Monday, May 31, 2010

A Time To Survive

Now it's been ten thousand years
Man has cried a billion tears
For what he never knew
Now man's reign is through

-Zager & Evans, 1969

There is a reason why mother hens eventually push their chicks out of a high nest, and cruelty is not it. It is a matter of survival on its basest level, for the birds - along with every other species of animal but Man - know that in order to propagate the species, self-reliance is paramount.

Certainly all species protect their young when they are unable to fend for themselves, but there comes a time when they too must become the protectors. If they are coddled in perpetuity, they will never make it. It seems Man is the only animal to have forgotten this precious lesson.

Many - especially Baby Boomers - have seen, at some point, an email making the rounds that laments the days gone by when children survived quite nicely despite drinking from garden hoses and crashing homemade vehicles because they forgot to include a braking mechanism. The critical difference is that half a century ago we learned that skinned knees healed and also how to remedy the design faults in our go-karts. Today, however, kids are taught that go-karts are too dangerous to trifle with, so those lessons are never learned.

"Protecting the children" has become such a paranoid condition that we are strangling their will to live and their ability to cope. But the question is, how far are we ready to venture? If a parent today, mimicking the avian world, tossed his child in the water to teach him to swim, he'd be arrested for endangering a minor. Yet many of us learned in exactly that fashion.

I recall a heated argument I had with my father-in-law fifteen years ago. It was just about the time that the government began mandating that children of a certain age wear bicycle helmets. At the time, my son was right on the cusp of that age requirement, and I did not force him to wear a helmet. My father-in-law accused me of not caring about my children, to which I responded that if I truly cared, I would never permit them to even leave the house unless protected by a full Medieval suit of armor. He was not amused. He also missed the point entirely.

Recently, Fox News released a poll asking if the American flag should be banned in public schools. The poll was in response to an event at Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill, CA. Some American students were suspended for wearing American flag clothing on - gasp! - Cinco de Mayo, a day for Mexican students that, ironically, has no real significance in their own country. While this poll was not scientific at all, the results have been astonishing, nonetheless. More than half of the respondents favor banning the American flag, in an American public school. Why? "To protect the children", of course!

For those who may have missed it, the video is below:

The "yes" question on the poll was stated as such:
Yes. The safety of students comes first.
The "undecided" vote was phrased like this:
Not sure, but of all things to ban, the American flag would seem the least 'incendiary.'

So I am left to question the overall wisdom of such a mindset. What if those young men - many of them little more than children themselves - of the Normandy Invasion were told that their safety came first? And what if the men at Iwo Jima decided that it would be "too incendiary" to raise the Stars and Stripes on that hill?

No, what would be incredibly incendiary would be to try to ban the flag anywhere in this country. It is what so many have fought, bled and died for, the very people we commemorate today.

Happy Memorial Day to all who served, past and living. May God bless you all, and may we, the American people, never forget and never waver in our gratitude.

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