Somer: The ideals of this nation

Jim Ross Lightfoot recently wrote on this page (July 20) that disrespecting the American flag is “an affront to everyone who held up their right hand and took an oath to protect this country from all enemies domestic and foreign.” Interesting.

So, why do we have this military? What exactly do these men and women swear to do? What is the meaning of their service? For what do they fight? To stand guard duty in foreign nations? Open doors of limousines? Deploy so that Iraqis can be free? No! they fight for the ideals of a nation — this nation — of which freedom to protest and dissent are basic. Is the suggestion that this country would be better under a dictatorship where the citizenry are kept in check?

Strange (and laughable) that kneeling during the national anthem as a means to protest the treatment of other Americans is so grievously offensive but the ugliness that spews forth daily from President Trump is overlooked, nay, condoned. When entire countries are referred to as “shitholes,” as the president did on national TV, we are met with silence. These are the same countries that have given birth to our very humanity. They are countries that for hundreds of years have been colonized and poached and mined for their riches by powerful white men. They are countries whose people were enslaved and sold — dying on slave ships, forced to come and assist in building this country.

What about this president’s bragging about grabbing women by the genitalia? Or his defense of racists and Nazis — calling them “fine people” just days after a young woman was murdered and an American city terrorized? Payoffs to prostitutes? How about his freedom to suggest that protesters at campaign rallies be roughed up, to crack jokes about captured war heroes, make fun of the physically disabled, pull children from the arms of their parents and place them in cages and detention centers without proper hygiene or basic amenities? But one man kneeling at a sports venue?

But wait, there’s more. What about protections for water and air quality, for the elderly, the terminally ill and equal rights for our fellow LGBTQ citizens that have been eased or lifted entirely? Now, those are things to protest. The president is allowed to exercise this freedom but not anyone else?

Weren’t you just apoplectic that numerous attempts have been made to dismantle the Affordable Care Act in the hope that health care would be taken from the sick and the poor without an alternative? Assailing duly elected congress-people — all American citizens — telling them to “go back where they came from?” Tremendous tax breaks and tax shelters passed for the wealthiest? Tariffs slapped on China with billions of dollars given to farmers as compensation for their crop losses (welfare)? The ugly/hateful vitriol used to denigrate world leaders and taunt private citizens as well as the ugliness spewing from his mouth regarding an American city of which he is president? Campaigning for sexual predators? Close allies and his son taking a meeting with a known enemy (Russia) in his own building? Sen. Mitch McConnell refusing to legislate against Russian interference in our upcoming elections? All of this is OK?

The essence of what our military swears to protect and defend are the ideals of a nation. All the smiling, good ol’ boy photos in the world can’t disguise the obvious: This is just an excuse to bask in hatred, rally behind, condone, defend, applaud, cheer, justify, mimic and amen every nasty and vile thing we are experiencing in this country. So, you set your sights on these two people and took aim. The gauntlet was thrown down, so you better watch out if Mr. Lightfoot is seated in close proximity at any event to anyone who dissents (with him). Wonder what will happen? He never said.

Bluster if you must. It’s your right as is mine to defend another person’s right to protest/dissent. It’s the building block of this nation. It’s what makes us unique and sets us apart from other countries. If not for that right, we would be singing “God Save the Queen” at the next Super Bowl. Our Constitution, our military and our people should cherish this ideal, free from intimidation. Anything less threatens the heart and soul of America and will ultimately dismantle this union. Is that what you are advocating? If so, perhaps you can look into some of the countries the president denigrates. I’m sure they would welcome your thoughts, actions and citizenship with open arms.

— Kathy Somer is a Longview resident.

Today's Bible verse

“But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’ ”

— Jonah 2:9

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