Tag Archives: American Revolution

May the flag fly proudly … always!

It’s time to wish us all a happy Flag Day.

We love Old Glory, the Star Spangled Banner, the Stars and Stripes.  By whatever name we call it, we cherish our national symbol.

That is the more important point I want to make with this brief blog post. It is a symbol of the nation our founders created.

Those wise men wrote our Constitution and ratified it in 1787 after winning our independence from the English crown. The flag has come to mean many things to millions upon millions of Americans then and in the two-plus centuries since that time.

What it means to me is simple, but a bit nuanced. The flag flies as a symbol of the liberties we enjoy as citizens of a great nation. Among those liberties is the right — as expressed in the very First Amendment to that Constitution — to register peaceful protest. If we don’t like what our government does for us or to us, we are able to assemble “peaceably” without recrimination.

Yep, that means no tear gas, no clubbing by cops, no handcuffs and, dare I say it, no knees pressed into the back of our necks while the police are detaining us.

We are able to speak our minds.

So, the flag is far more than a piece of cloth stitched together in red, white and blue. It is an ideal by which we live and for which we fight. The ideal is being challenged these days as the nation grapples with injustice, which it always has done.

However, the flag will continue to fly and it will continue to represent the ideals we hold dear as proud citizens of this most exceptional nation.

POTUS doesn’t blow it … completely!

I had been concerned about whether Donald J. Trump would deliver a too-political speech while offering a “salute to America” at the Lincoln Memorial, that he would hijack a traditionally non-partisan celebration and turn it into a re-election campaign event.

To my admitted surprise, he didn’t fall into that trap. He gave what I guess you could call a workmanlike speech that sought to pay tribute to the revolutionaries who (a) created a new nation and (b) fought for it on battlefields along the Atlantic coastal region.

Yes, I know about the reference to our men taking control of the “airports” in, um 1775, which occurred 128 years before Orville and Wilbur Wright launched the first airplane in Kitty Hawk, N.C. Bad speech-writing, bad editing there.

But the president managed to stick mostly to script.

I have promised to offer a good word when Donald Trump earns it. I am doing so here and now.

Nationalism is a ‘betrayal of patriotism’? Hmm

I won’t be so glib to presume that a leading head of state’s comments got skewed in sits translation into English.

Still, I have to wonder if French President Emmanuel Macron really means it when he says “nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism.”

“By saying our interests first … we erase what a nation holds dearest, what gives it life, what gives it grace and what is essential: its moral values.”¬†

So said the French head of state.

Don’t get me wrong. I do not subscribe to the nationalist view expressed by Donald John Trump, which apparently was the target of Macron’s comments this weekend in Paris. I fear that Trump’s “nationalism” translates to “isolationism,” which history has shown to be a dangerous posture to assume. It’s particularly perilous in this age of a shrinking world.

However, I do have a bit of trouble diminishing one’s patriotism because he or she wants to put his or her own nation’s interests first. Still, the president’s view that we should punish other nations because he — or we — don’t like their behavior can lead us directly into a more isolated position.

Trump walks alone

Trump has done that with his fiery rhetoric and his scolding of allies with whom this nation owes much. For the president to be so harsh in his view of France, for instance, ignores the nation’s longstanding historic ties to that country. The French stood with us at the beginning of our Republic, helping us win our independence from British tyranny. They stood with us through two world wars and have died alongside our own fighting men and women in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.

So, perhaps President Macron’s own salvo against nationalism and his assertion that it’s a “betrayal of patriotism” is his reaction to what he perceives as mistreatment from his own country’s oldest and most reliable ally.

Gen. Lee and Gen. Washington equal? Nope

I received a scolding today from someone I respect very much. We’re connected on social media; he read a blog item I published and then reminded me of something I feel the need to challenge — respectfully, of course.

My blog item mentioned that Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee was a traitor to the United States when he led soldiers into battle against forces fighting to preserve the Union.

My friend then responded by telling me that Gen. George Washington also committed an act of treason by rebelling against England in the 18th century. Gen. Washington led his army against the soldiers fighting for The Crown. Had the colonists lost the American Revolution, he said, they would have been hanged.

This argument comes forward every now and then by those who seek to defend Gen. Lee against those — such as me — who contend that he committed treason by siding with the Confederates in their effort to split the country apart.

