By Nate Slate
Have we lost sight of the immense value of freedom and liberty? There is nothing more important for Americans. There is nothing more foundational to our country. Across the history of our country, freedom has had such a high cost in blood. We have always thought that the sacrifice was worth it. Our liberties are so unique to America. So much a part of who we are as a people.
These days, when you look at the lawlessness that manifests itself in parts of America, you must wonder if we have forgotten how we got here – how we came to have such amazing liberties. Our disrespect of each other implies that we have forgotten that we are on the same side.
Moreover, we are behaving like our existence is guaranteed. Has the military done such a good job of insulating America from danger, protecting us from the wolf at the gate, that we no longer believe there is a wolf? China has proclaimed their intentions. They say they will have their military completely modernized by 2035. They say they will be peerless by 2050. In no uncertain terms, they have said that they will become the next global hegemon. If we lose sight of the fact that we are taking part in the compete phase of multi-domain warfare, China will make us pay. Life for Americans may never be the same. Our liberties will no longer be guaranteed.
What about Russia? Russia will not be satisfied until its prestige is restored. Russia will compete with China for the global reigns. Their investment in military spending indicates they are serious. They will not allow China to leave them in the dust. As for America, they will continue to do all they can to challenge the integrity of our elections and pit Americans against each other. Their focus upon the “gray zone” of conflict represents their commitment to a cheap win over America. From their perspective, they simply need to encourage what looks like an American implosion.
Certainly, our behavior makes us look very vulnerable to our enemies. Hitler allegedly said that you do not have to worry about democracies, they will fall from their own weight. If you are a country who enjoys America’s struggles, there is much to celebrate. China must certainly think we are on the brink of surrendering our freedom. Russia will do all it can in terms of information operations to accelerate the process of our demise.
We have forgotten that life on this planet for Homosapiens has always been tribal. America has been called a melting pot for these tribes. These days, they might say we are a tossed salad. But, the fact remains that Americans are a unique people. We must not forget, that in the worst of times, it is us against those who desire our ruin.
We might view our current struggles as a family quarrel. Like all family quarrels, we must do all we can to find the common ground and protect sacred relationships. America has much to be proud of. We mustn’t forget that. We have much work to do to achieve our sacred goals for this country. We must not forget this either. But, whatever happens in America, it is a family issue. Our family. We must not succumb to those who would love to see this family fall apart.
When the national anthem is played, we have been taught to stand and put our right hand over our heart. I have always thought of it as an oath. We are pledging together to support and defend our Constitution and our country. We are also pledging together to make America all that it was intended to be. Standing together, we recommit to the pursuit of the American dream – the colors of the flag representing the immense sacrifice that gave us the right to stand.
When people kneel during the anthem, they say they are not intending to insult soldiers, or the flag. They are bringing attention to issues that need to be addressed. For retired military, kneeling does not feel like an option. However, standing does not mean that we are insensitive to the issues being addressed.
Surely, there is common ground. We might consider kneeling together in prayer for America, before standing together to renew our commitment to America. We must find the common ground. Our tribe of tribes must band together. We must find a way. Our enemies wait at the gates. We must not lose sight of what we have to lose. Sometime soon, we must stand together for a strong future.
Nate Slate is a retired Soldier and community volunteer.