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Chatterbox: We the Phoenix


America is changing fast.

The advocates for change are the brave; they face possible danger in the attempt to better our nation as a whole. In that way, they are the best of patriots regardless of those among them who are not always well-behaved or in it for the cause … those loose cannons who get so much press.

Being a citizen of any nation is like being a spouse. We see and live the good, the bad and the ugly. We see what the issues are, dormant or festering. We see how it all goes around … or runs aground. We know what must improve.

Sure, we each love our spouse. Yes, we all love our country. We work within the framework as it exists, to initiate the changes that are needed. If those necessary changes happen, we sustain the relationship and find some joy. If not, we can cave in or run, rather than fight, and that’s okay if we’ve reconciled ourselves to it and accept the cost; that’s personal.

However, on a national scale, the price is incurred by many and may mean allowing the country we love to languish, perhaps never catching up to other countries. That’s near impossible for those who love their country and harder yet for those who are deeply connected because of personal or family service in wars or, perhaps, this same issue that we’re still fighting over on the streets today.

Continuing to fight for something we care about is the hardest choice and, on a national scale, it’s far more complicated and involves far more people. We can’t always achieve the goals, no matter how overdue or obvious they are, but standing up for change, whether in our personal life or for our nation, is a survival tactic, a knee jerk response, and it only means we care.

Issues can be about the household budget, raising the kids or who wants a fire pit, or they can be unjust laws, dangerous attitudes upheld by injustice, or dealing with people who just refuse to fix what’s broken. When we love, care and are devoted, we work to improve the situation no matter how hard, whether that cause is as intimate as our love interest or as epic as our country.

We know how much more consequential the state of our nation is than that of our household, but the logic applies and patriotism is personal … very personal. If we love our country, it’s as personal as family. Our nation’s dilemmas are our dilemmas.

Right now in the United States we remain less efficient in tending our sick, lose more birthing mothers and infants than comparable nations, and bankrupt more families for medical costs than other nations of our stature … tip of the iceberg. We supply police and pseudo-military departments to the teeth with the finest military level gear, while our doctors and nurses are reusing face masks and sheathing themselves in trash bags for lack of proper gowns in the COVID pandemic. Need a flame-thrower? We have plenty. Need a ventilator … sorry, fresh out, and America goes beyond that as it trails other nations on the greater issue of equality.

That domestic dispute should have been history long ago, which makes this current iteration take a very hard stand. We are, right now, fighting for our country to claim its place among many great nations in terms of equality. That makes the urge … no, the need … to do all we can to improve our nation as all consuming in us as it is inherent.

People fight for change because they care. Human nature determines that we usually start with requests or discussions. Just like approaching a sore spot in a relationship, if the offended party is being earnestly listened to and conditions get addressed, great. If repeated pleas garner no result, humans will instinctively try other things, increase the volume and fight for what we care about. When futility creates frustration and anger, that’s when things go off the rails. That’s when dishes start hitting the walls.

On a larger scale, a national scale, the frustration leads to the same end, usually involving broken glass. Though aggression is always a last resort that should never be necessary, it happens.

If we build a better life or nation by it, it’s still unfortunate and still leaves a bruise, but it isn’t in vain. If we build a better life or nation without the broken glass, it would be even better.

We will rise better, but the method is up to us.