The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

August 31, 2011

VALLEY: Don't take offense to this


The Journal-Register

MEDINA —  

I was making a delivery last week in my Napa pick-up truck when I noticed another truck several car lengths ahead of me. At first, I thought that it, too, was a work truck, because I could see a large sign across the tailgate.

When I got close enough, I could see that it read: “If you’re offended by this flag then call 1-800-LEAVE-THE-COUNTRY.” I was wondering what flag the message was referring to, but after getting even closer, I could see in the corner of this huge sign was a little American flag. I came to realize that it wasn’t a work truck but a personal vehicle.

My take was that because of this sign’s particularly loud declaration and barely visible flag, it smelled less of national spirit than that of someone with a chip on his or her shoulder. Maybe I’m totally wrong — I’ve been accused of that before because … well, ahh ... I’m married.

But let’s get this straight: I’m the proud son of a WWII veteran and I know and appreciate those whose shoulders I stand upon to reach the liberties to which I enjoy. I love our country. Period!

I’m not offended by the flag, but, quite frankly, I was offended by this bumper-sticker’s wordage. That’s probably because I’m also offended by insecure people who use flag-waving as an excuse to stand on a pulpit and look for cheap applause. I’m offended by those who use bully-tactics to insinuate that everything in our nation is just so hunky-dory that if you’ve got an impulse to speak out about anything, you might as well pack your bags and leave the country.

I’m offended by those who equate registering a complaint as contrary to being patriotic.

I’m offended by politicians on both sides of the aisle who, while sitting under the guise of doing what’s best for our nation, can’t come to grips with the reality that their petty politics is driving this country right into the ground.

I’m offended by those in public office who wear American flag lapel-pins and then embarrass our nation by getting involved in sex scandals, payola schemes and other forms of corruption.

I’m offended that our government is constantly wasting huge amounts of money while our Social Security system — which I’ve been putting money into since I was 16 years-old — is going bankrupt.

I’m offended by the fact that the trust I once had in our public officials has turned to skepticism.

I’m offended how often good teachers are denigrated and tossed aside for a few dollars in a budget — yet, parents think nothing of spending much more money buying cell phones (with all the perks) and video games for their children — then still have the gall to blame the school systems for their under-achieving kids. We pledge allegiance to our flag but ignore the tools which will keep our country as great as it is.

I’m offended that professional athletes make more money than doctors, nurses, researchers and scientists.

I’m offended that milk, butter and eggs cost so much money, yet, farmers are struggling to make ends meet.

I’m offended that the police are treated with disdain by the very same people who are the first to call them for their services when in a time of need.

Other than that, things are just hunky-dory.

And that’s the way it looks from the Valley.