I’m Just Not Feeling it

“It’s not unpatriotic to denounce an injustice committed on our behalf, perhaps it’s the most patriotic thing we can do.”

― E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly

Happy birthday America! Two hundred forty-six years young. The grand experiment…the shining light on the hill…an example for the free world. I think we need a transfusion or take off our rose-colored glasses.

I’m just not feeling it. Oh, I went to the annual Bennett July Fourth eve cookout and gorged myself on ribs, pulled pork, and Carol Ann’s potato salad. But I’m not feeling the patriotism. Even after talking with a young man (57) who had spent the past eighteen years in China, I couldn’t feel it. It was just a backyard cookout to me, and I didn’t stick around for the fireworks. I’ll probably watch the fireworks on TV but then I will think about the fireworks on January 6, 2021,

I’m not feeling July 4, 2022. I am feeling a bit overstuffed from last night. That’s not a good thing either.

The Fourth of July is supposed to be a celebrated, a day to commemorate independence, a day of freedom…”let freedom ring.” It took seven years of war to gain that independence and when the gunpowder cleared there were many still not free. Should I dwell on that?

I try to take comfort in the history of our nation. We’ve rarely been totally united as a nation. Our history is rife with examples of discord, and few examples when we all marched together, in step for a cause. Somehow, we’ve muddled along despite the discord. Well, there was that four-year period during our Civil War. The best I can say is we have a voice that is allowed to express our discord.

The thought really is only responsible for a small portion of my malaise and indifference. I’ve been in my malaise since 2016 and it is darkening. It isn’t my malaise; it is my country’s malaise, my country’s failure to come together on anything. Rare is there common ground. It is us versus them and them are the traitors.

Malaise: an indefinite feeling of debility or lack of health often indicative of or accompanying the onset of an illness. A vague sense of mental or moral ill-being. That is according to Merriam-Webster and sums up how I feel about my country. I fear we are on our death bed.

A post came across one of my social media platforms that gave me pause, “I don’t think America deserves a birthday celebration this year.” That’s what I’m feeling. I’m also feeling that there might not be many more birthdays to celebrate…at least in our country’s present form. America the Beautiful may have an incurable illness and facing life support.

I read a quote made by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “When a whole nation is roaring patriotism at the top of its voice, I am fain to explore the cleanness of its hands and the purity of its heart.” Fain is a somewhat archaic word that means pleased or willing.

I hear and see posts from people who, by their own voice, call themselves “patriots” and point fingers at people with opposing opinions calling them traitors. This accusation is not even implied, it is boldly printed or yelled. It is on their standards as they march on city streets, wrapping themselves in Old Glory, their faces covered lest someone might see who the “patriots” are. I never thought I would be accused of being a traitor for doing what I thought was right…even if that thought was wrong.

These people are wedges. If you ever spent time splitting wood, you know the function of a wedge…to split. I believe people are being indoctrinated, nay…groomed to be wedges. Whomever is responsible is doing a bang-up job. I’ve never seen us so splintered…not since 1968 and I think 1968 falls short of the mark when compared to present day, July 4, 2022.

On a personal note, I used the words indoctrinated and groomed purposely. I see it all the time when reading about the educational shenanigans in my home state. Mostly they are directed toward my former peers, teachers.

Along with Critical Race Theory and the word “woke,” these are dog whistles or buzz words to further turn people against each other. They are used to wedge apart teachers and parents and liberals and conservatives.

To what end? To destroy public education in favor of for-profit private schools? That is what I think. Just “follow the money.” Propaganda ads reigned supreme as “big money” from out of state fueled one of the sides and our deep red state ate it up. The same is true when the government gets involved. I am so happy I’m a retired teacher. I guess I could retire as an American.

Last quote and I’ll quit beating a dead mule.

“… patriotism lies in supporting the values the country is supposed to cherish: equality, life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness. When our government compromises, undermines, or attacks those values, it is being unpatriotic.” Howard Zinn, WW II vet, historian, playwright.

I believe January 6, did just that. January 6th compromised, undermined, and attacked our democracy. As I have watched the congressional committee my depression has grown. I consider myself to be a sane man most of the time. I don’t know how anyone could watch the videos from the January 6 Insurrection and not believe it was exactly that…an attempted insurrection.

It was an attack on our democracy and I believe on some level, planned. I don’t know how you can question what occurred.  I don’t know how you can question what the congressional committee has unearthed.  

Yet people do. They question the election, the motivations, come up with more and more bizarre theories. My malaise grows when I think that many applauded as they watched it unfold on their televisions.

Happy Birthday these dis-United States of America. I’m not sure you were ever as great as I thought you were but I’m damn sure you are not as great as you could be.

Some will say, “If you are so unhappy, maybe you should move to another country.” Well, my retort is unprintable.

I would be remiss if I did not mention that over half our population lost the right to control their own bodies this past week. I fear more losses will occur.

Don Miller’s authors page can be found at https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM?fbclid=IwAR2YOthoDURrlEvGPVx2PXKdydIqxQqHnp9KNhjdK8ez-tm8sQjz8C4gUPo

3 thoughts on “I’m Just Not Feeling it

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