The Stars and Stripes is a symbol of our country. This symbol is affixed to many things, flagpoles, ship’s masts, sides of boxes carrying goods to the needy and even the not so needy and on our government buildings. The flag as a lapel pin is very popular particularly among politicians. Being an elected official or a candidate for public office requires the wearing of one or your patriotism will in all likelihood be challenged by your opponents. As a generalization it is my belief that many, perhaps most, of our current elected leaders wear these pins proudly even if they never served in the military. That’s perfectly alright as a means for people to show pride in their country. In addition if a person is a dedicated public servant then that is serving one’s country. However that anticipates honorable service.
Our leaders need to work for the good of their constituents s as well as the overall country. Legislation should reflect their efforts to benefit and protect the most people. These leaders are not there to serve only the majority that elected them or the members of the political party with which they are affiliated. Budgets and laws which are passed should insure the services and protections which are approved help all, not just the few. This process requires that these legislators understand the issue being addressed by any legislation and actually have a working knowledge of the problem. This process must result in solutions that aim to correct or alleviate the issue and not merely be an action providing little or no benefit. This is the major portion of the job but the speeches, meetings, contacts with constitutes are all activities expected as as well.
The spectacle that occurs at our seats of government, national, state and local makes me think that many of our leaders should remove those lapel pins. Their service may be less than honorable and the job simply viewed by them as a long-term entitlement. Some local officials seek election with the main intention of that office being a stepping stone. Indifference and corruption often are found at this level. Many state office holders tend to settle in to their jobs believing they represent a limited constituency, primarily those who voted for them. The needs of those who didn’t are neglected or legislation which these leaders support may be adverse to this group. Now a check on those at the national level and whether their service merits the right to claim what the flag on their lapel represents.
The current era which seems inundated with lies, deception and outright dishonesty began long before November 8th, 2017 but is currently deception on steroids. Neither one party or one office holder deserves all the blame. Certain leaders know only deceit and connivance as a way to legislate or stay in office. Some, a few, do sincerely try to wear the flag proudly by legislating for the good or betterment of us all. What about us, the electorate?
Some barely informed voters utilize recognizing a name or political party affiliation as the basis for their choice. Is that enough to say we care about helping each other? Isn’t that America? We help each other, look out for the underdog and little guy or gal, that is what that flag says to the world from Guadalcanal to Vietnam to Berlin and further. Sometimes our leaders were wrong but our soldiers were sincere. We believed we were helping. Our efforts to eliminate discrimination, end poverty, unemployment, provide disability assistance and most recently health care reflect our true being. Those are the actions, the symbol, the Stars and Stripes, represents to the world. We are different and even better because we care about people, our people, all people. If one never wore a uniform, or served in some public position but works hard, raises a family while helping others then you don’t need a pin or flag pole. Your daily acts of living out what that symbol represents is the act of carrying that flag and holding it high with nothing in your hands. That friends is who we are. If you are not with us then all the flag lapel pins in the world won’t make you anything other than a hypocrite. Start carrying that flag high but a word of caution, it is much heavier than that pin.