Memorial Day Musings of an Aging Patriot


This weekend, I celebrated my birthday. As it turns out, I was able to do so by attending an air show at Hill Air Force Base where I was privileged to watch the Thunderbirds perform. On the way up, I was in the company of my brother who is a believer in things like chemtrails in the sky and conspiracy theories such as the monied elite attempting to rid themselves of you and I, the plebiscite. Needless to say this is a depressing perspective, but as the day continued on, it blended with many of the thoughts occurring to me during the airshow. 

As a pilot, I could appreciate the skill and daring involved in the numerous aerobatic acts during the day. As an engineer, I marveled at the amazing power and capabilities of the numerous military aircraft, both on display and flying. As an amateur historian, I enjoyed seeing vintage aircraft both flying and on static display. Indeed, there is much that has been accomplished by our society, and we are able to do things that our ancestors couldn’t have dreamed of. We truly stand on the shoulders of giants. 

Finally, the headline act, the USAF Thunderbirds, began their show. It started by honoring of accomplishments by three members of the airbase staff, then with a blaring of marshal music interspersed with rock and roll, the Thunderbirds began by showing their skills in close formation marching. I won’t describe the whole show, but if you’ve never seen them, I strongly recommend it. 

With the patriotic music, the amazing feats of the aircraft, and the continuous prodding of the announcer, I could see the stirrings of patriotic fervor in those around me. The presence of the armed forces recruiting tents was not lost on me either. It was at this point that it occurred to me just how much control of the people is possible when patriotism is used as the impetus. It allows a very few to control very many in ways that would otherwise not be possible. This tied in to the depression I experienced while listening to my brother on the way to the show.

Patriotism has its place, but this is a country in which power is derived from the consent of the people. On PolicyMic, we discuss endlessly what government officials ought to do. That too is a good idea, but there is something else we should do. When we can’t get the government to act in our best interest, then by all means we should be doing so. 

Is the act of putting solar panels on your roof patriotic? I would say yes. Our country needs a means of eliminating our dependence on foreign oil. Solar panels on your roof are a small step in that direction. As a bonus they also drive cleaner air and water. Do you want those things? Then act selfishly and patriotically at the same time. Lower your power bill and lower our national dependence on oil.

Most people drive less than 50 miles a day on a constant basis. That distance can easily be accommodated with an electric car. Kits are available to convert “donor” cars at a reasonable cost. Assistance is also available. Take your commute costs from $10 dollars a day to 1 per day. Be selfish, save money, decrease your oil consumption, and breathe cleaner air while being patriotic at the same time. 

If you don’t approve of my suggestions here, then what do you think is necessary and how can you bring your own life into alignment with it? Do you want to pay fewer taxes? OK, find a way to do so. Do you want the government to stop supporting welfare recipients? Fine, find just one recipient and find a way to get them off of welfare. Do you want to end social security? No problem. Support your own parents and have them pay their social security checks to the IRS in your name. Find a way to act individually to create the world you want, and when you have convinced enough of your neighbors by showing them the advantages of your way, you will have that world.

Our society has numerous problems that seem insurmountable. They get much easier to deal with if we approach them as personal problems and the answers are not huge and complex, they are small and numerous, and you and I can solve them. Stop waiting for leaders to act. Become a leader yourself. Stop arguing and Act.