Reflections on Patriotism & Old Glory….

For those of you who don’t know, I make part of my living as a professional photographer.  The bulk of this post was on my professional photography blog, but its content is very relevant (perhaps even more relevant) to this blog since it discusses the state of our union – or rather disunion.   I include the photo for impact because as someone who loves their country, mouthing platitudes and waving flags is no longer enough.

For those who don’t know, this flag flies over the town of Mamaroneck every year on Mamaroneck Ave.  I don’t know any other town in Westchester that flies the flag in quite this way, but I really enjoy the effect.  Its understated patriotism without the bells, whistles, and fireworks, yet it has high impact.

On a personal note, this is the 5th independence we are celebrating since the financial collapse of 2008.   Over the past five years I have watched the pitiful and often disingenuous attempts by our government to curtail the excesses of the “free-market cowboys” in the banking industry and on Wall Street.  Being part of the real estate industry, I have had a front row seat into the good, the bad, and the ugly of all the political posturing and the very real suffering of innocent bystanders.  What I have been left with is an emptiness and sadness in the realization that our country no longer functions for “We the People”.  This year, I decided it was time to be more active.  For that reason, I became a local district leader in the city I call home, White Plains, NY.   Its a small contribution, but if every citizen did the same we would perhaps be able to speak with a louder voice.

So while we are celebrating our super-long weekend waving our flags, enjoying the fireworks and praising America and American excpetionalism, we should take a long look in the mirror. What we are celebrating may be the America we knew, not the one that exists today.  If you don’t like what you see, then it is past time to think anew the meaning of patriotism.  It is time to stop the flag-waving, get involved and push back.  Push back HARD against the business, political and financial interests that are content to bring this country to its knees if it suits their interests.  Benjamin Franklin warned us of the danger of complacency. When asked at the end of the constitutional convention what kind of government we now had, he replied “A republic, if you can keep it“.

So wave your flag all you want – but remember that it takes more than flag-waving mouthing patriotic words to keep our republic intact.  A government that represents only the top 0.1% is not a democracy or  a republic.  Such a self-serving government creates its own ruling elite that gives rise its very own home-grown aristocracy.   It is the very thing our founding father’s fought to free themselves from almost 240 years ago.

 

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Original Post – Reflections of Independence Day and Old Glory

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