Spirit of America

I’ve recieved my new Franklin Covey planner today. Because of sold out stock I had to choose the Spirit of America planner. My first choices were Leadership and the Bally’s Health and Fitness ones. My hesitance to pick the Spirit of America planner wasn’t out of any spirit, I deeply love this country. No, the reason was that I had feared that the planner would be a shallow, band-wagon patriotism article commonly seen after 9-11. But I do not wish to make it sound as though I believe all the flag waving after 9-11 was such, as is so harshly said about flag wavers at the time. It was a powerful grieving process for us as a country.

I am happy with the look of the planner. The colors are wonderful. I am happy with some of the quotes given on the daily pages. Yet it seems that the quotes were the response of Americans from all walks of life on what the spirit of America was. As such the theme is a year long theme (whereas the leadership planner would have bouts of communication, vision, integrity, etc… along the months). And while not all the quotes I’ve browsed through thus far are particularly great, there are some gems here and there. Take for instance Paul Putman, 32, Cleveland, OH who says

I find it wonderful that because I have the freedom to burn the flag, I value it so much that the act is unthinkable.

Understood, my thoughts exactly. When asked about the flag burning issue, it is much like the answer that I have for capital punishment when they say “what if it was your family they killed?” As a community of citizens involved in a democracy (we hope) it is imperitive that we use the process of government not in limiting freedom, securing even greater liberty (for this can be a slippery slope as much as censorhip), but in the communication and enlivenment of ideals. If we are to be a great country, a great people, we would hope that our greatness would come from being a people of ideals, instead of conquering the world as the Romans or Persians. As we then promote ideals they have a greater than the individual significance, the individual lives to strive for the ideal, not to wallow in low mediocrity and to change the rules to fit the lazy fad of the day. Yes, I admit that were someone to murder my family members I could very well go ballistic and who knows what I might do, for I do have a very dark and evil side should I ever need it. Yet human nature has a very dark side to it and is it not the purpose of civilization, of community, to be a collective voice to help steer us out of such a dark side of human nature? The same with the flag burning. It is possible that were I to see someone burning one I’d pummel the guy, but I hope that someone would try to stop me from losing control of myself (if I were unable to). When I think of it, imagining someone burning the flag I picture one of the local angry youths, high on meth, burning the flag just to be funny. Yes, I’d likely pummel the guy into a pulp. But what if the person was one with legitimate issues? What would it take for me to burn the flag? Having stopped on this I find it a great service to my country to take the flag to the capital steps and light it on fire, standing solemnly and looking out at the people watching me. As to the reason I could give some, the increasing division of labor, the slaving of part-time workers, the psychotic health care system, the lack of attention given to education, profit driven enterprise in natural resources which compromise the integrity of our environment, the fact that I pay a quarter of my income in taxes and yet all I get is politicians who line their nest eggs with my money and drill in areas I consider sacred space. Yes, burn the flag on the capital steps, get the country to stop and gasp, anger them, give them pause in their day, and then listen to what I have to say. In this respect, I believe that burning the flag should be protected under our constitution under free speech.

I have one problem with the planner. That is that on the cover of it there is a quote. When I read the quote I thought that it was nice and fuzzy, but not really that great, that it didn’t really say anything but blow smoke. Then I read the name of the person who said it…

I believe the great strength of our country lies not in our halls of government, but in the hearts and souls of the American people…. It’s a million acts of kindness and compassion on a daily basis that define the true spirit and the true stength of America.
~ President George W. Bush

I am not exactly thrilled with having the words of a man I believe has absolutely no concern for “the American people”. It isn’t that I disagree with him because he is a Republican. Yes, I give quips to republicans at times, yet I again and again will look into their platform with honest openness to join their party. There are facets of the republican party that I do like a lot. I think that the republican party is a body with a poor spirit, that the spirit of such is corrupted and cannot be trusted. No, I disagree with Bush because I do not trust his character, nor his integrity in the slightest. But I do trust Bush a hell of a lot more than I trust Cheney. It would be a wonderful sight to see Cheney’s stock options go down the drain, for him to become poor, to have to move to some poor neighborhood where he was a minority, and work in a filthy, laborious job with no health benefits, no job safety, no concern about the industrial consequences to the environment around him and its effect on his health. Oh yes… I can always dream.


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