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Long May It Wave

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We live in a great country. On our worst day, we have many other nations beat simply because of the freedoms we have to complain about those things we do not like or agree with.  So, freedom is what makes this country great. 

What also makes us great is our diversity.  Each one of us is different; unique in fact.  We are men, women, boys, girls, gay, straight, transgender, born here, immigrated here.  We are as strong as each of us bringing what we have to the table.

Politically, we are a hot mess.  Passions/tempers have run high as the political arena becomes more intensified and those who previously interacted with one another quite amicably now disagree vehemently on Facebook and in person.  The side effects of this have been name calling, mob-mentality groupings of us vs them, and even, in some cases, sabotage.  This bad behavior (I don’t believe) is exclusive to one side or the other.  Rather, as in most groups of people, the bad ones stand out.

I am greatly saddened by this division in our nation.  In particular, I am saddened when I see someone disrespecting the flag.  Oh, I’m not a die-hard patriot although I would like to consider myself someone who loves this country.  I was not raised in a military family.  But, what I have always felt about the flag is that a tiny little part of it represented me….I’m one of the billions of Americans that make up the USA and thus, that flag represents all of us.  ALL OF US.

Megan Rapinoe, a very outspoken member of the US women’s soccer team represented the United States in the World Cup.  They achieved back-to-back championships – which is no small feat.  I’m not a “fan” of soccer.  but could not help but watch the game and catch the fervor that was shared by all that saw them dominate the field.    Then, the unthinkable happened.  It was an instant; it almost went unnoticed.  But the flag hit the ground and another team member quickly picked it up.  Now, after watching the replay of this incident over and over, here is what I saw.  Three girls (the one in the middle being the outspoken Megan Rapinoe).  The girl on the right if you are facing them, seeing a photo op for the three of them without giving a moment’s thought, drops the flag and along with the others goes quickly into their rehearsed celebratory scrunch and rise…what I would call a cheer.  Megan Rapinoe no more stomped on that flag than she did drop it.  If not for her presence in the moment, it would not have been perceived as the slap it was (in my opinion).

As for Megan Rapinoe, her kneeling during the anthem does bother me.  I defend her right to do it – as much as I do not like it.  But what I don’t like is this:  She has spoken on numerous occasions about her dislike of Trump and her discomfort with the campaign slogan “Make America Great Again!” stating that she felt it meant that we should bring America back to where it was before people could be comfortably openly gay, etc.  Well, as someone who voted for Trump – that was not at all the reason I voted for him.

What “I” interpreted as Make America Great Again is let’s return to when we had dreams of making our country great.  Let’s strive to do and be the best we can at everything we set out to do.  I was alive in the 50s and 60s and though I look back on my childhood with fondness, there’s no way in hell I would like to go back.  There were race riots.  There were protests against the Vietnam war and many of the neighborhood young boys were shipped off, some of whom were never seen again.

America to me is all of us.  We stick together.  We have each other’s back and being American means something to each of us.  That means, when those diplomats on foreign posts repeatedly asked for increased security and got ignored, we failed them as Americans.  We don’t leave each other hanging out to dry.  Not now, not ever!  So, no matter who was running on the opposite ticket, that’s who I was going to vote for.  Likewise, when you kneel during the anthem, you are kneeling against the entire country; not Trump, not homophobia, not religious zealots, EVERY AMERICAN.  Worse yet (in my opinion) is that there are hundreds of thousands of Americans who have sacrificed everything to protect our freedom.  They followed orders; stayed away from their families for months or even years at a time (to say nothing of those who waited for them to return)…and some of whom returned in pieces or to be laid rest in a grave.  You want to make a statement that you are pissed at President Trump?  Make it.  You certainly have the floor.  Microphones are being put in front of you each and every day.  Have at it.  But don’t throw all of us under the bus in the process.

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