The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Red, White, And Abused?

I have been reading an interview which held some interesting views of the United States. And I began to wonder what others thought of this country. I think that it is difficult to get a clear picture of one's country from inside it. It is helpful, at some point, to get out of an area in order to assess its true nature.

For me, that was one of the things the Navy provided. And it came at a time when many people were questioning their understanding of the U.S. It was the latter years of the 60's and we were engaged in an unpopular war. Few wars are all that popular. Ones where they began with an attack on our soil are certainly popular but we have had only a couple of those. Ones that are questionable regarding their purpose (and we have had a number of those) are very unpopular. 

Having been involved in the Vietnam War has given me a different perspective than most. I wasn't especially patriotic when I enlisted and didn't enlist for that reason. I didn't think much of our president at the time and, frankly, didn't trust him. I enlisted for what you might call selfish reasons. I was pretty sure the draft would catch up to me after dropping out of community college in the Cocoa area. And I had no desire to go into the Army. I was pretty much adrift in life, not knowing what direction to take in life. the Navy offered me the chance to travel and, as I felt at that time, a closeness to the sea.

Traveling to foreign countries gave me an opportunity to compare the country to what I had been brought up to see it as. It also allowed me to compare it to what others seemed to think of it. I met, along the way, draft dodgers as well as dogmatic patriots; all professed a love of country.

Love of country, or patriotism, is often something we do not understand yet we feel it intensely. I saw, especially while I was in the Navy, more intense feelings for home states than I did about country. We do, I think, love our states more than we do our country as a whole.  But reading this interview made me examine those feelings. I call myself a Floridian but I wasn't born here. This dilutes that feeling of belonging and allows me to take the role of "outsider."  There are things about Florida that I do not like and I feel I can be objective about the state. I spent a number of years in California and became used to that state, even liked it, but there were many things about it that I did not like when I was there.

I met young men in the Navy that came from just about every part of the country. All had a strong desire to return "home" when they got out... even if their stories of that home sounded troubled. I, too, returned "home" soon after I was discharged and even though I did not have a lot of good memories.

But I did not grow up in a ghetto (as some did that I met and who returned to it after serving). My childhood was fairly benign; my problems were mostly with my siblings. It was my parents and the familiarity of "home" that brought me back for a short period. It was my first wife that brought me back to California. She was homesick.

Today, the country is strongly divided and it seems to be worsening. A lot of people, especially the younger ones, seem to dislike the country in which they live. I wonder about that and why it is so.

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