Tonight my grand-nephew enters the world

Tonight, I suppose, more than any other in my life, do I feel the press of 300 years of American ancestry. Tonight, more than any other so far in my life, do I feel such an anxiety about what kind of world I'm soon (well, in the next score-or-so of years) to hand down.

It is with many an emotional and tearful redaction that I humbly offer this petition to you, my American brothers and sisters.

Nothing makes one evaluate one's legacy until some kinfolk with "grand" in their kinship arrives. We are most certainly closer to a constitutional crisis than ever before in American history, albeit in the scope of world history, a short, but colorful one.

As I have posted before, my roots reach 300+ years into North Carolina soil. Well, if you trace my white roots, that is. My mellungeon and Native roots run far deeper. I am ineluctibly tied and bound to this soil. My love for this place, this state, and this nation is that of a mix of a mother, a daughter and a lover all at once. This is my home, the land of my eleven-grands-parents and the joy I hope to hand down.

Equal in importance to me are my ties to the Constitution of the United States. North Carolina was known as the Hornets' Nest, the Cradle of Liberty, the home of the Regulators, the First in Freedom and so much more. Two of my many-greats grandfathers were present at the signing of the Mecklenburg Resolves. The Yankees love to talk about Boston, the Minutemen and that's what we got fed in grade-school. When one investigates the time-line of American history, one will find that North Carolina led the way in every way, shape and form.

Of this, am I sprung.

As North Carolinians, we are born an independent people, neither quite red nor blue, classically purplish demopublican; the first to declare independence from Britain, the last to secede from the Union (amidst great internal strife), and we love being Americans.

Well, it seems to me that we used to. My heart breaks; breaks quite in finely-shattered pieces that we seem to have lost our way, our fire, our passion, and our cherished independence.

Sadly, too many of us have thrown away that heritage of proud, independent thought and such a way of life to accept whatever cheap Chinese crap Wallyworld was pushing this week.

Dear G'd, forgive us for not appreciating the gift of independent thought and free will You gave. I, for one, beg Your forgiveness at the lack of consideration in negligently tossing away the bounty of intelligence and considerate mentation You so freely gave.

During my short lifetime (I'll be 50 in two weeks), we've gone from the world leader in textiles and chemistry to accepting last place in whatever.

I mean simply "whatever". However heartbreaking a term that may be, ish-allah, one must admit, here we are. How was it so easy, so slippery-slidey, down-the-red-clay-bank to just toss it all over our collective shouler?

NC used to have a fine educational system. To wit: I learned English (and have an Appalachian hillbilly's Elizabethan joy in the sweet slipperiness of our language of commerce). This joy of language wasn't acquired at my mother's breast; it was fostered in our school system. My Appalachian kinsfolk reveled in its ancient and modern twists and turns.

Since I'm a child of the 1960's, I was exposed to New Math. Since this is America, I had an equal chance at travelling to the moon. Right? Or am I sadly mistaken?

I'll freely admit, my notion of trigonometry still stinks, but in the least, I was exposed. Granted my lack of talent in that direction, I still was given the chance. Such was the pride of NC's school system -- even the least of us (of which I am certainly one) had the promise of being "something more", "something better" than that poor lot from which we were sprung.

In me, it seemed to take.

I'm not convinced in the least that NCLB offers anywhere near the same degree of opportunity. There are younger people posting on many of the blogs I'm wont to inhabit, who can barely spell "cat". When did we lose our pride in excellence and just bloody when did we as a nation lose our will to excel?

When did "good enough" become good enough?

I yearn, deeply in my soul, I yearn to know. Was it the privation and poverty of my youth that commands me to appreciate the potential and promise that the word and concept the very and singular word "America" brings? What is that allows today's youth to believe that all that we have, all that for which our ancestors have striven is simply "for granted".

Allow me to be among the many Progressive patriots who will assure you that freedom is never "for granted". It must be worked, sweated in sweltering summers, shivered in bitter snows, and wrenchingly labored for. It must be at momentary personal risk. One must be willing to suffer for it. Otherwise, it wouldn't be "freedom" or "liberty" or any other human prize worth existing for.

Occasionally, in such as times as these, one must be willing to die, if necessary, for it. In an age where, at any moment, any one of us can be snatched off the street and imprisoned in Gitmo for opposing the regime (think, just for a second how completely unAmerican a concept that is!!), the idea of American democracy and freedom seem especially rare and precious a commodity.

