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Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘patriot’

Sunday Musings 9/28/14

Sunday musings…

1) Happystance. Pleasant coincidence. Should be a word.

2) Hanlon’s Razor. “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”

3) Jeter. Honor and dignity. Class. A winner above all. Pick your superlative, really.

For me it’s a toss-up as to whether Derek Jeter is the most significant professional athlete of our time or the least. How could that possibly be, you ask? Jeter is the antithesis of the drug-infested, narcissistic culture of the privileged professional, a throwback to the time of Stan Musial, or maybe more accurately Joe DiMaggio. By offering us such a stark contrast to so very many of his contemporaries Jeter is the most significant pro to grace our screens for the last 20 years.

The fact that so few other professional athletes in any sport have followed his lead, and that we as a viewing public have needed such epic examples of bad behavior (and so many!) before we either noticed the behavior, or for that matter Jeter, renders The Captain but a footnote in the arena of Sport as Civic Religion.

Which in the end says much more about us than it does about Derek Jeter.

4) Patriotism. If you are not a CrossFitter you might wonder why one would take about patriotism, or being a patriot today. Makes sense to all of us, though. We meet a new CrossFit “Hero” today, a perfect time to think about patriotism.

The simplest and most accurate definition of a patriot is one who loves, supports, and defends his/her country. Full stop. Patriotism of this sort is quite different from the false patriotism manufactured by, say, Putin, whose call to a return of Russian glory is more about self-interest than fidelity to his motherland.

In a country such as the United States (or Canada) that lacks the advantage of shared ancestry and history that extends to the beginning of civilization, patriotism is often demonstrated by its smaller alter ego “civic duty” or devotion. In the absence of ancient commonalities a citizen must consciously choose to seek to come together with his/her fellow citizens as a concrete manifestation of patriotism.

How do we do this? How do we encourage a greater degree of patriotism from a broader swath of American citizenry? I think three simple things would get us off to a good start. First, let’s stop giving a free pass to people who are enjoying all of the benefits of citizenry and yet miss no opportunity to denigrate all things American. You know who they are. The so-called cultural elite, especially those in the academic community who never miss a nit to pick, always on the side of putting down America and things American? There’s a difference between constructive criticism in an attempt to promote a better country to love and an open contempt for not only country but the very idea of love and support for your country. Why should these people be our national thought leaders if they care so little for our nation?

By the same token, too much emphasis is placed on issues and ideas on the margin at the expense of elemental, more global ones. Take, for example, the Pledge of Allegiance. Why is it an issue at all whether or not the words “…under G0d,…” are in our national declaration of fidelity to country? The Pledge is one of our patriotism, our love and support for our nation. This would constitute such an overwhelming majority of the purpose behind the Pledge that we should relegate the distraction of the debate on these two words to the periphery of the discussion where it belongs. We ought neither to allow ourselves the luxury of such selfish discussions, nor others the privilege of driving discussions away from the importance of such a primary issue, patriotism.

Lastly, we should return to a time when each of us made it a point to think of the success of our country as something to which we, as individuals, must attend. Pride in nation and sincere hope for national success must no longer be something looked down upon, but rather something that each of us learns and practices. Our leaders must begin to work toward more than their own self-interest and that of their peers, but also to that of country. For the rest of us, it is enough to look at our own little parts of the country and make whatever small effort we can to make it just a tiny bit better. We should call out those who seek to tear down our nation and make them uncomfortable in that effort, as we should lift up those we see working for a better, more unified whole.

Patriotism is neither trite nor trivial. All it might take is to think for a moment before you act or speak about being a patriot, of supporting and loving and defending your country, even when you are trying to make it a better one.

I’ll see you next week…

Postscript: Deny The Bombers A Legacy

There’s a certain story I’d like to read or hear following the harrowing week in Boston. A postscript, if you will. There’s also one in which I have precisely zero interest. My bet: you feel the same.

Do tell me about the heroes. Tell me about the men and women who turned and walked TOWARD the blast. Talk to me about the civilians who chose not to run away, but to run TOWARD the chaos. Let me know their stories. What were they thinking? What is their back story? How did they come to be at that spot at that time on that day? Make sure to follow-up and tell me how they are doing now, too. Don’t let me forget them either as the white, hot glare of the moment cools inexorably into the impersonal embers of history.

Tell me the stories of our public servants. How they worked around the clock to save the victims, went without sleep to find the perps. Give me the details of how a city’s doctors and nurses and other healthcare workers performed better under pressure than any episode of M*A*S*H, and did so without ever really, truly training for such carnage. Who are they? What did they sacrifice? Make sure that I don’t forget them, either, once the video fades to black.

Impress me with the work of our public safety personnel. The Boston city cops and their suburban brethren in Watertown, Cambridge et al. The Mass State troopers and the FBI agents. Tell me about the teamwork, the absence of turf wars between the services. How everyone was united in the single-minded pursuit of the demons who created such horror. Let me know some of their stories, too, at least the ones that aren’t secret without jeopardizing their ability to do their jobs. When all is said and done keep the stories of the cops, the troopers, and the special agents alive so that we may cheer their bravery, resolve, and results.

But don’t…don’t tell me anything about the cretins who did this other than that which might be used to stop others from following in their footsteps. I care not for their troubles. I care not about their back stories. Tell me only those things about the background story that apply to the hunt for any accomplices, any others who lent succor to these two who had such little regard for life that they purposely sought not only to end it, but to ravage it. No, I don’t wish to hear anything about their wretched lives or their warped rationalizations, nor do I care to see their roles paraded in front of our nation as the survivor is tried. Let us learn what we must to exterminate their verifiable “supply chain”, and then redact any mention of their very lives.

Bury them, and all mention of them. Deprive them of any legacy whatsoever. We cannot erase the reality of their acts, nor can we erase the memories of this tragedy. What is once seen or heard cannot be unseen, or unheard. The cold, hard facts of the story will live on, as they must. The stories of the victims and their families, as well as the law enforcement officers, healthcare workers and civilian heroes,  can live on through the conscious will of we, the people. But not the monsters. Not the story of the men who did this. No, don’t tell me their stories. Don’t write or speak or show their names. Deny them the very history of their existence.

Deny them their name.