Sunday, September 11, 2016

Fifteen Years

Recently we met several new acquaintances at a gathering. One interesting conversation with a retired Navy vet centered on flag etiquette. He was well versed in how the American flag should be treated, respected and displayed. I already knew some things, having worked with my daughter’s Camp Fire group earning a badge learning how to perform a formal flag presentation ceremony but my new friend knew way much more than I. Apparently there’s a volume of rules that applies to the correct way to handle, display and retire the American flag, the existence of which is largely unknown to most Americans. 

Several days after my enlightening discussion with our new friend, I saw the news about a football player who refused to stand at attention at the playing of the National Anthem. Since this has become the most recent uproar and everyone seems to have an opinion, I thought today, the anniversary of the day the Twin Towers were brought down and thousands of Americans were murdered by terrorists, I’d weigh in.

One of the points my knowledgeable new friend stressed was in regard to not allowing a tattered, faded flag fly. Worn out flags need to be properly retired. Not just thrown away. There are specific rules and protocols that cover how this ought to be done. After witnessing the disrespect one rich, spoiled, enabled millennial passionately demonstrated, drawing media attention to himself and his ‘cause’, I started noticing other incidences of flag dishonor.

Some public schools, you know the institutions that are paid for by American tax dollars, are now choosing to forbid the displaying of the flag at sporting events. It might offend people attending who aren’t American.  Or something.

Other schools, again paid for by hard working Americans, are sending home ‘opt out’ letters to parents allowing that students who do not wish to pledge allegiance to the flag of the country where they are living and going to school could just stand silently or play games on their cell phones. Those handy devises they have because they came here to reap the benefits of the American way. The way represented by the Red/White and Blue.

During our recent 4th of July Independence Day celebrations, honoring the day that marks the beginning our path to becoming a nation of our own, many individuals were forbidden to fly the grand ole flag. Ordered so by small tyrantical government agencies. Seems that flying the flag breaks rules and ordinances. Can’t have that, you know.

So, thinking back to the conversation about how a worn out flag ought not to be displayed I thought of something I could have contributed to the discussion.

It is pretty clear for me that we are already at war with forces determined to fundamentally reorder the American way of life. Patriotism, honor, and loyalty to a real and distinguished culture, bought and paid for by the shed blood of countless numbers of Americans over many decades is being replaced with a concept known as globalism. Globalists do not believe in sovereign states or countries. The world ought to just be a melting pot, open to anyone and all, regardless of cultural disparity. 

Amazing how much can happen in fifteen years. Grade schoolers grow up and graduate from college, a man, not even old enough to be president on 9/11/2001, can rise to power and spend eight years apologizing to the world for Americans, can tell us we are lazy and racist and that we never built our lives ourselves. Can live like a king on the American taxpayer’s dollar and promote a candidate who believes fully half of all Americans (if you want to believe in polls) are deplorable. 

In fifteen short years we can go from being a proud to be American unified people that reverently displayed a flag damaged by the devastation brought down in one horrific day, to being a nation afraid to display the flag at all. Not on our homes or in our schools. 

It did not escape me that until the media pointed it out, there was no American flag displayed at the Democratic Convention. Is that a thing?

Fifteen years, the last eight of which put us on the fast track to losing what has always been the foundation of American Exceptionalism, (the envy of the rest of the world and the reason people want to come here), has taken us from being willing to stand for something to cow towing to those who would destroy us and therefore have left us standing for nothing.

Unfortunately, in the process of removing a society’s devotion to the concept of a way of life, which is the definition of patriotism, a real and present danger rears its ugly head. Once the prosperity of a proven successful way of life is replaced with a populace that never knew the key to prosperity is founded in unity, not diversity, the way of life dies and takes its prosperity with it. The golden goose dies.

For weeks and months even, after 9/11/2001, people freely and proudly flew their American flags on their homes, their cars, their businesses. For a handful of years America was still a country that represented a people unashamed to be called American. 

If you’re looking at the continuum fifteen years is but a teardrop in the ocean. And yet so much can change in a decade and a half. Rules and protocols become meaningless as new concepts rise up to replace the old. And it has ever been thus. Mighty nations emerge, soar and then crash into oblivion. 

If all I had was a tattered flag, and I couldn't get another one, I think I’d still fly it anyway. If the flag is the symbol that represents a country, then perhaps a beat up flag is poignantly fitting for a country that has allowed itself to be beaten.

For Him,

Update: September 12, 2016 - I need to share this amazing post.  
 The Ghosts of September

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Fool Proof

I saw an ad for a new kind of wallet. Apparently it is lined with something that blocks RFID signals, which is supposed to keep your digitized personal info that’s stored on the tiny chips in your credit cards and driver’s license safe from criminals seeking to steal your identity.

How far we have come.

Some reading this might recall, back in the day, when there was a space to put your account number in the return address of the envelope to your utility or credit card company. My first driver’s license number was my Social Security number. It hasn’t been all that many years since credit card account numbers were not  x-ed out on receipts except for the last four digits as they are now.

See, here’s what happens. Something good is invented. As long as the society that it is introduced to remains a basically trusting society, everyone operating on the honor system and all, the possibility of evil intent or criminal activity is rarely immediately considered. As the fabric of society unravels, largely because evil is constantly working its way into the weave, new awareness of how evil works and therefore must be circumvented or thwarted becomes its own source of new inventions. 

Security, safety, protection, becomes its own industry.

But here’s the other thing that happens. At some point, in the war of measure/counter-measure it becomes obvious that there is no way to thwart evil. I could cite all manner of examples. The war on drugs comes to mind instantly. How’s that worked out? Billions, maybe trillions of dollars invested in ways to keep deadly drugs off our streets and out of the hands of our vulnerable youth and what we have to show for it is a prosperous multi-billion dollar illegal drug industry and a multi-billion dollar industry pretending to find ways to stop it. 

Not going to happen. Tough to imagine that it could likely get worse though.

Getting back to the RFID chip with all our personal information being so easily accessed, even as we innocently walk through a mall, let’s consider (predict) the next step. Keeping it real, there’s always a next step in the war waged on a trusting society. And isn’t that the point? There is no end to counter measure. Evil sees the newest thing and figures out ways around it. We ought to be smart and expect this now.

That leaves us with a very startling reality. The chip - the bio metric one they have been developing to plant in our hand, is already obsolete and they haven’t even gotten it fully off the ground yet. The counter-measures already exist that can steal the info as you saunter up to the cash register to wave your hand over the info reader. 

You can’t stay ahead of the criminal mind but you can choose to be savvy enough to stay ahead of those who smile and offer up new things that are supposed to be fool-proof. 

So you won't be fooled.

For Him,

Proverbs 14:16 - A wise man is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is arrogant and careless.