I was watching a commercial on TV for a free dinner for all veterans from some restaurant on Veterans Day. I started to think about Veterans Day and if I saw a veteran I would surely thank him for what he has sacrificed for our freedom.
However the more I thought about it, I realized I should not thank these people, I should apologize to them. You see, all the men and women who fought to keep us free and all the families who paid the ultimate price for this freedom should be apologized to for what we have done to this privilege.
This election year has been about lies being told by the candidates and their SUPERPACs. Fear being instilled in people about what the other candidate would do to them if he got into office. Attacks against those who disagree with you. I have heard nothing but half truths and made-up garbage until I finally turned off my TV set or popped a movie into my DVD.
Our country was built on the belief that all men are created equal and can believe in what they want to, worship the way they want to and take care of their families they way they want without fear or intimidation.
Our leaders were not suppose to sign agreements with one group or person saying they would do or not do something no matter what the consequences. Our country was built on the belief that people could resolve the issues by compromise and wisdom.
We go around the world and preach about democracy. We tell people that it is a basic human right. Then we come home and try to take it away from Americans that do not see eye to eye with us.
We have people trying to intimidate voters by shouting at them when they are voting, threatening them or accusing them of voting because of their race. We have SUPERPACS, sending letters to people saying they are not eligible to vote. They are putting up billboards in poor neighborhoods trying to scare people with jail if they commit voter fraud. We have states passing unfair Voter ID laws.
Our state governments are trying to pass laws that would leave minorities or people of the other parties with very little say in what goes on in government. Our Constitution does not guarantee freedom just for people that work, or belong to one group.
CEOs telling workers they will not have a job unless they vote and give money to one candidate or the other. I get so upset when I turn on my TV and see this garbage.
What is next, killing Americans who are not of our religion or our political party, like they do in the Middle East?
I have constantly heard the candidates talk about returning America to the glory it once was. It will never happen until we look at what we have become. We need to go back and reread our Constitution and make a solemn promise never to allow anyone to take any rights away from any American again. To run our campaigns on the issues and not on lies. To look for compromise and resolution to our most pressing problems. To make sure no matter what, every American has a chance for “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Only then can we become the great country we use to be.
I saw a glimmer of the America we once were, when Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast. The president and the governor of New Jersey were only interested in one thing: helping the people who were hurt. They did not care about these people’s beliefs, just getting them the life saving help they needed. They came together and congratulated each other for a job well done; even though there is more to do, they know they can count on each other. I saw real Americans across the country traveling to these areas to help, putting their lives on hold. This is the America I know and love.
We cannot be great if we do not practice what we preach. We are slowly destroying the one thing that made us great – our resolve to treat every human with dignity and grace, for they have a right to their lives and their opinions as much as any of us do.
So when you see a veteran or the parents, or spouse of a lost loved one, instead of saying thank you, make a promise to them, to live by the Constitution of the U.S. and make sure all Americans have the chance to be free. This is the only true way to thank them for their sacrifices.
LAURA L. LILLIE is a Lake Wylie resident.