I am not going to put words into my friend’s mouth, but surely he doesn’t equate the two acts of rebellion.

Had the revolution failed, we well might be speaking with British accents and paying exorbitant taxes without having any say in how much we should pay.

And if the Confederates had won the Civil War, they would have created a nation that allowed for the continued enslavement of human beings.

There really isn’t a scintilla of moral equivalence, in my eyes at least, between the struggles. The revolution produced a nation built on the concept of freedom and liberty for all; the Declaration of Independence delivers out a long list of grievances that the founders sought to be eliminated. The Civil War erupted because some states wanted the authority to determine whether they could keep human beings in bondage.

I’m not sure what my friend is suggesting. Surely he doesn’t intend to equate one with the other.

I need to stipulate, too, that had the founders failed to create a nation after the revolution, there might have been scant reason for immigrants to travel across the ocean to the Land of Opportunity. My grandparents would have stayed in Greece and Turkey. My parents wouldn’t have met. I wouldn’t have been born.

Many millions of Americans had skin in that revolutionary game.

Therefore, I’m glad the founding fathers rebelled against the king.

Christian nation or a ‘nation of Christians’?

A former colleague and critic of this blog made a fascinating — and legitimate — point while participating in an exchange about a post I wrote about a guest columnist whose work appeared recently in the Amarillo (Texas) Globe-News.

I asserted in my own critique of the essay that the nation’s founders established a “secular government” when they wrote the U.S. Constitution.

My former colleague/critic pointed out that the nation comprises a population “of Christians” and that the nation was founded on “Judeo-Christian principles.” I agree with his assertion about the nation and that the founders likely were motivated by their deep religious faith.

However, that doesn’t dissuade me from insisting that the Constitution is as secular a document as it possibly can be.

The founders were direct descendants of people who migrated across the Atlantic Ocean to escape religious persecution, among many other repressive actions brought on them by their European rulers.

They launched a revolution in 1775. They gathered in July 1776 to sign a Declaration of Independence, which does contain a reference to the “Creator” and to “Nature’s God.” Neither term, though, is specific to Christianity. Each of them could — if one were to interpret them liberally — refer to any of the world’s great religions. Some of us today, though, choose to ascribe Christian theology to any reference to the Creator or to God.

Eleven years later, after we won our independence from the British Empire, our founders crafted the Constitution. They specifically avoided using the term “Christian” or “Jesus Christ” or even “God” or “Creator.” Did they bicker and quarrel among themselves while putting this governing framework together? Of course they did.

I remain committed to the document they produced, the one ratified by the 13 states comprising the United States of America. I have scoured it repeatedly over many decades and I have yet to find any reference to religion, other than in the First Amendment, which states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion … ”

Are we a nation “of Christians”? Certainly. Are we a “Christian nation”? Certainly not.

There. Does that settle it? Hah! Hardly.

POTUS shows us once more he is unfit for his office


This video is about 23 minutes long. If you have the time — and if you have the stomach for it — take some time to watch it.

You will witness the president of the United States demonstrate a remarkable implosion. Donald John Trump Sr. said many astonishing things during this press conference on the ground floor of Trump Tower.

He reverted back to his “many sides” argument in response to the Charlottesville, Va., riot that was provoked by white nationalists/neo-Nazis/Ku Klux Klansmen protesting the removal of a Confederate statue.

Trump accused the so-called “alt-left” of attacking the racists.

The president once again blamed the media for its coverage of the event over the weekend, saying that the media were “unfair” in their reportage of the white supremacists.

POTUS also took shots at Sen. John McCain for voting against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, as well as at “fake news” outlets and their representatives.

It was an astonishing display of maximum petulance today at Trump Tower.

The president in effect reverted to form this afternoon. He exhibited compelling evidence that his initial response to the Charlottesville event — where he said “many sides” were to blame for the violence — came from his gut and that his more restrained response delivered Monday was canned, strained and done against his will.

Oh, and he conflated the American Revolution with the Civil War, noting that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson owned slaves, as did the leaders of the Confederate States of America. He asked, then, if it’s time to remove statues of the Father of Our Country and the author of the Declaration of Independence.

