by Mark Bradley
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Itís been about two weeks now that we celebrated the independence of this country. We had the parades and the flag waving and the fireworks. We sang the songs and told the stories and had our yearly good feeling about living in the U.S.A. But what happened after the hoopla? What did you do when the mayhem died down? Whereís your flag now?
If you answered that you put it away with the rest of your decorations, then I want to talk to you today. That ďdecorationĒ that you just tucked away behind the artificial Christmas tree is not being shown the proper respect. Yes, I said respect. The flag that represents this land has gone through as much history as the country itself. It has been changed, honored, burned by more countries than any other, been used as a rallying symbol for battle, been added to, desecrated, revered, and actually has laws pertaining to it. Around the world, it inspires feelings of pride and distaste, fear and relief, honor and shame. Take care of it.
Iím not even here to discuss the flag today. I just wanted to get that off my chest. I want to know how you feel today. I want to know if you consider yourself a patriot today. Just about everybody considers himself or herself a patriotic American on July 4th. Iím writing this on July 19th, and I want to know what your level of patriotism is right now? If itís something that you donít think about regularly, then maybe we need to sit down and discuss the matter.
I bring this up because, more and more these days, itís getting harder to show any type of pride in this country without being classified as a nut. I have a fundamental problem with that notion, for obvious reasons. What is so wrong with being proud of where you live? What type of person is so disgusted with this country that they are blind to the greatness that exists here everyday? Why in the world would anybody, who claims to be a solid American, display such hatred for this place so as to actually seek to tear it apart?
Most people see things in a negative light. Do a little self-examination. How do you see this world? Do you see the crime, the filth, the problems that are all around us? Or do you see the opportunity that exists? Do you see the ability and freedom that enable? Do you see the good that is done, even when itís out-numbered by so much else? Itís not easy, but through a little self-exam of my own, I have discovered a few things that may help you get started. Take a walk with me now, and see if you can find the good in what happens in a cruel world.
The first thing I find is that God is still in control. He didnít die, walk off, or order some popcorn for the movie that is this planet. He is still controlling the rotation of the globe. Yeah, I know. The world sometimes seems like it was planned out by Manny, Moe, and Jack. But think about this, was that Godís fault, or was it a series of decisions that were made by men that we are now having to live with? Ever hear about sleeping in the bed you made? The good news is that we do have some say in how things go. We are not going to stop the coming end. Not going to happen. Christ will return. He promised us that, and that settles the issue. But we can live in this world with a better sense of what is right and just and decent. Think Iím kidding? Have you watched TV lately?
Second, we are still in a free nation. No, freedom does not mean that we can go out and do as we see fit. Not the meaning that was intended by the founding fathers. Freedom is not free. It costs everybody, not just soldiers. They often pay with their lives, even when they are not killed in battle. Civilians pay for freedom by showing respect for the law and for the sacrifices made. Iíve said this before; you have the right to swing your arm in any direction you want, but that right is limited to where my nose begins. We have a responsibility to uphold the law. We have the responsibility to make sure that this country is preserved in itís original state for the coming generations, so that they can pursue their American dream.
We are the biggest war machine this world has ever seen. No standing army can even come close to the awesome power of the United States military. And with all that force, we still refuse to occupy and control the planet. The ability to run over this planet and make it run as we see fit has never been easier. With a few well-placed bombs and with a few well-placed troops, we could overtake this world in about a week. Anybody see that happening? NO! We finally decided to topple the evil regime in Iraq, and we purposely aimed away from the power plants and hospitals and schools and the like. Why? Because, contrary to the popular belief by a certain political party, we are not the bad guy. I want to say this for the boys on the left in the cheap seats. WE ARE NOT THE BAD GUY! For years the Liberal Left has told us that we are to blame for the worlds problems and we need to pay them back for all the harm weíve done. Last time I checked, this world had better be glad we got our dander up about the wrong that happens around here, or quite a few other countries would have had to learn a new language. You listening France?
I want all of you to know that there are many things that do go right in this country. You got up this morning, right? Put that in the win column. Your kids are okay? You have a job? You went to church Sunday and nobody tried to shoot at you because you went? You still got to vote last time? (Sit down convict.) These are all things that I consider to be blessings. You want to complain that your car wonít start? Fine. Just donít cry to the government that itís their fault and they have to fix it. Letís think a little more people.
Itís not a perfect world. Perfection before the return of Christ is not going to happen. Get used to it. Things are going to go wrong. Learn to deal with it. You will not always get your way. Think about what did go your way. No system is perfect and things break down in the most democratic systems. Just look at John Kerry. He was even a choice? Stop looking for perfection and concentrate on what is going right. Fix what you can, but donít be obsessed with the wrong. Remember, we are going to get through this just fine. Just watch where you swing that arm.
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