“THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman….”Thomas Paine, The Crisis (19 December 1776)
So, I just had a stupid argument with my wife, and no, being “RIGHT” doesn’t make it any less stupid. On Sunday, the Sons of the American Revolution needs Color Guard members to march in a parade in Malvern. I see this as a great act of patriotism and community building. She is concerned that the same sort of people who stormed the Capitol building will be there. She may be right but I know there will also be young kids; old people; poor people; rich people; White, Black, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American people; straight people; gay people; Republicans, Democrats, Independents (maybe even a few Communists); new immigrants (some may even be undocumented); and at least four men whose ancestry dates back to the birth of our country. WE ARE ALL AMERICANS and this is an event for all Americans.
Over the last several years, the extremist in our country have sought to claim our symbols and patriotic ideals as their own. Ask yourself this: Would these people have crossed the river with Washington’s Army, and army that was objectively beaten in 1776? Would these people have fought to the last man in San Antonio in order to create a new nation? Would these people have resisted the onslaught of Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg after a demoralizing artillery barrage? Would these people have marched with Martin Luther King on “Bloody Sunday”? Americans, true Americans, would answer YES to all of these questions. These are the people who own the symbols of America, not a political party, not a religious sect, not a class or demographic group and certainly not to people who want revert our nation to a more barbaric time.
Yes, the extremists want to usurp the Betsy Ross Flag and sully it with their ideals of slavery. Yes, the extremists want you to believe that public shows of patriotism are somehow validation of THEIR vision of America. Unless we, the diverse, inclusive, and welcoming people of America maintain OUR ownership of American Patriotism they will take it from us. When the General Howe wanted to dissolve our community militias in Massachusetts, when General Santa Anna wanted to do disarm the Texans in Gonzalez, when Field Marshal Model planned to crush the 1st Airborne at Arnhem, and when Donald Trump ordered the storming of the US Capitol in 2020, they counted on the assumption we that would stand down when facing overwhelming force. AMERICANS DON’T BACK DOWN.
Better men than those leading the extreme right have tried to take my country. Like those who came before, they will fail unless we are foolish enough to surrender. Don’t be a “Sunshine Patriot.” This may be the “times that try men’s souls,” but if we remember the real reasons, we salute our flag and march in community parades, we can weather this storm and make the discontent of today an insignificant footnote in the history of country that has safeguarded democracy of the last 245 years.
I am marching on Sunday for the real Americans who want to come to Malvern. If the lunatics want to try to take my flag, they would be well warned that like John Henry Moore at Gonzalez, when I say “Come and Take It,” I do mean to put up a real nasty fight.
Perhaps its a Jewish thing but am marching for a country best remembered by the words Emma Lazarus in The New Colossus.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries sheInscription on the Statue of Liberty
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
You see while all these fools are running around talking about making America great again– WE, the people of America, ARE MAKING IT GREATER AND GREATER EVERY DAY!