Today is Veterans Day in the US. This day is set aside to remember all those who have served – according to the page above, those who have served honorably – in wartime or peacetime, even if they are still living. If you want to remember those who died serving, you want Memorial Day instead.
One would presume that this is done to say thank you to each of these individuals, and that is one heck of a good idea. What I can’t seem to get my head around is we go through the motions of the holiday, but we don’t feel it. As with many other holidays, it’s become another reason for a day off, a need to go to buy a card, maybe a parade, and not much else.
But in thanking these individuals, we’re thanking them for serving the country, while all the while we miss the point. Our political parties favor no one but themselves. Many elections are strictly a re-election for the incumbent, because the incumbent candidate is generally involved in drawing their districts. We spend hours locked in an airplane and laws are passed, consumer advocates are screaming and you’d think the world was about to explode. Yet when it comes to our everyday lives, we don’t say a word.
Part of the problem is that we don’t feel adequately represented. If each representative has 670 thousand constituents, you can hardly blame them for being a bit out of touch with some. But I don’t think that the answer is to create more representatives. We probably have too many already.
Instead of throwing more government at the problem, perhaps we should throw some responsibility at it. Rather than depending on the government to fix it, maybe we should step up and fix it ourselves – even if that means (gasp!) dismantling some of the government. Please note that I am not a Libertarian, but I do feel that I am a libertarian. I believe in the concept of liberty. I don’t think most people get the details of making it happen.
To have liberty, you must work at it. You cannot simply sit back and expect the government to take care of things. The problem that we have, as the author above mentions, is that true liberty requires a certain morality. It requires being accountable. That is where we have fallen short. Perhaps today is a good day to look at ourselves in the mirror and rather than screaming against conservatives or pointing the fingers at liberals or blaming Ralph Nader for this country’s woes, we should actually step up and assume some responsibility for our future.
If you’re not feeling it now, you’re hopeless. Go away. But if you are feeling it, now is the time to write an ode to veterans. Say thank you if you should happen across one at the mall. Attend a parade and wave a flag. Celebrate in whatever way you choose, only make sure you know why we celebrate and not just that it’s another good day to be Hallmark.