Monday, August 15, 2016

Our grand national tolerance

The United States of America has faced some serious challenges, like emerging as an independent nation after the bold declaration that founded it, which required a fierce war of independence, and also surviving a bid to destroy it by states seceding from it, which was sort of the opposite, as the American Civil War was about inflicting death to bind, while the American Revolutionary War was about enduring death to escape.

"...give me liberty or give me death!" -- Patrick Henry

Both events had people who really thought they were bad ideas. Not all colonists wanted independence from the British Empire. They were loyal citizens to it, and guess what? Can we say they were wrong? Our nation's founding citizens were mostly traitors to their nation of birth--not all were British--hellbent on starting a new nation, and thank God they succeeded and we get to continue the freedoms for which they fought, and many died, to have.

And when some time had passed and some decided the United States of America was no longer a good idea, were they wrong? How do we know? Nonetheless they were defeated in a war that forever changed the nation and the world as it introduced modern battle field techniques and ruthless war. The immensity of the slaughter can be lost on people today and hard to grasp, though later wars would greatly magnify it, peaking with World War II.

Flags have become extraordinary symbols, and for nations can help exemplify.

Our American flag has stood against the challenges to the life of the nation and emerged triumphant on the battlefield.

That fact is definitive for so many lives and maybe taken for granted by many Americans, though they might deny it, as some would rather fly a defeated flag in a nation that is very tolerant of dissent.

Wishing the United States of America were no longer here is not something I think most would display proudly, but those who wish the Confederacy had won the Civil War are stating that boldly with a symbol, and I welcome their freedom to say it in a nation brilliant for its tolerance. Don't believe me? Ask someone flying that flag: Do they wish the Confederacy had won?

Call it tradition if you will, but that defeated flag would not be bragging rights except for hope that maybe, just maybe, if those who believe work at it long enough, they can finally defeat the United States of America.

Won't happen though.

There were quite a few British who weren't exactly fans of that independence thing, and some went home, but for others this country was their home, still. As much as they might hate what they knew was treason, as it was.

They stayed in the new nation, and had children, and their children had children, and so on.

And somehow we all kind of get along together most of the time.

Too many may fail to appreciate the various forces hellbent on destroying this nation, from people who probably feel confident they are correct, who are citizens of a nation born in fire and blood. Which endures through it all, not because it forgets its history, but because it understands it.

The revolutionary spirit which created this nation still fires it in so many ways, and the freedoms that keep it alive are an inspiration to a world.

Thank you Patrick Henry and so many other patriots throughout this nation's history, as you gave us liberty. And it's up to each American generation to remember that liberty is a really cool thing to have.

I know I like it.

James Harris