My ancestors would spin in their graves at the mere passing thought of how close we are coming. My soul cannot rest at night. My spirit cries out to G'd for respite, for mercy, for Goodness to prevail. Again, to each one, "it is up to me, in just this minute, to shine but a spark of light, a notion of kindness, a mercy of liberty and dignity" which defines us as truly and inextricably American, one which strives to overcome the sins of Manifest Destiny and yearns to unite and assuage the hurts and harms, to form a fair, unique and thoughtful family in which each gets an equal place at the table of life: just as Jesus would have been proud to have fostered.

On Memorial Day, I must look back fondly (and somewhat aghast at my youthful audacity) at my service to my country. In my family, it was expected that a young man provide for his country as his country had cradled and provided for him. It was never a question: one provided for that which provided for him.

G'd help us every one, there is no excuse, but that is the sudden depressing -- nay, appalling -- reality with which we are faced. My heart sinks and tears fill my eyes at how easy it has been for us to piss it away. We are at no closer point of losing our cherished Constitutional rights and freedoms that this particular moment in time.

Did the sacrifices of our ancestors mean nothing at all? Does the blood of our fallen veterans mean nothing? Does our national pride, our personal, day-to-day dignity mean so little? Surely, surely-to-G'd, we have more pride and dignity than to allow the few, the privileged, the callous, to purchase for nothing and sell off at profit our national pride, dignity and standing for nothing more than Chinese-manufactured polyester American flags hawked by Wallyworld seems to me altogether all-to inconscionably cheap a price; a mere thrippance on a ten-pound note.

On this Memorial Day, I ask you to think of my fellow veterans; not only of this age, but of centuries past. I ask you to ponder, just for one fleeting moment, the privations and sacrifices of our mothers and fathers of this and centuries past. I ask you to imagine our forefathers suffering in bitter snows, in hunger and in passionate hope of true liberty, true dignity and honest and dignified justice for all -- not just the few.

In G'd's name, please allow this veteran to ask you humbly, in an an earnest and subservient petition to pause -- just for a moment -- to consider and give thanks to G'd for this, the most golden opportunity that Mother Gaia provides, to give thanks that our Founders and Framers loved us so much in G'd's name, to craft, create, and hand down our precious Bill of Rights,

My prayer is that you find it equally worth upholding, protecting and defending, against all enemies, foreign and (think carefully about it!) domestic.

In nomine Domine.

Comments

Tonight, I suppose, more

Tonight, I suppose, more than any other in my life, do I feel the press of 300 years of American ancestry. Tonight, more than any other so far in my life, do I feel such an anxiety about what kind of world I'm soon (well, in the next score-or-so of years, G'd be so kind to grant) to hand down.

It is with many an emotional and tearful redaction that I humbly offer this petition to you, my American brothers and sisters.

Nothing makes one evaluate one's legacy until some kinfolk with "grand" in their kinship arrives. We are most certainly closer to a constitutional crisis than ever before in American history, albeit in the scope of world history, a short, but colorful one.

As I have posted before, my roots reach 300+ years into North Carolina soil. Well, if you trace my white roots. My mellungeon and Native roots run far deeper. I am ineluctibly tied and bound to this soil. My love for this place, this state, and this nation is a mix of that of a mother, a daughter and a lover all at once. This is my home, the land of my eleven-grands-parents and the joy I hope to hand down.

Equal in importance to me are my ties to the Constitution of the United States. North Carolina was known as the Hornets' Nest, the Cradle of Liberty, the home of the Regulators, the First in Freedom and so much more. Two of my many-greats grandfathers were present at the signing of the Mecklenburg Resolves. The Yankees love to talk about Boston, the Minutemen and that's what we got fed in grade-school. When one investigates the time-line of American history, one will find that North Carolina led the way in every way, shape and form.

Of this, am I sprung.

As North Carolinians, we are born an independent people, neither quite red nor blue, classically purplish demopublican, the first to declare independence from Britain, the last to secede from the Union (amidst great internal strife), and we love being Americans.

Well, it seems to me that we used to. My heart breaks; breaks quite in shattered pieces that we seem to have lost our way, our fire, our passion, and our cherished independence.

Sadly, too many of us have thrown away that heritage of proud, independent thought and such a way of life to accept whatever cheap Chinese crap Wallyworld was pushing this week.

Dear G'd, forgive us for not appreciating the gift of independent thought and free will You gave. I, for one, beg Your forgiveness at the lack of consideration in negligently tossing away the bounty of intelligence and considerate mentation You so freely gave.

During my short lifetime (I'll be 50 in two weeks), we've gone from the world leader in textiles and chemistry to accepting last place in whatever.

