Friday, May 25, 2018

Reflections On Memorial Day 2018

It is Memorial Day weekend in the U.S. 
The holiday originally was called Decoration Day and was a day of remembrance for Union soldiers who died in the American Civil War. After World War I, it was expanded to include soldiers who died in any war.  It more recently was expanded to allow retailers to shamelessly peddle their stuff at those ubiquitous if dying monuments to rampant capitalism -- the shopping mall.  
As always, I've hung an American flag outside of Kiko's House this Memorial Day, a 48-star banner that long waved outside the rural Minnesota farmhouse of my love's Norwegian immigrant forebears.  
As always, I will keep the weekend simple and go for a hike and perhaps a swim in our spring-fed mountain pool (brr!). 
As always, I will remember that freedom of speech is not protected by journalists like myself but by the men and women who have given their lives to defend American values. 
As always, I will feel a sadness over loved ones and friends who will not be with us  because of their sacrifices.  
But this Memorial Day is different.  So have too many holidays of remembrance as I have slouched into my dotage.   Besides being sad, I also am angry -- a slow burn, I suppose -- over the mess that we've made of our once great country.    
As my cousin County Bumpkin was fond of saying, dissent and bickering are the soundtrack of a democracy.  But this should be a golden age for America and it is anything but.  I cannot recall a time in my life when so few have so much and so many are struggling.   
When an unrelenting fear rules our lives and the president's narcissistic craziness indelibly colors our country and culture. 
When America's heart and soul -- its middle class -- is so beleaguered. 
When we are so incapable of a national consensus on anything beyond the belief that government and many of our institutions have failed us. That things only will get worse before they get better, if they ever get better.    
So what’s to be done about this dismal state of affairs?  
Such pessimism is uncharacteristic of me, let alone Americans in general, and I feel a twinge of shame that I am unable to be more upbeat this Memorial Day weekend.  But my glass is well below half empty, especially when I reflect on the sacrifices our men and woman at arms are asked to make.
Sacrifices for what? An ill-focused War on Terror?  The pathetic war in Afghanistan?  Preparing for the next war with an evil nut who has access to the nuclear codes as commander in chief? 
You tell me.  
-- Love and Peace, SHAUN


Anonymous said...

I feel you Shaun and especially your sentiments of pessimism. I tend, at times like that, to just recall that we are but a sub-quark (if that) in the fabric of time & space and the impact of the comings & goings of politics & our country amounts to what? It's the only thing that gives me any piece of mind when I'm feeling overwhelmed by events, people & politics. Odd that feeling smaller than small helps.

Shaun Mullen said...

A friend offers this:

mickey Omostly said...

Shaun, I have the Holly syuff on my iTunes...that sparked this memory for Memorial Day, titled "Remembering". ;

Fellow, all we get to do is guarantees on the outcome.....this is that historic moment, I feel and hope, that women, who have always been the back bench spine of The Church, really step forward in Politics this year. The signs are there and the Poster child is the ex-fighter pilot , mother of 3 in Kentucky...get a second wind and lets go... All the best,Michael

Anonymous said...

The first #MemorialDay was started by former slaves on May 1, 1865 in Charleston, SC to honor 257 dead Union Soldiers. The freedmen cleaned up and landscaped the burial ground, building an enclosure and an arch labeled, “Martyrs of the Race Course.”