Monday, June 20, 2011

Busy Days and Yes, Some of That Not So Humble Opinion

The busyness of summer hasn't stopped yet. Nope. We've managed to get busier, not just because of the activities we have our kids in---baseball for the middle son, and scouts for all three, but we seem to go after busyness with a club to find MORE to add to our plates. The pace of this summer vacation from school can't be accused of being laconic. Oh no. There's nothing slow about this crazy pace we've set for ourselves. In fact, I'm pretty certain we're breaking all the speeding laws of the land. I feel like we're going 75 in a school zone.

However, maybe, we'll get to pause and take a deep breath here in a few weeks.


I won't hold my breath, because I don't think blue is a becoming shade for skin.

So today's busyness involves scouts. Namely, sitting on top of a kid to get a merit badge workbook done in time to go to a special class this evening. This is a Big, Major Merit Badge, and an Eagle required badge. Citizenship in the Nation. I think it's awesome. The kid? Well. It IS summer time. And it's nice out. And he could be outside playing with his friends. Instead, he's cooped up in the house, working his fingers to the bone to Git 'er Done.

One of the tasks he must complete is to choose a significant speech. Several suggestions were given, the final being "Any inaugural speech given by a US President." I found President John F. Kennedy's famous "Ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country" inaugural speech and printed it out for him. Now, this is pretty deep stuff, if you ask me, so I read the speech so I could better help him discuss the importance of the speech at the time and what it means now, should he ask for my help. And in reading it, I was struck by many things that President Kennedy said that DO still apply today. Honestly, this speech could've been given yesterday, rather than 50 years ago, and it would still be relevant. Whatever your political leanings are, this speech speaks to us all, and in many places, for us all. And not just to Americans, but citizens of the entire world.

And yes, I felt moved to comment upon it, to pull the parts of the speech out that spoke to me, and to share them. Why? Couldn't tell you. Why does the moon control the tides? Why does the sun rise in the east and set in the west? Why must we keep up with the Kardashians and why must we know how Bristol Palin---how to phrase this delicately?---"gave it up?" And if anyone could explain the attraction of Justin Bieber to me, I'll work on an explanation as to why I felt compelled to share my not-so-humble opinion with ya'll today.

"The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life..." In reference to how our America is different than the America of our Founding Fathers.

"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and success of liberty." I think these past ten years of this new century demonstrate this phrase so well that it's almost superfluous for me to even comment on it. Our service men and women and their families have paid the price, borne the burden, and met the hardship---all for our strongly held ideology of liberty. Have you thanked a veteran or active duty soldier lately? THANK YOU! It's not enough, but it's the best I have and it comes from the heart.

"Finally, to those nations who would make themselves our adversary, we offer not a pledge but a request: that both sides begin anew the quest for peace, before the dark powers of destruction unleashed by science engulf all humanity in planned or accidental self-destruction." Can't we ALL just give peace a chance? Yeah. Let's hold hands and sing protest songs. Let's have warm fuzzy, idealistic moments. Why is hatred so ingrained in the various populations around that world that we all forget we have the greatest thing in common? We're all HUMAN and we're all here together. Despite regional, religious and political differences, we all bleed red.

"So let us begin anew---remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate."

"Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us."
Gee, I think this applies to our own dual party political system here in the good ol' US of A. Why can't we work from what we have in COMMON, rather than what we have in difference? (Yeah, I'll just go back to my hippie perch and croon some more songs. Too bad I don't play the guitar.)

"Let both sides unite to heed in all corners of the earth the command of Isaiah--to 'undo the heavy burdens...and to let the oppressed go free.'"

"In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than in mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course. Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty. The graves of young Americans who answered the call to service surround the globe."
Doesn't that just chill you to the marrow that we've been involved in some sort of conflict/war every generation since our founding? It does me.

"Now the trumpet summons us again---not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are---but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, 'rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation'---a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease and war itself." Oh, there we go again, with what we have in common.

"In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility--I welcome it. I do not believe that any of use would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it---and the glow from that fire can truly light the world." We all have our own challenges to face in each generation, and it is up to us to face our challenges without shirking them, just as those who've gone before us faced theirs. We can be an example to the generations that come after us---are we being the best example we can be? Are we "that fire [that] can truly light the world" or are we a less than stellar example? Only time will tell and yes, our generation will be judged through the eyes of history.

"And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you---ask what you can do for your country."
A call to community service---if we don't speak out, if we don't do our part to make things better, do we have the right to protest?

"My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man."
Again. We're all in this big boat called "Planet Earth" together. It is up to us to make the world a better, safer place. Regrettably, I don't see it becoming safer in my lifetime, or any immediate generation, because we are still hung up on geography and the deities to whom we pray/feel we must somehow appease, and how that makes us different.

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