Fri, Nov 10, 2017 at 3:22:28 pm
A couple days ago I mentioned in a comment that I was dreading the upcoming Veterans Day presentation by the public school at my county seat. I opined I would be walking out over politicising the event by the speaker, in the same way he did at a Memorial Day event at our village cemetery two years ago.
Then, it was politicising the event over "liberals protesting bathroom laws" along with the appropriate amount of fearmongering about "your daughters are in danger," &c. I expected that might be the theme this time, considering the record number of transgender people who won elections Tuesday, but I was wrong. This speech was on a different subject, and worse.
I asked my wife a couple days ago if she would support me if I found myself walking out in front of scores of veterans from Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming, and she said yes.
The event started with a luncheon served for veterans, active duty, reservists, and their families. The meal was well-attended and the school went all out to make us feel appreciated. I had the opportunity to speak to my state senator while I was there (though it was not about politics, it was about my membership in the VFW).
Afterwards was the programme the school put on in the auditorium. As we entered the auditorium, we passed the county sheriff, who said "he was still keeping an eye on me" (a running gag between us ever since we moved here). My wife and I sat in the third row from the stage.
After a solo performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner," the elementary school choir sang the song American Tears by Teresa Jennings (inspired by 9/11 but written for her father's commitment in WW2, history of the song at the link plus audio recording, 2:31). That was followed by the high school concert band performing "A House Divided" by Brian Balmages (a song based on Abraham Lincoln's 1858 speech about slavery, link goes to a YouTube recording of the Omaha Central Concert Band performing the piece in 2013, 4:45).
Then came the keynote speaker, the moment and the person I feared would politicise an event meant to bring all together, and he did not disappoint in the politicise department.
He started out fairly enough with a humorous icebreaker (unfolding five feet of prepared remarks, which drew laughter from the assembly). He then noted the history of Armistice Day and the point of Veterans Day today. Then he veered off into the right wing nutjob weeds (which was apparently part of his written speech), with lying for all.
He sounded off on those protesting police violence in the NFL, claiming their kneeling during the National Anthem was "disrespectful of the troops and veterans." He claimed "You have no right to be offended" at which point my wife was ready to leave. (She later said that "that asshole pissed all over the graves of my family members who fought the Nazis.") He then segued into "violent leftist protests" and how such protests are "seditious."
At that point I grabbed my trilby hat, and said loud enough for others to hear around me to my wife, "Okay, I'm done." I plopped my hat on my head and donned my coat, as my wife stood and the speaker droned on about sedition. Just to our left was the elementary school choir watching us.
This speech did not honour veterans or the Constitution; it stood against everything veterans swore the oath and put on the uniform for. It stands against the affirmation I made as a politician.
Yeah, no, every political movement in the history of the country was started by people offended at the status quo. My wife noted as we left, "We do not have thought crime in our country." I hope our bit of protest and offence impressed the elementary children more than the fascist speech from the stage (which, to use the trope, would have sounded better in the original German).
Passing everyone in the auditorium (about three hundred people), then the school staff at the doors, we left the building. I noted a car parked near ours with a bumper sticker that reads "I'm a Christian and I Voted for Trump." That sticker was the topper for my day.
Afterwards, we went to the bank, as we had business there. When asked why we'd left the event early, I stated to the bank teller I was not going to sit through an indoctrination session of fascism and lying to children. I repeated the statement at the butcher shop. Gossip will ensure everyone in the area knows who it was (if the trilby hat didn't give me away).
I expect by tonight everyone in the area will know who it was that walked out . . . we'll see if people come to burn us out of our home tonight. The idea of an elected Democratic Socialist walking out of a Veterans Day event (never mind that I am a disabled Navy veteran) might be just a bit too much.
In the unlikely event it wasn't clear why we left, my wife and I will prepare a joint letter to the editor of the county newspaper (since a reporter we know was there) explaining why we left. (I expect they won't publish it because such a walkout on Veterans Day does not fit the political correctness required of living in such a conservative area.)
This man, with his claims of "sedition" and "you have no right to be offended" took a big steaming dump on my wife's WW2 uncle who died in that war, her two brothers who served in the National Guard and another brother in the Navy, several of her nieces and nephews, two aunts and four uncles. In my family that dump was on every last person in my family, living and dead (some by combat in WW2 and Vietnam). All of us in both families stood up exactly for the right to protest, and every other right outlined in the US Constitution.
How dare he call protest "sedition." I've been watching this fellow ever since his speech at our cemetery a couple years ago; he appears to be trying to build a coalition to run for office. If he does, I'll be there to run against him.
Okay, George Soros, you deadbeat, I'm waiting for my cheque as a paid protester. /s