Facebook is both a blessing and a bane. I love it, though. I've reconnected with friends from all sorts of places and times in my life. I've also met people of both like mind and diametrically opposing view points. That's good. Both sorts strengthen me. I've got strong opinions and I can support them, so I welcome discourse. A recent change I made to my FB page, though, has created far more discussion than I ever anticipated.
Before I disclose the change and its aftermath, let me set the stage for you:
One of the excuses...er, reasons...I've not kept this blog current is my intense involvement in blocking the passage of the monstrosity known as Obamacare. Obviously, it is now law and I'm working to repeal it. I had hoped this time in our Nation's life wouldn't come, but it has. We are in distress.
On the weekend of the final vote in the House, thousands of citizens converged on the Hill here in DC to speak to their Congressmen and make known their opposition to this legislation. I felt like I was everywhere at once making sure people understood the facts of the legislation, helping people find the offices of their Congressmen, explaining the lobbying process, having civil discussions with the press and other interested parties and comforting people who were hurt by the treatment they received in those offices upon exercising their right to be heard and their duty to hold their leadership accountable. Some of it wasn't pretty.
Throughout the day, I met many dedicated Patriots and two gorgeous Newfoundland dogs, much to Lucy Doxie (my service dog)'s discomfiture.She tends to think she is the only dog that has permission to be anywhere near me. Besides being great at detecting petit mal seizures and alerting me to their impending onset, she's a great ice breaker with people who might not ordinarily talk to me even if she is a little possessive.
Lucy led me that day into an encounter I will never forget. She was walking beside me and suddenly went running up to an older gentleman proudly wearing his military medals and a VFW hat while sitting in the hot sun in his wheelchair. It turns out that he loves dachshunds and as Lucy was receiving what she deemed to be her justly deserved adoration, the man and I began to talk. He was a veteran of World War 2. He'd been in combat and he'd been in the group of soldiers who liberated the death camps in Europe. At the direction of his superior, Ike, he took pictures of the scenes and faces that greeted his unit. When he wasn't taking pictures or helping other soldiers with their photographs, he was busy tending to the people who had managed to survive in those horrific places. He told me it changed him forever by making him more passionate than he ever thought possible about liberty and this nation that espouses it. At the end of our conversation, he looked at me with tears in his eyes and pleaded with me to not let the freedom and liberty for which he had fought so hard, and for which his friends had died, end with my generation. I am tearing up even now as I recall it. One thing he said was along the lines of "Old Glory will be turned on her head at my house until this is stopped." That thought stayed with me all day.
That night when I finally sat down at my computer to check email and play on Facebook, an idea struck me. Our nation was in distress. In military terms, the symbol of distress was to fly the flag upside down. In other words, to "turn Old Glory on her head." So, I changed my profile picture to an image of our beloved flag flying upside down. Interestingly enough, I was not the only person to do so and I'm wondering if the other people who did so on FB and who are flying the flag upside down at their homes and businesses have received as many interesting comments as I have.
Several of my friends have taken it upon themselves to educate me about proper flag etiquette. A side note: it just kills me how the rules of etiquette are trotted out to suit someone's purposes and ignored the rest of the time. Amazing. At any rate, what every single one of those people failed to acknowledge is that our Nation is in CRISIS and my flag was therefore appropriately displayed. We are in DISTRESS, folks. One of my friends even thought flying the flag upside down was a sign of surrender and she asked me for what reason and to what cause I was surrendering. She said she was treading lightly since she couldn't remember if I'd been in the military or not. For someone who knew me in college and lived down the hall from me for a while, her memory sure is short.
This is part of what I said to her:
About the flag, it is absolutely NOT a sign of surrender, but it IS a sign of distress, even as the code says. Our nation is in distress because of the financial and governmental crisis in which we find ourselves.
My childhood dream was to be a West Point cadet who went on to become a General. However, having been born with a mobility impairment that dream was not to be realized (remember that I rode around our college campus in a yellow golf cart because I couldn't walk well?). It is in honor of those who are giving their lives in service and who have sacrificed their lives in service to our country that I fly Old Glory upside down. Many of the veterans and currently serving soldiers that I know are doing the same for all the same reasons. These are serious times and, as such, demand serious measures.
I, too, am a trained and experienced journalist who had her own radio show at one point. I have looked at all sides of the issues we are dealing with as a Nation today. We are not only in a point of national crisis, but also in a point of individual crisis. We've forgotten that actions and choices have consequences, both good and bad. We've forgotten that everything we do as individuals impacts someone else. We've forfeited control over too much of our individual lives to a government that does not have our best interests at heart. We have forgotten how to live appropriately in community - caring for one another in times of need out of true compassion: the desire of our hearts to make things go more smoothly for them as they were finding and making their own way NOT as a government mandate to "spread the wealth" or put us all on "equal footing". Sadly, we've stopped being a meritocracy and become a people of entitlement. We should be able to enjoy the fruits of our own labors and share with others as we see fit, not work like dogs only to have it given to those who refuse to care for themselves. It is not the government's job to take care of me, but to provide a safe environment by securing and defending our borders so that I can make my own way to success and living the American dream within the means I am able to achieve.
A very great man once said that liberty is never more than one generation away from being just a memory. I refuse to let it be my generation or the one coming after me who gives away our liberty because they were too comfortable & lazy to defend it both from a power hungry government and their own sense of entitlement and refusal to work to both care for themselves as well as to contribute to the greater good of our Nation.
My friend is a journalist and feels that she is completely objective. Apparently not, though, as she berated me for being dramatic and for overreacting. If she were truly objective, she would see ALL the facts and compare them to history and listen to those who have come before us and made those same mistakes. She wouldn't pick and choose who to listen to and who to reference in writing her stories, thus creating unnecessary bias. The neat thing about a free society is that all sorts of opinions can not only be formulated but expressed, supposedly without fear and with the understanding that differences are both welcome and accepted.
Her mindset is all too prevalent in our country. We've chosen to substitute flash for substance, recklessness for responsibility, and selective tolerance for true respect. We've chosen to turn a blind eye to character flaws of those with whom we agree or like and to put the microscope on the flaws of those we don't agree with or dislike for whatever reason. We got into a mess nationally because we are in personal messes. The call for using the mops & buckets given to us in the Constitution and the Bible is in the air. Until the call is answered and the crisis ended, Old Glory will fly on her head at my house and on my profile.