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.


ETK said...

Dianne - that was both beautiful and sad. So human. Thank you.

Betty said...

Great post. I sometimes think that things have gotten so off track that it will be impossible to right them, again. And, then I think, "One thing at a time. That's the way to do it." Maybe.

Dianne said...

thanks etk - human is all we've got.

I know Betty. I often feel the same way. But you're right, one thing at a time. Just that everyone has to participate.

Shelly said...

Thanks for a great post. I had a long lunch with a friend today, our conversation sounded a lot like yours. I treasure friends like that who are willing to "go there" because there are a lot of people who won't. The "Head in the Sand" crowd. Most of them have government jobs....hmmmmmm.

Jay said...

I keep thinking that someday things will get bad enough that people will stop swallowing all the crap that our government shoves at us. Maybe it's finally happening.

I don't know though. People don't give up their old beliefs easily. They've got everyone stereotyped and labeled and that makes it easier for them so they just believe that things are exactly as they have always imagined them to be.

We'll see this fall I guess.

Raven said...

This is a beautiful post from start to finish. I love all the quotes and the hopeful ending. Don't know if you got to read my poem of the week. It's sort of the same theme in its own way.

Hope you have a great 4th of July. Thank you for this wise and beautiful post.

bobbie said...

Dianne, this is a great post, and I'm going to try to send some people to read it. I have few friends left, here in the real world, but that's why I keep blogging. I keep thinking maybe there's some way I can influence a few people in cyberspace to stop and think and to drop some of their old habits of prejudice. I don't manage to be as articulate as this post of yours, but I keep trying

Too many of us slide through life, accepting whatever we are told by the Powers That Be. It isn't just the heads of our country. I see it in the State, and I see it locally. It goes on and on until finally one day we look around and ask "What happened?"

OK. this comment is growing into a fullblown post. I'll stop now.
But thank you for this.

bobbie said...

Oh yes. And before I forget - Congratulations on your Creative Photography! Another well-deserved award!

the walking man said...

We crossed the 200 days left threshold yesterday (7/3)another milestone in the countdown to change.
199 to go.

The hyper nationalism and commercialism of the flag have prompted me to not display mine among those that do not understand its meaning and what it is representative of.

Pagan Sphinx said...

Thank you for this, it is beautifully written, poignant and it's from real life itself.

Especially, thank you for doing all you do for the veterans.

I must link to this post, if I may.

Namaste, my friend.

Dianne said...

shelly - I have little patience left for head in the sand folks. too much is urgent and I want my future grandchildren to live a good life. thanks shelly

jay - you're right about people not giving up their belief's easily! but it is possible with real conversation - not the crap the media spins, 'the news - their ultimate reality game show'
I am both excited and anxious about this November

raven - thank you for such kind words.

bobbie - there's a real world!? lol
you can full blown post here any time, your voice is one I always look to.

mark - we did the same thing - took the flag down once Georgie made it his own personal symbol. we have a small display inside with stuff from my son's time working at ground zero.

Dianne said...

pagan - of course you may link - I'd be honored.
there is noting more real than "my guys" and I discovered their willingness to entertain opposing opinions to be magnificent - they, unlike W, truly respect what they, unlike W, fought for.
Peace my friend

DivaJood said...

Pagan Sphinx sent me here - this is a beautiful post. I am in awe.

pink dogwood said...

Dianne, This is so powerful

“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

I am going to save this forever.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Bob-kat said...

Well said as ever. The quotes are so apt. We are all responsible for the society we live in, for the world we inhabit and for the future of it. I think the most important part of this is to care about things. If we care about something we are more apt to act.

Sparkling Red said...

*standing ovation*

Dianne said...

divajood - thank you. and welcome - I really appreciate the comment

it is a powerful quote pink dogwood, I'm so glad I found it and I'm pleased that it meant something to you - thank you

bobkat - so true, as hard as it is at times we have to keep caring about what matters

thank you sparkling red

Jeff B said...

The 4th is a day to remember our past, the 5th is a day to put into action our future.

Loved this post.

Dusty said...

PS sent me here and I am damn happy she did. Thank you Dianne for a thought-provoking post.

