America By Rote

American flag

Today is Memorial Day, where Americans honor our fallen soldiers with parades and cookouts and basically having parties, doing so just because it’s a thing we’re supposed to do. Which, writing it out, seems a little weird, but I never thought of that much until this year.

I know, I know: The fallen heroes would rather have us enjoy our freedoms instead of moping about like a bunch of sad-sacks who don’t have the common courtesy to at least enjoy what their lives had bought us.

But how many of us consciously honor the fallen as we make our celebratory hot dogs? I don’t know. And honestly, I don’t know if it matters anymore. To most people, Memorial Day is a Monday off from work when they can get drunk and go to the beach. I can’ t say that I’m going to any memorials or cookouts or parades (mainly because I’m living in a part of the country where I don’t know anybody).

If you are a military family though, or one who has served, this day is incredibly important to you and I’m not trying to denigrate what it was established for one bit. Remember and mourn for your fallen comrades and family members. They are certainly worth remembering.

It makes me think though: What have the lives of these fallen men and women bought us? Look around America these days. What do you see? I see many different Americas that really don’t like each other. I see an America tearing itself apart over some of the stupidest stuff on the face of the planet. I see an America that is under attack by a bloodthirsty enemy, and our institutions bend over backwards to defend that enemy. Is this their legacy? Continue reading “America By Rote”

Guest Post: Staying Authentic in Trying Times by Avtomat Khan of Hidden Dominion

We’re at an interesting crossroads in society. For those of us who has been around or studied politics for a long time, it doesn’t really seem like it used too. The political polarization of society has shifted.

Sure, there has always been some violence, and much debate–but now it seems like it has coming to a boiling point. A “point of no return” where discourse has taken a backseat to “you’re on my side, or you’re out.” Where someone’s feelings matter more than fact.

The culture has shifted. Instead of focusing on merit and the important issues of liberty, the focus is on virtue signaling and power.

Where if you don’t get on the bandwagon, it takes off without you.

Many people in some industries such as Hollywood or Silicon Valley have to agree with whatever their superiors or colleagues are supporting. If they don’t, they’ll be out of work. More and more industries are starting to turn this way. Some companies will even fire employees strictly for posting non-PC comments on the Internet.

Not only this, but now many people are losing friends over political or moral viewpoints? What has happened to us that just disagreeing has become such a terrible event?

I like to think of this part of our current history as the “Modern Regressive Era” or “The Trying Times.”

There are a lot of reasons this has come to fruition. And based on my opinion, a large chunk of that responsibility comes from people giving up and feeling hopeless about being able to change anything.

It’s easy to feel hopeless. It doesn’t require any work. All it requires is for you to forsake all of your values.

But these trying times aren’t here for you to give up and lose all hope. They are here to test your resolve, and most notably, your courage.

But don’t get me wrong. We’ve all been there. It’s hard to cope with an uneasy future, and that feeling that nothing you do could help.

It’s difficult feeling like you don’t have control.

But the fact is: You DO.

Society may seem and act like a machine. But it’s not. It’s a human invention. And like all of our inventions, it’s malleable. It’s based on us; we make up the machine.

And the only way to edit it, is to edit ourselves. The best way to do this, is through the virtues of authenticity and courage. Continue reading “Guest Post: Staying Authentic in Trying Times by Avtomat Khan of Hidden Dominion”

Why D-Day Still Matters

D-Day landing June 6, 1944 Omaha Beach

What is it about war stories that fires the imaginations of men? Most of us don’t particularly want to die, but there is something primal about facing death, testing your mettle and proving that you can stare down the worst possible outcome and make it through to the other side. And if you are fighting to defend the good, the true, and that which is worth protecting, sacrificing yourself paradoxically becomes more attractive.

I think about this every time we have a national day of remembrance about some war-time event here in the US. World War II hits close to home because it affected my family, particularly the men: my father’s father fought in Europe with the Army and his brother–a great-uncle I never knew–lost his life serving in the Navy, while my mother’s father spent the bulk of his childhood in Italian- and later Nazi-occupied Greece.

My grandmothers were affected too, living in times of rationing and sacrifice on the homefront, as did other relatives of mine and those of hundreds of millions of other Americans.

But D-Day is something special. Those men–not boys, but men–knew they were probably going to die and leapt out of those boats onto the beach at Normandy anyway. Continue reading “Why D-Day Still Matters”