This weekend, small town parades decorated the American landscape with the stars and stripes of patriotism. Age-worn veterans flashed back to bloody memories of foreign lands and lost comrades. Widows and widowers caressed the banner presented to them at their lover’s funeral. And kids of all ages asked for the thousandth time, “When’s daddy coming home?”
For the middle class non-military family, Memorial Day is defined by backyard cookouts, beaches, and the day off work or school. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating, but often times the celebration becomes the definition.
For example, today I talked with a friend’s sister, whose supertan complexion evidenced a day at the beach. When I mentioned something about Memorial Day, she genuinely received a revelation, “Oh, that’s why we had today off!”
“Really?…..” I said playfully with a hint of seriousness. Her mom and sisters teased about her blonde hair, and I just rolled my eyes as I continued setting the table.
Then, I got to thinkin.’ A majority of Americans act exactly like my friend’s sister. Except, as we get older, we get more opinionated without ever studying our history or our constitution. We vote for a variety of reasons: Some of us vote for the most Pro-Life or Pro-Choice candidate. Many vote for the union-backed or small business candidate. And yet others cast their ballot for short term economics and job growth. Wake up, America! Those aren’t the real issues.
We’ve become like the “cool” kids in the back of the classroom, who party, dish out the know-it-all wisecracks, and brag to each other about how they barely passed. We’ve used cliff notes for too long, and it’s time for us to remember what our liberty is all about. The freedom we enjoy in this “one nation under God” is a gift that is packaged with a large amount of responsibility.
The vote in 2012 should not be a vote for or against abortion. It should not be a vote for or against unions. And it should not be a vote for or against homosexuality, drugs, or Obama. Do your research, and cast your ballot based on your interpretation of the Constitution. What is the role of federal government in our society and abroad? That’s the underlying question. The Constitutional answer should command our vote.
If you’re caught up in the whole Republican vs. Democrat charade, don’t be. Start digging for the foundation. Remember and read the documents and ideas that this nation was founded upon. Many soldiers, who have fought and died bravely in battle, were sent to protect the lives and liberty of “we the people.” Others were ordered to go to their deaths unjustly to protect the interests of people in power because “we the people” bought into the political machine with ignorant, patriotic fervor.
Today, I vow to remember the sacrifice of both and to cast my ballot for the constitutional liberty of “we the people.” Otherwise, my forgetful “days at the beach” will result in less meaningful discussion and more senseless war.