May our next 4th of July be better.

Reb said...

This is a great post Dianne. Have a good Independence Day.

Tammy said...

What a moving picture! Happy 4th of July!

Lisa said...

Beautiful, Dianne. Just beautiful.

Lisa said...

happy 4th sweetie. i could say a lot about your post, but mainly, go ahead and cry to me about your health bills/issues. i'm the choir. and if anyone thinks that a girl like me is ever going to come up with 1/2 million dollars, i guess they'd better hope i win the lottery. yes, we have insurance...

anyway. do something. i wish i knew what to do. i do little things, and help out in little ways all the time but as far as making a difference i always feel like i'm a little fish in a huge ocean and what could i possibly do... that's why i don't normally complain about the state of things. i don't feel like i have a right to complain unless i have answers for what i'm complaining about.


Ed said...

I came here under the recommendation of Pagan Sphinx. Excellent post. A lot to think about.

karey m. said...

this was brilliant. i'll be back a few more times to re-read it.

Dianne said...

jeff - thank you! I love
"to put into action our future"

dusty - thank you for the visit. I'll join you in being hopeful about next July 4.

reb - thanks!! hipe you had a great day.

tammy - I know! look at his eyes, sad and tired yet gentle and strong and his straight and proud posture and the way he clutches his son's flag. he reminded me of the VFW guys. I love them and wish, after all they have done, that their lives were more comfortable.

lisa - so nice to see you here! thanks.

lisa (butterfly) - so many lisas!!
little fish get the job done. when I first went by the VFW I did so because of a friend's Dad. And I was a bit intimidated by all the medals and plaques and flags. and I thought they were as opposite to me as can be in life and political view, and many are. BUT I kept going back and fell in love and they respect my "putting her actions where her mouth is" - I KNOW I have opened perceptions. And that, on a larger scale, enables people to change the world.

Dianne said...

ed - thank you for the visit and for your kind words.

karey - "brilliant" coming from you makes me feel wonderful.

Suzanne said...

This truly is a wonderful post and thank you for taking the time to write it for us to read. I hope you have a great weekend.

jt said...

This is beautiful, Dianne. I hope you don't mind that I linked to it. (If you do, just let me know and I'll take it down.)

I hope you're having a wonderful weekend. Thank you for being you!

Dianne said...

suzanne - thank you! It was a labor of love to write. I hope your weekend is a good one as well.

jt - the way you described me made me blush lol
my words are yours - I'm honored that you feel they're worthy of sharing.

fermicat said...

Interesting conversation, but sad as well. I hope at least some people will be moved to stretch their minds a bit in November and be open to something different than the usual.

Anndi said...

That was a wonderfully thought provoking post.

Kimmie said...

With faith as small as a mustard seed...anything is possible. American's need to have not only "Faith" but also "Hope". I believe we can do it, we can change all that has gone wrong and make it right again. One little fish can turn into an ocean of progress.

Dianne, I was so completely moved by your post. How beautifully you put this together. Thank You So Much, it really made me think.

Dianne said...

fermicat - I'm hoping as well!

thank you anndi :)

kimmie - an ocean of progress starting with one little fish is a lovely thought. you're a good soul kimmie.

Jackie said...

What a fantastic post - beautifully written and crafted. The juxtaposition of "quotes" and "quotes" was just great. Thank you for making me stop and think, and remember.

Dianne said...

thanks jackie - I hoped the quotes would make it more human and I really appreciate your comment

Mary said...


There is much food for thought in this post. Though I am from Canada, I'm watching the US election closely.

Take care, my friend. Enjoyed my visit.


Dianne said...

thank you Mary

Knight said...

I know I was here. Did I not leave a comment? I know there was a lot of head shaking and wishing I had been there. Whenever you talk about these things my heart swells up with hope again.

Dianne said...

knight - thank you kid! that makes me feel so good. I could have sworn you commented earlier! so now we're communicating via psyche!? cool!

CG said...

I found myself weeping after reading your post. The world may be a very imperfect place but thank god there are great people in it, and that in our respective homelands we still enjoy relative freedom to express how we feel.

Dianne said...

cg - very beautifully stated :)