Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Why I Still Have Faith

I'm not a man given to sentimental notions of patriotism. My patriotism is the patriotism of a man with a wayward younger brother, chiding his mistakes and exhorting him to do better. Time and time again, I've been disappointed. I've given a lot for my country, and more often than not I feel like what I've given was squandered.

It isn't often that I feel a sense of pride in my country, or the people in it. When people ask me why, I need only point to every yellow-magnet on every giant SUV. I need only point to those who would condemn abortion, but support the chair. I need only point to those who would rather see a woman carrying a gun, than a packet of birth control. I need only point to those who would have thanked me for my service, while another veteran went homeless.

But sometimes, just sometimes, I'm proven wrong. Every so often, when I least expect it, I'm given reason to have pride in my country.


The man in the video above is a World War II vet, and lifelong Republican, now in the last years of his life, speaking at a hearing in Maine to decide whether gays should have the right to marry. This man gave blood and sweat for our country, and when asked why he would support equality for gays and lesbians, his response?

"What do you think our boys fought for at Omaha Beach? I haven't seen much, so much blood and guts, so much suffering, much sacrifice. For what? For freedom and equality. "

Like I said, I'm not given to sentimental displays of patriotism. I don't think of our flag, the way some do, and get choked up. But hearing this man speak, his voice wavering with age; hearing this man, whose sacrifice makes my own look like a pittance, and to hear him speak for those whose voices so often go unheard... well...

Well, it chokes me up a bit.

This... this is why I love my country. This is why I still have faith.


Seven of Six said...

Milo, No cheap sentiments. Still love your writing.

Twinky P* said...

Nicely done, Milo. I've been trying to concentrate on these little pockets of humanity rather than the big picture of the ugly American 'cos it's too depressing - thanks for another example of why we fight.

Judith said...

My pride is in the men and women who get up every morning to face grind, sweat and toil. The common man who, through his own endeavors, struggles and is victorious over a system that is rigged to work against him.

Judith said...

How right you are Twinky. The Ugly American is alive and doing quite well.