We started a baseball game at Granite Hills this afternoon. (The rain cut it short in the third inning.) As I do at Poway, the folks at Granite Hills play music between innings. Their tastes lean to country. Amongst their selections today were Darryl Worley's "Have You Forgotten?" and Lee Greenwood's "Proud To Be An American". The former mistakenly set me off and sent my hand flying to the "Play" button on the iPod. It starts "I hear people saying we don't need this war", and I'm tired of hearing that from the blind-patriots about the war in Iraq. I say "mistakenly" because Worley wrote it about Afghanistan.
For the latter, cranking the iPod to 11 was no mistake. The Greenwood song is a joke now.
Yes, you read me right. It's a joke. It means nothing. It cannot be taken seriously by a rational person. Maybe it was valid before, but it isn't anymore.
"...I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free."
Yeah, tell that to Mike Hawash. (There's also some followup commentary.) There's at least 44 other people just like him, who are or have been in federal custody, without charge, without trial, without any clear circumstances when they will or would be released.
Of course, give Hawash's captors what they want, and they'll be able to strip citizenship from people, too.
"And I won't forget the men who died, who gave that right to me."
Now this, this is dead wrong. That line asserts that rights are granted by the shedding of blood. This nation's founding document asserts of its people "that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights", that this truth is "self-evident". (Yes, I know the Declaration isn't legally binding. But it shows us the direction the later documents lead, the principles on which they are based.)
It is proper to accord an added measure of gratitude and respect to our friends and neighbors who chose to serve, to put their lives at risk to defend those rights. But they didn't give us anything we didn't already have.
Play it, sing along if you like. I won't object, and I won't stop you outside my home or car. Just don't get upset when I scowl in annoyance, crank up Rob Dougan on my headphones, and think a little less of you, as I did today.