May 26, 2013

Thoughts on Memorial Day

FROM 4 YEARS AGO ON THIS BLOG (re-post below). Not much has changed since then. President Obama "ended the Iraq war" and is drawing the Afghanistan war to a close. GITMO is still open and the drone-strike program are going on. Attacks on civil liberties occur in our country by our government and advocated by several groups who believe conformity, no dissent, and the Dark Ages are seem appropriate for an advanced 21st century liberal democracy.

The ancient city-state of Athens invented democracy (a different form than ours) and a system whose foundations were based on certain conditions (legal, political, cultural) that produced a great wealth of what we called today the cradle of western civilization. But, Athens fell because of its citizens who became arrogant, lazy, and believed the demagogues. Wrong choices & decisions led to catastrophes and crises; and the more crises the worse the decisions people made. The conditions that made Athens successful were replaced and, of course, the outcome changed too.


Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of the summer and perhaps makes Americans observe a day of remembrance. But, what is it we're supposed to observe, specifically? Everyone has a sense of patriotism, though, there are many expressions of such. Sensible patriotism means to make sure that we don't waste our blood, sweat and tears. To make sure that we don't commit our troops to an ill-conceived war of choice. To make sure that the citizens are informed about the important issues and that they participate in the civic affairs of their country! We have to look beyond the smoke screen employed by leaders who want to lead a flock of sheep, and the bumper-sticker mentality must be rejected.When our country must sacrifice, our leaders should do their best to see that this burden is widely shared not based on the shoulders of the least privileged, nor should war be one of choice and an opportunity for a transfer of wealth. Patriotism shouldn't be defined by long & hyperbolic speeches but rather by doing what's best for the commonwealth.

Patriotism is standing up for the truth, and questioning our government. Patriotism is to defend those conditions and civil liberties that have made our country great--not by becoming more like our enemies! Patriotism is to go to war on a necessity (not on a choice based on deception & lies) and when doing so to give our soldiers what they need to accomplish their mission!

Please visit the following links for a better perspective on the war

Iraq Memorial on line ( Family testimonies on the human costs of the war.
The architects of the War--Where are they now? Good question..

Faces of the Fallen. See our dead soldiers' faces, names and brief bios.

We have to face the realities even if they're unpleasant. Even if some of our leaders want this, we shouldn't be "baptized" in Lethe--one of the rivers in Hades that induced complete forgetfulness. This wouldn't be appropriate to the memories of those who were sent to war on false pretenses. It wouldn't be appropriate for the rest of us who want to make sure that the US does not become an international bully, conducting unjust wars.

One of the richest counties in the history but our middle class has fallen behind. About 1/3 (if not more) of us have no health insurance or are dangerously under-insured. Obtaining a higher education is becoming more difficult. Regretfully, the US is a militaristic society; military expenditures are the biggest item on the federal budget by far. We're spending more that all the countries in the world combined! This must change.
And, speaking of memorials and memories... Part of life is creating memories; they are part of our unique individual and collective identities. A progressive culture of life means creating the conditions whereas people can better achieve their own potential. It's about having a happy, long and healthy life. Enjoy this life in the here and now, and don't ever buy into the view that reward or punishment may come after death.

Remember, fewer memorials might be a good thing; more pleasant memories are definitely a great thing to have. Let's work on this...