Fight for a Hotel Room?

If you are in uniform serving our country from the deepest depths of your heart, and for the good of us all, with your life at risk — are you willing to serve and follow a command to protect a hotel because the owner is worried about his gilt edged fbusiness interests?

The fine men and women of our armed forces may be put into this position in 2017.

If your leader has demonstrated very little commitment to anything other than his own interests, not even contributing in any meaningful ways to veteran’s concerns — are you prepared to risk life and limb for his family concerns? Are you willing to repeat our wonderful nation’s worst mistakes of engaging in military action at the behest of some corporate interest not necessarily aligned with our broad national interest?

I do not know how our men and women in the armed forces will answer that question. But as for many us, 2017 will be a year of asking the best of our character, our moral compass, deciding who we want to be for ourselves, our family, our nation. The irony is that we are all put into this position by an individual and a family who apparently have no moral compass as they have always been the center of their own universe. Wealth without questions, self-reflection, a sense of personal responsibility, nor moral character — can do that to a family lineage — much like a tooth cavity originating from a lifelong diet of saccharine self-indulgent fluffy cupcakes.

For the progressive effort, it will be important to think beyond the traditional alliances. I was very much heartened that the Standing Rock effort was involving veterans. For many on the left, there are knee jerk reactions to anyone who has worn a uniform, while ironically wearing their own uniform of studied casual, hip all black, retro sardonic — or whatever it may be. It is not easy to wear a uniform — as military personnel, as a police officer. It makes a statement, initiates the creation of a silhouette that is then frequently filled in by the viewer, fraught with their colorings of what it means to be military personnel, a police officer. As the son of a cop, I have some sense of the assumptions that can be made.

Now is one of those moments to reach across the world of uniforms and connect across economic class. What do a teacher, a cop, a vet with PTSD working for a company, a progressive artist with a message — all have in common? They are part of a struggling middle class. They are passionate, honorable people. They were driven by values to pursue something larger than self. They have much more in common with each other — no matter red or blue region, than they do with their incoming plutocrat.

In Portugal, the Carnation Revolution, also referred to as the 25 April, was initially a military coup in Lisbon, 1974. The revolution started as a putsch organized by the Armed Forces Movement composed of military officers who opposed the regime, but the movement was soon coupled with an unanticipated and popular campaign of civil resistance.

The name “Carnation Revolution” comes from the fact that almost no shots were fired and when the population took to the streets to celebrate the end of the dictatorship and war in the colonies, carnations were put into the muzzles of rifles and on the uniforms of the army men. In Portugal, the 25th of April is a national holiday, known as Freedom Day to celebrate the event.

As a patriot and with a spiritual grounding, I hope and pray that our system of checks and balances works. But God forbid, if it does not, may we all find a flower and reach out to those in uniforms in our lives, to support them, as they potentially have to navigate a moral minefield in 2017 and beyond.