My head is about to explode.

I watched every moment of Donald Trump’s disgraceful display this afternoon. I still cannot believe what I witnessed.

Take a look at the video.

UK leaders want to ban Trump?

Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump, speaks during a rally coinciding with Pearl Harbor Day at Patriots Point aboard the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown in Mt. Pleasant, S.C., Monday, Dec. 7, 2015. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)

Donald Trump has insulted his way to the top of the Republican Party presidential heap.

Suffice to say that if British Parliament members had a vote in this country, why, they would do all they could to keep anyone from endorsing Trump.

The House of Commons today debated whether to ban Trump from entering the United Kingdom. It’s all in the wake of Trump’s call to ban Muslims from entering the United States, as well as plenty of other things Trump has said along the presidential campaign trail.

To be honest, I don’t think that Parliament needs to debate this issue. Indeed, the decision rests ultimately with the British home secretary.

Still, we’ve heard a snootful from the Brits about Trump.

It ain’t pretty.

Trump doesn’t care who he insults. He should, at least in this case.

Great Britain is arguably our most loyal ally on the planet. Sure, we shook off the bonds of the British Empire in the 18th century and then fought them again in the early 19th century. Since then? We have been side by side through two world wars, the Cold War and now in the war against international terrorism.

What on Earth could be transpiring here if the Brits were to actually ban someone from entering their country if that certain someone happened to be elected president of the United States of America?

I’m not predicting either event will occur: Trump’s election and the home secretary’s decision to ban him from entering his country.

But members of the British Parliament have delivered a stunning rebuke of a guy who wants to become the next “leader of the Free World.”

Does he care? Again . . . he’d better.


We are a nation of refugees


The debate over how — or whether — to welcome refugees to our land is continuing at full throttle.

It is dismaying to hear talk from¬†presidential candidates that we should slam the door shut on Syrians — or Muslims — out of fear that some of them might be terrorists intent on harming Americans.

President Obama has declared several times, “That’s not who we are.”

Well, who are we?

By my reckoning, we are a nation founded and built by refugees.

You’ve learned about these individuals. They sailed to the New World to flee religious and political oppression. They came here in search of a new life. They encountered the indigenous population here and were met with mixed feelings by their new “hosts.”

The refugees persevered throughout most of the 17th century and into the 18th century. They rebelled eventually against the empire from which they had fled. They launched a revolution. The fighting ended in 1781 and a nation was created.

Those refugees then crafted a government built on a document that specified certain things. One of them would be that they would apply no religious test for those seeking political office.

However, some politicians today actually have said in the current climate that people of a certain religion are not “qualified” to seek public office. That’s not who we are, either.

Do we intend to live in fear? Are we doing to forsake the very principles on which those first refugees founded this great nation?

How about we take a break, look inward at just who we are as a people — as a nation?

How might those first refugees think of what has happened to their descendants and their reaction to world events?


Terrorists compared to American patriots

You shouldn’t have gone there, Dr. Ben Carson.

No sir. You should not have compared the Islamic State terrorists — the monstrous demons who behead people in public — to the brave warriors who fought against British tyranny to create the United States of America.

That’s what you did, Doc, when you said: “They got the wrong philosophy, but they’re willing to die for what they believe, while we are busily giving away every belief and every value for the sake of political correctness.”


That statement might have stood on its own, Dr. Carson, but you had prefaced it by saying American revolutionary patriots also were willing to die for their cause.

Perhaps a better comparison, Doc, would have been that kamikaze pilots flying for the¬†Japanese Empire were willing to “die for their beliefs” as they flew their aircraft into American warships during World¬†War II.

What you’ve done, sir, is juxtapose a cherished American ideal — the fight for liberty, freedom and individual dignity¬†—¬†with monstrous acts, crimes against humanity.

I understand, Dr.Carson, that you are pondering a run for the presidency in 2016. Conservatives adore your ideology and they hang on your words. I appreciate as well your intelligence and obvious brilliance as a leading neurosurgeon and medical scholar.

But just as that goofy Texas congressman, Randy Weber, erred in comparing President Obama to Adolf Hitler in a tweet¬†— for which he later¬†sort of apologized — you have mixed two¬†radically different examples of why people lay down their lives for causes in which they believe.