I mean simply "whatever". However heartbreaking a term that may be, ish-allah, one must admit, here we are. How was it so easy, so slippery-slidey, down-the-red-clay-bank to just toss it all over our collective shoulers?

NC used to have a fine educational system. To wit: I learned English (and have an Appalachian hillbilly's Elizabethan joy in the sweet slipperiness of our language of commerce). This joy of language wasn't acquired at my mother's breast; it was fostered in our school system. My Appalachian kinsfolk reveled in its ancient and modern twists and turns. John Parris and Bob Terrell gave me the courage, pride and joy to share it with you.

Since I'm a child of the 1960's, I was exposed to New Math. Since this is America, I had an equal chance at travelling to the moon. Right? Or am I sadly mistaken?

I'll freely admit, my notion of trigonometry still stinks, but in the least, I was exposed. Granted my lack of talent in that direction, I still was given the chance. Such was the pride of NC's school system -- even the least of us (of which I am certainly one) had the promise of being "something more", "something better" than that poor lot from which we were sprung.

In me, it seemed to take. Or in the least, I hope so.

I'm not convinced in the least that NCLB offers anywhere near the same degree of opportunity. There are younger people posting on many of the blogs I'm wont to inhabit, who can barely spell "cat". When did we lose our pride in excellence and just bloody when did we as a nation lose our will to excel?

When did "good enough" become good enough?

I yearn, deeply in my soul, I yearn to know. Was it the privation and poverty of my youth that commands me to appreciate the potential and promise that the word and concept the very and singular word "America" brings? What is that allows today's youth to believe that all that we have, all that for which our ancestors have striven is simply "for granted".

Allow me to be among the many Progressive patriots who will assure you that freedom is never "for granted". It must be worked, sweated in sweltering summers, shivered in bitter snows, and bitterly labored for. It must be at momentary personal risk. One must be willing to suffer for it. Otherwise, it wouldn't be "freedom" or "liberty" or any other human prize worth existing for.

Occasionally, in such as times as these, one must be willing to die, if necessary, for it. In an age where, at any moment, any one of us can be snatched off the street and imprisoned in Gitmo for opposing the regime (think, just for a second how completely unAmerican a concept that is!!), the idea of American democracy and freedom seem especially rare and precious a commodity.

My ancestors would spin, yea, crawl up out of their graves at the mere passing thought of how close we are coming. My soul cannot rest at night. My spirit cries out to G'd for respite, for mercy, for Goodness to prevail. Again, to each one, "it is up to me, in just this minute to shine but a spark of light, a notion of kindness, a mercy of liberty and dignity" which defines us as truly and inextricably American, one which strives to overcome the sins of Manifest Destiny and yearns to unite and assuage the hurts and harms, to form a fair, unique and thoughtful family in which each gets an equal place at the table of life: just as Jesus would have been proud to have fostered.

On Memorial Day, I must look back fondly (and somewhat aghast at my youthful audacity) at my service to my country. In my family, it was expected that a young man provide for his country as his country had cradled and provided for him. It was never a question: one provided for that which provided for him. Or "her"... such terms equally apply.

G'd help us every one, there is no excuse, but that is the sudden depressing -- nay, appalling -- reality with which we are faced. My heart sinks and tears fill my eyes at how easy it has been for us to piss it away. We are at no closer point of losing our cherished Constitutional rights and freedoms that this particular point in time.

I beg you, just for a moment, to pause deeply and personlly to consider.

Did the sacrifices of our ancestors mean nothing at all? Does the blood of our fallen veterans mean nothing? Does our national pride, our personal, day-to-day dignity mean so little? Surely, surely-to-G'd, we have more pride and dignity than to allow the few, the privileged, the callous, to purchase for nothing and sell off at profit our national pride, dignity and standing for nothing more than Chinese-manufactured polyester American flags hawked by Wallyworld. This seems to me altogether all-to inconscionably cheap a price; a mere thrippance on a ten-pound note.

On this Memorial Day, I ask you to think of my fellow veterans; not only of this age, but of centuries past. I ask you to ponder, just for one fleeting moment, the privations and sacrifices of our mothers and fathers of this and centuries past. I ask you to imagine our forefathers suffering in bitter snows, in hunger and in passionate hope of true liberty, true dignity and honest and dignified justice for all -- not just the few.

In G'd's name, please allow this veteran to ask you humbly, in an an earnest and subservient petition to pause -- just for a moment -- to consider and give thanks to G'd for this, the most golden opportunity that Mother Gaia provides, to give thanks that our Founders and Framers loved us so much in G'd's name, to craft, create, and hand down our precious Bill of Rights,

My prayer is that you find it equally worth upholding, protecting and defending, against all enemies, foreign and (think carefully about it!) domestic.

