Support for nation mustn’t be all-inclusive

Democracy is complicated. The Nov. 7 diatribe of Mike Masterson, “Those Who Stood,” does little to enhance the discourse needed to keep the ship of state on course. In his effort to bestow deserved recognition on millions of veterans, he mistakenly conflates a number of other issues and distorts the discussion to impose his personal life-views on us all.

He confuses patriotism with military service. It is possible to have one without the other. Respect and recognition for the veterans who have honorably served this country is fine and deserved. Adulation of the military machine is not. Atrocities such as Wounded Knee, My Lai, Guantanamo Bay and the “collateral damage” of thousands of civilians killed to this day by errant drone strikes are only a few of the egregious acts of a military machine that often goes off track.

He mistakes an act of sincere, non-violent dissent (kneeling at a sports event while the national anthem is being played) with the player’s personal stature, wealth and position. I feel sorry for anyone who does not recognize that the black sports players who are “taking a knee” feel strongly enough about the obvious injustices, particularly to people of color, by parts of our justice system that they are willing to incur the weight of public opinion and disfavor by silently showing alliance with those who cannot get the spotlight of public attention otherwise focused on their pain. It would be much easier for these players to merely “go along to get along.”

He demeans anyone who voted for Bernie Sanders as “shocking,” and equates socialism with tyranny.

He apparently identifies socialism with repressive regimes like China or Vietnam. He would do well to ask the citizens of such “socialist”countries as Sweden, the Netherlands or even Canada if they feel oppressed. He might learn that “socialism,” like democracy, is a many faceted thing.

I truly feel sorry for anyone who fails to recognize that this country was founded upon dissent, that it is a foundational right, it is part and parcel of a functioning democracy. It is true: This country owes much to millions of veterans, alive and dead, who fought bravely to defend the freedoms we have and hold dear. However, true patriotism comes in many forms. Perhaps Mark Twain said it best: “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time and your government when it deserves it.” Sometimes, the government doesn’t deserve it.


Van Buren

Daylight saving time

serves no purpose

Last Sunday we started resetting our eight clocks in the house. I forgot why, other than to be in compliance with all the other clocks. The two in the cars will probably have to be taken to the dealers.

I read somewhere, not in this newspaper, that the Department of Transportation estimated setting the clocks back an hour will save one percent of energy. What does the Department of Transportation have to do with that? What was the basis for the estimate? Don’t people leave the lights on an hour longer in the morning?

As I recall President Roosevelt required this, and I was around back then, simply to remind people that there was a war on. It served no functional purpose. Daylight time is no greater by resetting the clocks.




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