We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans—born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage—and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world. -- John F. Kennedy
Memorial Day. Time to honor God, Country, and the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of both, not to mention to make the world safe for democracy.
Plenty of flag waving across this nation, at parades, at cemeteries, at political rallies, and in front yards.
And so it should be.
For all of the shortcomings of a flawed nation-state (such is the human condition) -- from deceit and arrogance in the White House, to much of the same at Town Hall -- these United States of America remain the best hope of millions, yearning to be free of tyranny, of hatred, of the yoke of oppression (and that's just in New York).
We love America, and we proudly wave the stars and stripes, without wrapping ourselves in that flag as if some cloak of invincibility or shield from dissent.
That said, we find it essential, in an America that speaks of a cherished freedom and rests upon a foundation of storied liberties, to raise a red flag, this in the face of restraints of liberties here at home, and the diminution of the prospect of democracy abroad.
We haven't done a very good job -- in fact, it has been an awful run, of late -- in making this world safe for democracy, let alone in promoting free will and fair elections abroad, or in preserving liberty where it may, in one form or another, appear.
Perhaps, in part, this stems from our failure to keep the torch of freedom aglow here at home.
Patriot Act. Rendition. The export of torture as an accepted means of fact-finding. The suspension of habeas corpus. The rebuffing of allies. The making of enemies.
Hate-baiting. Fear-mongering. Helpless and hapless, but for steering a course in a single direction, rudder locked in place, compass headed always south.
Maybe this is the way some perceive a nation's greatness, the citizens of Sean Hannity's America, where smug war profiteers serve as vice president and chief puppeteer, where "fear itself" and "see something, say something," have supplanted "spacious skies" and "e pluribus unim," the likes of Limbaugh, Beck and O'Reilly offering their own renditions of half-truth without consequence.
Frankly, we've had quite enough of that America, and so, we believe, have you.
Of course, it can all change, seemingly with the flick of a switch -- or, more aptly, the flip of a lever in that voting booth.
We will continue to proudly wave that star-spangled banner, not "right or wrong," but rather, to right the wrongs, here at home, and around the world.
We will also, consciously and consistently, raise that red flag, as warning to all who refuse to bear witness to the frailties of democracy.
Raise those flags, fellow Americans, and carry forth that torch of liberty, the glow from which "will truly light the world!"