In nomine Domine.
"The most unamerican thing you can say is 'You can't say that'" - G. Keillor

A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.
Mohandas Gandhi

Thank you

for the beautiful words, the heart, the passion. You are now one more reason I'm glad I moved to NC. They keep piling up..no way I'm going back now.

I, too, have a grand-nephew now. The first grandchild of my deceased brother. The baby, nearly three months old, was christened this past Sunday and I felt such joy, and fear, and sadness that his grandpa wasn't there to see him. And the Memorial Day feeling was strong for me.

I'd actually forgotten what was going on Sunday, being so caught up with the baby thing. But I went to the cemetery later, so see my brother's stone, the place where his ashes were buried, the place where I felt compelled to go for a little "visit" even though I don't believe he's there. The cemetery was crowding up fast..oh no! Memorial Day celebration! I had my private time and then attempted to beat a hasty retreat.

Nope, road blocked, traffic, had to back up, nearly ran over a memorial "display"..I could see it in my rear-view. A pair of worn, beat up combat boots..a rifle with the saber end stuck into the ground..and a helmet sitting on the butt of the rifle.

I teared up..yep, I finally did. Hard thing to see..hard to miss my brother, hard to remember that he was in Nam and came home alive but changed forever, hard to think about those sad, terrible times in the context of today. And hard, again, to think about what that beautiful baby grandson of my brother's grandbaby might face in the future.

I lightened up as I drove home. I thought about the good stuff ahead and how great it will be to be so close to the boy..close enough to watch him grow and to give him bits of advice from the more "left" leaning part of the family. :-)

Thanks again for the beautiful words, the memories and feelings they evoke, and for being who you are.

Thank You, Sir

I envy you your sense of familial history. My own stops at my grandparents.

In a sense, that has given me more freedom; in a sense, it has left me without anyone to 'watch my back'. Yet, I will perservere.

I have chosen to make North Carolina my home because it pleases me to do so.
We have an embarrassment of riches here second to none; not the least its people, such as yourself.

When I cross the veil of tears I hope it will not be said of me that she was a carpetbagger as some are called, nor a Damn Yankee but a North Carolinian who finally found her home.

As a fellow veteran, I congratulate you on your newest addition to a long line of American Patriots.

Dear One

I thank you for your service. No place means more than the one we choose to call home. I admit that I am particularly blessed, to originate, serve, and retire in the land where my many-greats ancestors have lived, served, died and risen to serve again. I consider it my duty and a privelege. I hope that my new great-nephew will enjoy the same joy, continuity and humble privilege to serve the free, the brave (however fearful at the moment we may be) and the ones who have not yet found their voice.

"The most unamerican thing you can say is 'You can't say that'" - G. Keillor

A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.
Mohandas Gandhi

Always inspiring

I love how you write and am so happy that you choose to do so here.

William

Your words sing.
_____________
The Den
It's your democracy; use it.

Unbelievably Moving

No more fitting tribute could possibly have been penned for this day. Thank you.

Your writing

here is a beautiful gift to your new Grand nephew. A legacy to be proud of because you hold it so dear and you fight so well to preserve it.

Thank you.

Hey, kewl!!

The cross-post of this article got front-paged today on the JRE blog site. Thought I'd share the news. Thanks for the wonderful words of support. Y'all have no idea how much it means.

"The most unamerican thing you can say is 'You can't say that'" - G. Keillor

A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.
Mohandas Gandhi

That Is Righteous, bro -

I can hear the passion your voice every time I read this.

It brings to mind, 'Give me liberty or give me death!', brought to you by another Patriot I admire.

"If this be treason, make the most of it."

"Even though - "Henry probably did not say the famous last line of the above quote, i.e. The only account of the speech written down at the time by an eyewitness (which came to light many years later) records that Henry actually apologized after being accused of uttering treasonable words, assuring the House that he was still loyal to the king."

I would submit to you, that if he had not said those words, there would be no reason to apologize.

Never be ashamed of your heritage or your patriotism. Shout it out. Reclaim the victory!

Your passion and your patriotism

are so inspiring Rev. I too am glad that you have joined our Blue Community and blessed us with your words.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

Wonderful words...

...and sentiment. Just a word of thanks for sharing.

Conscious evolution, it's what turns me on. There's got to be a difference between right and wrong.-DTB

Conscious evolution, it's what turns me on. There's got to be a difference between right and wrong.-DTB