Thursday, July 3, 2008
And on the 5th - Do Something
I spent a big part of today (Thursday the 3rd) at the VFW post.
We all got to talking about Independence Day and patriotism.
One of guys mentioned how sick he was of flag waving and bumper ribbons and endless talk of Obama wearing or not wearing a lapel pin. He’s having a really hard time with the VA and would much rather hear about that. He can’t pay his bills and he’s terribly worried about his daughter and her kids – her husband is on his second tour and she’s having a rough time holding it all together.
"Our country is not the only thing to which we owe our allegiance. It is also owed to justice and to humanity. Patriotism consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that our country shall be righteous as well as strong." – James Bryce
When he mentioned not being able to pay his bills one of the others talked about how hard it was to stick it out with his part-time job. He needed it to pay for gas and heating oil and he was damned if he was going to lose his house at this point in his life. He wondered aloud who was responsible for this mess.
“In any free society where terrible wrongs exist, some are guilty - all are responsible”. Abraham Heschel
I said I was sick of looking backwards, unless there was going to be impeachment, I’d rather look forward and hang on to some hope for things to get better. My second job is killing me too.
“Hope is like a road in the country; there was never a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence.” ~Lin Yutang
We drifted for a spell into a piss and moan session about gas prices and then I brought up the need to explore and invest in alternative fuel and one of the other guys talked about how it would make sense if there was help to buy a hybrid, to install solar panels. So many of us want to do these things and can’t afford to. One of the less free thinking guys said we should just drill everywhere and anywhere. A few of us tried to bring up coastal erosion and the importance of sea life and plant life but he just wanted the price of gas to go down.
“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” – Abraham Lincoln
Someone asked what McCain’s stand on coastal drilling was and I laughed and said I assumed he believed whatever Chuck Norris told him to believe. A few chuckles, a few more chuckles than usual – they’re used to me. Plus I make great Italian food and that gets you a lot of airtime.
“McCain or Obama, they both suck, liars and self serving bastards – I don’t trust any of them” – anonymous veteran sitting next to Dianne.
"All men profess honesty as long as they can. To believe all men honest would be folly. To believe none so is something worse." - John Quincy Adams
The beer came out but I declined. I had to drive two of the guys home and I’d already taken a pain killer for my back. I was asked about my ongoing battle with the insurance company but I wanted the mood to stay mellow so I just shrugged.
“Healthcare is falling apart, those ****ing illegals are taking this whole country down” – our town’s version of Lou Dobbs
I suggested that much of the blame for the state of healthcare rested with the large corporations that bought up hospitals and with the drug companies and the insurance conglomerates. Someone else mentioned that virtually all of the men he had served with had been born outside the US or were first generation American.
"And how stands the city on this winter night? More prosperous, more secure, and happier than it was 8 years ago. But more than that: After 200 years, two centuries, she still stands strong and true on the granite ridge, and her glow has held steady no matter what storm. And she's still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home." – Ronald Reagan
I mentioned that my business was better at the moment; fewer projects were going to India and China now that years of quality issues were beginning to have noticeable effects on data validity. A few of the guys got all riled up about other countries taking our jobs and as often happens the people of those countries came under attack. I pointed out that it was American corporations getting huge incentives to establish offshore offices. I deal with the workers in these offices – they’re not getting paid fairly and they’re not getting benefits.
"He is a poor patriot whose patriotism does not enable him to understand how all men everywhere feel about their altars and their hearthstones, their flag and their fatherland." – Harry Emerson Fosdick
“So you’re gonna vote for Obama?” asked Lou Dobbs. I said I was. “And you’re sure he can be trusted?” I said I was. “And you think he can make things better?” I said I did.
“I’ll never be able to handle a President named Barack Obama” – the last statement from Lou Dobbs before the beer took over.
“My parents shared not only an improbable love; they shared an abiding faith in the possibilities of this nation. They would give me an African name, Barack, or blessed, believing that in a tolerant America your name is no barrier to success.” Barack Obama
It was getting late and I sensed an all night poker game and PC porn fest was just dying to break out as soon as “the lady” left. On the way to the car one of the guys draped his arm around my shoulder …
“That’s the trouble today babe, nobody does anything. Have a great 4th kid. And maybe on the 5th we’ll all put down the flags we’re waving and do something” – my buddy J – 40 years as a soldier.
I got the image from Wikipedia – It is Joseph Ambrose, an 86-year-old WW1 veteran, attending the dedication day parade for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. He is holding the flag that covered the casket of his son, who was killed in the Korean War.