“Honoring the sacrifices many have made for our country in the name of freedom and democracy is the very foundation of Veterans Day.” ~ Charles B. Rangel
On this 11th day of November we celebrate Veterans Day, Armistice Day, Remembrance Day. We thank those who have given their lives to protect the freedoms which we hold so dear. We thank them for fighting for those who could not fight for or defend themselves. The sacrifices that they have made were not only for the betterment of our great land, but for the improvement of the lives of all throughout this world. For those sacrifices they deserve to be honored.
But we do not honor them with our actions of the past days, weeks, months, years, decades, or even the past century. My favorite Charles Rangel quote, “The promise of the American Dream requires that we are all provided an equal opportunity to participate in and contribute to our nation,” is exactly what our Veterans took up arms to protect. They stand up for our basic human rights so that we all will have the same chance to participate and contribute to improve our lives and the lives of others.
Our most basic right as human beings though is to not have to live in fear. Unfortunately, in the past days people of color, Muslims, those in the LBGTQA+ community, have had to live in even greater fear all because the words of our President-elect have given credence to those who believe they are superior because of their race, religion, or social class. They spew hate because our society has again made it “socially acceptable” to spread the hate and segregation our future Commander-in-Chief built his campaign upon. By passively allowing this rhetoric to infect the minds of our youth we set a path for our country that we have seen in the past (see: Nazi Germany).
I have heard too many times over the past three days from conservatives that the liberals of our country need to “calm down and support our President.” This simple statement is not only offensive but is extremely hypocritical as they have spent the last eight years in a rage not supporting President Barack Obama. And before you say, “Oh, it’s another liberal crying about such and such,” I have voted Republican for the presidency in every election up until this year. Liberals aren’t upset only because their candidate lost. They are upset because a man who has said he would take away the rights of some was elected into office.
On the flip side, our Veterans fought to protect our right to free speech and to peacefully protest, not to vandalize, loot, and incite panic and mayhem. The riots that have sprung up around the United States only fuel the perceptions and hatred of the liberal side by the extremists of the right. These actions drown out your voice, and more importantly, your overall message.
Our Veterans deserve a more honorable display than what we have shown in these last few days. They deserve to know that what they fought to protect isn’t being oppressed by some, leading to the violence by others. So, on this day, thank the Veteran in your life not only with your words but by living a life that contributes to the betterment of our great nation.
~ Rob Snyder