All in the Family featured the curmudgeonly Archie Bunker. Archie was television’s most famous grouch, blunt, blustering, straightforward and untouched by the PC crowd. He was the archetype of the conservative male. Michael desprately tried to reeducate him, but he persisted in his breviloquence.

Looking back at the last 40 years, we realize: ARCHIE WAS RIGHT!


Sunday in Church

I wanted to write something profound for Memorial Day. I came up with nothing. I thought about the history behind it and I thought about our current military situation. Ironic that the first Republican president delivered the Republic a mortal blow and this Republican President is doing his best to beat the remaining life out of it. The politics behind America’s wars make it hard to feel patriotic.

Sunday in church we had a visitor. Not really a visitor, I guess. He grew up here. He sat/slouched in my Sunday school class as a teen. He’s a good kid, from a good blue collar American family. He graduated high school and had been living at home working a job and going nowhere in particular. He’s got an older brother who’s a sea-be, so he enlisted.

He came home a few months back after basic training for 30 days, then it was back for more school. He was home this time for two weeks. Next stop Japan, then the Big Sandbox. Two Christmas’s ago, at party before he shipped out, we were joking with the boy that a USMC drill Sgt was like getting married except marriage is harder. Sunday there was no joking.

Memorial Day isn’t about history or politics. Kids coming out of high-school don’t know squat about either. What these boys do know on some instinctive level is that men defend. So they pick up their riffle and go. They can’t afford to ask questions about the morality of the situation once they’ve made their decision. There is no room for a second guess. You go, do your job, keep your head down and try to live to make it home.

You tell your buddies and yourself that what you’re doing is right. That’s how you keep motivated and do what you have to do. What you’re doing is right, if not on political/philosophical grounds, on primeval ones.

Men defend. They fight for home, for friends, for family and for each other. The flag doesn’t represent George pinko-commie-rat-bastard wet-back Bush, the Republican Party, regressive taxation, conspicuous consumption, or any of the other crap symbolized as modern America. The flag represents home, friends and family, boyhood days spent playing army telling your friends that you’re George Washington, John Wayne or Luke Skywalker. Except now your stick gun is a real one, and buddies don’t get up after counting ten when they get shot.

The flag represents all that is sweet about life, it’s the ideal. That’s what our men in uniform are fighting for, an ideal. America may not live up to that ideal in reality, but that doesn’t keep the idea from living in men’s hearts.

As long as the ideal lives, men will stand up to defend it. Those men, past and present, have my admiration, respect and gratitude. They’ve earned it.

Sunday in church, I sat on a pew, next to a young man who is answering the call of his country, his flag and manhood. I looked him in the eye, shook his hand and said thank you.

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