Monday, February 25, 2008

Hands Over Our Hearts and Other Thoughts

Anthem Singers
Originally uploaded by mdt1960
When attending grade school in Akron, Ohio, we learned to place our hand over our heart when reciting the Pledge of Alliegence and if you were wearing a hat, you took it off and placed it over your heart during the National Anthem. I don't recall any instruction, about placing your hand over your heart during the National Anthem nor do I recall observing anyone participating in that manner.

When I attend various sporting events now, I always see people with their hands over their hearts during the National Anthem. When did that start happening? Was Akron, Ohio somehow different than Wyoming or Montana during the 1960s?

• • •

While travelling down the highway the other day between Cody and Greybull, a Cadillac Escalade (a luxury pickup truck) passed me. Watching the rig grow smaller on the horizon, I considered a visit from the grave with a soldier or sailor who died during World War II. In telling this soul about how the world has changed since they left, I considered Christopher Lloyd's astonished and disbelieving reaction as the wacky professor in Back to the Future when McFly tells him that Ronald Reagan will become the future President of the United States. Surely this 1940s-esque American would be just as surprised to know that Cadillac is now the maker of a pickup truck.

When did utility and luxury become lovers?

• • •

A friend was recently telling me about how often he heard Coyotes howl in the night when he lived in Eastern Washington—at least once a week he said. I was thinking about his observations and realized that although I live in Wyoming, I can't remember the last time I heard a coyote's cry in the night air. What's wrong with that picture?

• • •

From Sarah Vowell's book The Partly Cloudy Patriot

If Newsweek's Jonathan Alter is correct, Bush's jockish disdain for highbrow thought is the very origin of his White House bid. "In a 1998 New Yorker piece (about Al Gore)," Alter claims, "the vice president talked about the ideas of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, a French existentialist. Bush read the article, and later told friends it was one of the reasons he ran for president—to keep intellectual pretentiousness out of the White House." In his campaign, Bush promised to restore honor and dignity to the White House, but the promise to keep intellectual pretentiousness out is one that is likely to be kept.


haiku curmudgeon said...

Good morning fellow grumpy guy.

Where are these folks driving luxury pickups going? Where are the coyotes and why are they so quiet? What keeps adults from instructing kids in the importance of integrity when reciting the Pledge of Allegiance or singing the National Anthem? I can't "do" either with integrity and haven't since 1968. Is blind patriotism more important than thoughtful integrity?

And what kept the "press" from asking candidate G. W. Bush about the philosophy of Jesus Christ when GW stated He was his favorite philosopher? Questions like - what kind of defense policy would he (GW) implement based on, turn the other cheek and love your enemies concepts? All I recall from that event was silence.

Possibly keeping your job so you can afford a luxury pickup and never be bothered by coyotes in your neighborhood, thinking about the Pledge and integrity or other intellectual pretensions is what really counts today.

Anonymous said...

We actually are a people who BRAG about how ignorant we are. Here is a great article from the Washington Post about how we revel in how little we know. ... 02901.html

There was a time when becoming a well-rounded and educated person was something all parents wanted for their children. Now it's just about getting a job and making money.

Things are different down here. The educated person is held in esteem not looked at with a wary eye.

Montevideo Man