school, I would not have been excused or kept home.) When I was in High School, Gerald Ford held meetings with Anwar Sadat in Jacksonville. My High School band, in which I played the baritone horn, was invited to play the National Anthem and Hail to the Chief for Ford's arrival. Nobody in my family exactly idolized President Ford, but it was an honor to be selected to greet him. He was the freakin' President! (Sadat didn't arrive until the following day and I did bow out of playing the Egyptian National Anthem to honor him. He hadn't yet signed any agreements with Israel and the Yom Kippur War was a fresh memory.)
So, getting back to those of you who dread the thought that your children might be damaged by listening to anything the President might have to say, I guess that's fine. That's your right. But please do me the favor of at least exhibiting a little moral honesty. Stop claiming that you're the patriot with every breath you take or with every bumper sticker you display. Take down your flags for the next few years (hopefully eight of them). You seem to think that this Presidency doesn't count somehow and that America has taken some temporary hiatus from being America. That's fine too. Drop out if you like. Just shut the hell up for the duration...or at least until you start campaigning for Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber.
I keep bitting back yelling out, "America, love it or leave it," these days. I think my sardonic smile might belay my true feelings though.
What he said
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