Tired of sitting on your hands while others are tearing up the country by their words and ugly deeds? Tired of remaining quiet while Antifafa (Anti-Fascist Fascists), extremists, and nut-jobs are canceling culture, swarming those with whom they disagree with obscenities and threats on social media, and attacking law enforcement?
Time to get in the game. Time to remind our fellow citizens to love their country.
Here are some ways we can make a difference in this mess, ways that preclude violence, bad language, ugly online comments, and direct confrontation. These suggestions may strike readers as ridiculous or goofy, but so it goes.
The next time you’re shopping in the grocery store, try whistling, humming, or even softly singing, as if absentmindedly, “God Bless America.” Other songs would work as well, such as “God Bless The USA,” “You’re A Grand Old Flag,” “America The Beautiful,” and “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” We can remind those around us that America is still a city set on a hill. To pull this off, remember to look as if you’re focused on the price of chicken soup instead of the song.
Consider putting an American flag outside your home. Affix it to the front porch, or if you have a smaller flag, put it in the garden by the sidewalk. If you live in an apartment, tape a flag to the window or plant one in the flowerbox. That flag serves a reminder, often an unconscious one, of all those living and dead who have made this country great.
Type a love letter to America. Aim for clarity and good grammar, but above all aim for sincerity. What is it you love about living in the United States? Often we take the blessings of our country for granted. The events of recent days – the coronavirus, the riots – have demonstrated the fragility of some of our liberties.
Avoid the negative in your letter. Avoid attacking others who consider you an enemy. Try to fill that page with joy, light, and love of country.
When the letter pleases you, post it on Facebook. If that prospect frightens you, if you fear becoming the latest victim of screeching crazies, then make copies of the letter, put them in an envelope, address it “To America,” and begin dispatching these missives. If you’re in the grocery store, slip one in among the boxes of Golden Grahams or wine bottles. If you’re out and about, and the weather permits, leave a letter tucked between the boards of a park bench, on a restaurant table, or in your library’s collection of new books.
(For those among you terrified by writing, please feel free to copy the letter I have posted here on my blog.)
Next up are the police. Right now, I can scarcely imagine how many in law enforcement must feel about their jobs. Savaged by protesters, criticized – often wrongly – by the media, and threatened with defunding by weak-kneed politicians, I expect their morale is at an all-time low. Meanwhile, every day and every night these officers are out on the streets trying to protect us. Without the police, we would soon descend into savagery and chaos, a gang-run culture more like Mogadishu than Milwaukee.
So this one’s simple. Many of us are already in the habit of personally thanking the men and women in our military for their service. Why not extend this same act of gratitude to the men and women in blue? It’s easy: just walk up and tell them they are appreciated.
Want to go a step farther? Bake or buy some cookies and pay a visit to your local police station. Flowers will do as well. Such small acts can have a tremendous impact on officers wounded by the charges hurled against them. (I delivered four dozen cookies to our sheriff’s department. The guy behind the glass window who received them along with my thank you seemed a little confused, so I doubt this is a regular occurrence. Have some fun and give it a try.)
We can touch a patriotic chord and sow harmony without resorting to the radical rhetoric and rioting of those who seek to tear our country down.
All it takes is some action.
And that’s up to us.
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Flickr-TenSafeFrogs, CC BY 2.0
Jeff Minick lives in Front Royal, Virginia, and may be found online at jeffminick.com. He is the author of two novels, Amanda Bell and Dust on Their Wings, and two works of non-fiction, Learning as I Go and Movies Make the Man.