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I was in my second parade of the year with the lodge, this time for West Seneca Community Days.  I got to hold the American flag again, and again I got salutes from a few vets.  However, one caught my attention above all others.  In front of one house stood a man whose apparent age could mean only one thing — he was part of the [[Greatest Generation]].

His face was resolute as he saluted the colors, and I could tell he knew the meaning of my nod to him.

But what happened next brought other feelings to heart.  His oblivious daughter (granddaughter?) told him to sit down — that it was too hot for him to be “standing”.  And I thought to myself, why is the one who most earned the right to sit and watch the parade the only one standing when the Flag passes?  What have we become?  No Masonic meeting starts without a prayer and the [[Pledge of Allegiance]] — are we just being old-fashioned?  Sentimental?  Archaic?  Is the America fought for on the beaches of Normandy a thing of the past?  A legend?  A myth?  What will happen when the last vet of WWII passes on?  Will it be only “history”?

The last few years, I’ve delved into political discourse and debate.  I’ve educated myself on topics I didn’t think were all that important just a few short years earlier.  And either I’ve become more aware of how bad things are, or they really are getting worse at an accelerated pace.  One friend assured me that perhaps it was a bit of both.  I am conservative in the sense that I feel meaningful traditional values are threatened, yet not in line with other conservatives who are too busy being intolerant and are just as opportunistic as anyone else, bastardizing the traditions of past to their own advantage.

I don’t know where the future will take the society around me, or the role I’ll play, but I find myself preparing for revolution, simply because of where we already ended up.  I don’t think a full turnover of government is an avoidable solution, and the only question is the form it will take, somewhere in the vast expanse between peaceful and catastrophic.

In fact,  I spoke before a group of Vets recently, impromptu, about recent laws hurting the homeless and needy, some of which they were themselves.   After I explained restrictions in Florida for transporting donated food, one woman asked if they would outlaw people bringing frozen foods home without vehicular refrigeration and I said “Of course they will!  If they can outlaw 16 ounce beverages, they can do anything.  And if we look back twenty years ago and saw the laws we had today, nobody would believe it.”  I can’t believe I did it — in a federal facility nonetheless — but I spoke of peaceful yet active sedition (as happened in Iceland) as a moral imperative where a government no longer lets us take care of our ourselves.

One person after another said they would join me in defying the laws preventing the feeding of the homeless.  I said we need to march on Washington and drag our Congressman out by their collars and replace them with people who will bring us back to sanity.  And I found myself surrounded by applause from people who already gave dearly for our country.  It was very surreal.

And I couldn’t help thinking it was no wonder that veterans groups are being watched by “Homeland Security” — they know the score better than the rest of us.  America means something to them that we take for granted, meekly paying our taxes and bitching at the water cooler over which news station is more biased.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but my intent to acquire at least one firearm this year is not for venison or to thwart some random home invasion.   I understand the clear and ultimate purpose of the 2nd Amendment, and I intend to stand with my more courageous neighbors if need be.  And I’m not going to be quiet about it, worrying about the HSA reading my blog and putting me on their watch list for sedition.  Citizens should not be ashamed of being willing to do what our forefathers did, and in my view, silence is consent.  Well, I don’t consent any more, and I am hardly alone.

We all are taking some role — consciously or not — to shape the future of our nation, and for the first time in my life, I’m willing to accept more than a little responsibility.  I wish our change to be peaceful, and just — Heaven help it to be so! — and have no small fear that some of the groups most likely to actively revolt will bring more harm than good.  But if the People rise and the government (that once WAS of, by, and for the People) does not stand down — or attacks its citizenry — I will not hide my family in the basement and hope it passes.  I know which side I will be on.

But I am noticing a cultural shift toward accepting an oppressive fate in movies and shows, from [[Firefly]] to the [[Hunger Games]].  [[Dystopia]] is not a novel theme, but it seems that lately we’re embracing the sentiment that the good guys don’t always win.  It doesn’t matter if it’s true, but gone are the days of Camelot, the Return of the Jedi, or a crowd standing when the Flag marches past.  I am told that nothing matters if you can’t win, and yet the unknown man who stood in front of a column of Chinese tanks is a perpetual, unforgotten symbol; the battle the Spartans are most known for is the one they lost after holding their ground against all odds for so long.

Part of my wants to meditate in the woods and make the world a better place in the little ways of life and Love and sympathetic vibrations of Peace — not to get my “hands dirty” and instead seek a “higher” path.  (Yoda comes to mind, though maybe that’s a bad example.)  And part of my wants to tilt at windmills and go on some damn fool idealistic crusade.  The country’s future is not written yet, and that means my future as well.  But none of this is an either/or proposition.  I really have no idea what exact circumstances will arise and what reactions or roles I will take, other than plans to continue writing on subjects of civics and justice, and prepare to protect my home, family, and person from more than burglars.  And I know that without my involvement in the dialogue already surrounding us, there would be one less voice for a peaceful resolution without going to a new extreme.

It is perhaps truly a bane to “live in interesting times” … and even if every time harbors the view such a description applies to them, there is no doubt that in my view it applies to my own life and lifetime.