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Nov. 11 in America is Veterans Day, the day set aside to honor those who served in our Armed Forces. These are people who deserve to be honored and celebrated.

Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day, as Nov. 11, 1918 was the day an armistice, or cease fire, ended the Great War, or what is now called World War I.

It was less than a generation later that the world was plunged into another worldwide war, one that would become known as World War II. The carnage and destruction of that war made the first one look mild by comparison.

Following World War II, Armistice Day was changed to Veterans Day to honor everyone who served in our Armed Forces.

Like Memorial Day, Veterans Day should be more than just a day off from work. It should be a time for reflection on what it means to be an American.

What is a military veteran? For the most part, they are people who decided to spend some of the best years of their lives defending this nation. They knew they might get shot at or have people from other countries throwing explosives at them. They did it because they believed this nation was worth defending.

What would the world be like without America’s Armed Forces? Just consider the 20th and 21st Centuries. Can you imagine a world controlled by German imperialists or Nazis, Italian Fascists, Japanese militarists, Russian or Chinese Communists, or Islamofascists? That’s what the world would look like.

The least we can do is show our appreciation to our veterans for what they did. Take the time to thank a vet, or cheer for them at the Veterans Day parade on Nov. 13. Even if they didn’t serve in wartime, they deserve our gratitude.

You may also want to read the documents that built this nation, the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. You will likely understand what America stands for a lot better. You will also find that those people who malign these documents these days have no idea what they’re talking about.

Happy Veterans Day, everyone.

Observations on the Election

The 2021 Election is over. While not as significant as the mid-terms or a Presidential election, we can still learn a lot about the mood of the country from elections like these. While most commentators focus on what it means for the political parties, I’d like to make these general observations about the American body politic.

First, Americans are clearly angry. We’re angry about everything in general. You may recall the scene in the movie “Network” where Peter Finch’s newscaster character told everyone to scream out their windows, “I’m mad as Hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!” Well, that describes America’s mood today. We’re all mad as Hell, and we’re taking it out on each other.

The second is Americans are suspicious of each other. Elvis Presley’s song “Suspicious Minds” describes America today. We’re quick to ascribe ulterior motives to anyone who disagrees with us. We assume the people who disagree with us are lying, or they are dishonest. We loudly condemn them as stupid at best and evil at worst. We have already decided the people who disagree with us are lying, cheating, or out to steal what’s ours. On the other hand, since we know they’ll do that to us, and because they are unspeakably evil, it’s okay if we do it to them.

Finally, there’s an attitude that people want things done their way and they’ll destroy anyone who disagrees with them. Take the actions we want on climate change, or we’ll destroy you. Say the candidate we supported won the election, or we’ll destroy you. Say what we want you to say, or we’ll destroy you. Say “Black Lives Matter” and raise your fist, or we’ll destroy you. Resist wearing a face mask and don’t get vaccinated or we’ll destroy you. The list goes on and on.

No wonder we are so divided, if we have these attitudes. We can’t even come together to fight a nasty little virus!

What does all this mean for a political system based on the idea of people working together, having reasonable discussions and reaching consensus? I don’t know, but whatever it is, I don’t think it can be good.

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