For Love of Country

This is a non-stop aching in the gut.

I can’t avoid the news forever, I apparently need to avoid Facebook and Twitter for at least a while.

Trump voters are offended by (and perhaps afraid of) the protests and flags being burned and the president-elect being disparaged.

Some of us who didn’t vote for Trump are frightened that civil rights and civil liberties will be stripped away. We are afraid that democracy as we knew it will be suspended, violated, tortured and dismembered.

Really? Wearing a damn safety-pin is unpatriotic?

Really? We’re persecuting you with words like “deplorable” or accusations of racism, sexism, & xenophobia? We’re the bullies? Not the Klansmen waving confederate flags at Veteran’s day parades? Not those writing Jew, and Nigger, and Faggot on peoples’ homes and cars?

Is it alarmist or reactionary or irrational to wonder if you should flee to Canada? Was it alarmist or reactionary or irrational for Austrians and Belgians and Czechs and Poles to flee Europe in the 1930’s?

I’m a coward. I will sit down and shut up and do my best not to rock the boat. It’s more important to me to get a long with neighbors and family and friends. I live in a homogeneous, rural area, what minorities or LGBT people do I have to stand up for?

But my hero, the mad I empathize for and admire right now is Captain Georg von Trapp, the Austrian naval officer who refused to support or accept an enlistment from NAZI Germany.

MY country was conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that ALL men are created equal. But it seems that our nation has been annexed by a power that believes in mocking the disabled, assaulting women, profiling Blacks, deporting Hispanics, “converting” homosexuals and torturing suspects. This new regime came to power on the fury of uneducated disadvantaged working class whites, but its intended policies will outrageously benefit the wealthiest of the wealthy.

Is this how Langston Hughes felt all his life? That the promises of equality and liberty and justice are all hollow, or at least that they are only for a privileged, privileged  few?

God, give me the courage to stand in the conviction of our principles. Grant me the wisdom and self-control and gentleness and the magnanimity to demonstrate and teach and persuade the angry, self-righteous, defensive masses those principles. But if the day ever comes, Lord, grant me the protection and opportunity to spirit my family to safety, like von Trapp did his across the Alps to Switzerland.

My country, ‘ tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing;

Our fathers’ God, to thee,
Author of liberty, to thee we sing;
Long may our land be bright
With freedom’s holy light;
Protect us by thy might, great God, our King.

christopherplummer_captvontrapp770

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