Saturday, May 25, 2013

Umbrella

I'd stand under that.

I have been told that one should never go grocery shopping when one is hungry, but that advice has never worked for me.  If I go to the store when I’m full, I come back with a basket filled with about half the food I need for the week, most of which is food I’ll never actually want to eat.  If I’m full right now, part of my brain is convinced I’ll be full forever.

My refrigerator is the Saw II of the produce world.
It is a stupid brain, and I have to trick it into buying food by going to the store when I’m quite hungry.  Basically, I have trouble seeing the big picture and envisioning the future.  And I am not alone.


Wait, what?

Speaking of presidents, in eight years we will have another one.  This is always true at any given time in our country.  Right now, it’s three years: significantly shorter than eight.  Yet a large portion of the country appears to be so full of Barack Obama that they have forgotten that the office of the presidency is more than the man who currently occupies it.  This has always been true, and so long as America maintains even a semblance of constitutional republican government it will continue to be true.

The office of the presidency is bigger than any of the men who fill it individually.  As much as I despair for our future as determined by our stupid political system revolving completely around sound bites, lies, and gaffes, the president of the United States is the face of America to the world.  For better, for worse: whoever occupies the office of the presidency is the man who signs or vetoes law, the commander of our armed forces, and the diplomatic representative of our nation.  He is America's first representative; he is our nation personified.

Whether you hate Barack Obama is completely irrelevant to the question of whether the President of the United States is a position deserving of respect.  To protect the President is to protect the presidency; to shelter the President is to metaphorically shelter America.

You know whose job it is to protect and shelter America?  The Armed Forces.




Perhaps we have been mired down in stupid, pointless wars for so long that we’ve forgotten the actual purpose of the armed service: to protect America.  We aren’t doing that in Afghanistan, we certainly did not do that in Iraq, we probably won’t do it in whatever stupid war we decide to fight next.

This nation has ceased to employ soldiers in an actual defense of America for the time being, but at least we haven’t forgotten how to employ them in a symbolic defense.  A sheltering, not of a man, but of a symbol: the face of the nation, the office of the Presidency.

Not only am I not offended by the picture of President Obama giving a speech under the shelter an umbrella held by a marine, it is the first proper use of a Marine I’ve seen in years.

Happy Memorial day, everyone.  Enjoy your barbecues, throw back some beer, maybe take a moment to think about 50,000 men and women we’ve put through the meat grinder in Iraq and Afghanistan in the last 12 years: the 5,000 who are dead now.

And for God’s sake, let’s all hope it doesn’t rain.

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