Recently I was listening to the radio and heard an old song that I apparently hadn’t heard in quite a while. Now my taste in music is quite eclectic, so missing a song for several years might be fairly common. However there is new music that I may never hear as I don’t care for some of that at all. So I had taken a break from the most common XM stations and was listening to a country station for a while. I heard a song that I just hadn’t listened to a in a few years, and really did listen to the lyrics. The song was; Fightin’ Side of Me, by Merle Haggard (1969).
This song was popular in the late 1960’s and spoke to the culture of the day. At the time Merle was quite popular with his songs aimed at the working class Americans. This song fit in, but had a strong message about the times. Now throughout the years music has been a way for artists to make political statements, so that is nothing unusual. However Fightin’ Side spoke about some very specific issues in society at that time. The Vietnam War was going on and there were a lot of people that felt like speaking out against that and other issues. As I listened closely to the words I could hear the message directed at the people in 1969, but also it could be just as appropriate today. There is still some unrest about our involvement in other countries (and I offer no opinion at all about any of those). Deep down the song was really aimed at the opinions and feelings of the times, and that really seems to apply again now.
We see protests of the recent wars and other political hot spots. I am glad that we have the right to voice our opinion and not fear retaliation if we openly disagree with what our government thinks. However just as in 1969, today we also see a group of people that really seem to “hate” the country and just have a problem with all that we stand for. As Merle says, countless men have given their lives for what we have here, we need to honor that and respect what is given to us by the soldiers. If you don’t like the country or the way it is run you are free to voice your opinion. You should be aware that this is a freedom that was given by people that were willing to lose their lives for what ‘they’ believed in. There are some countries in the world that your disagreement would lead to your punishment or worse, these countries are ruled by ‘religion’ or just outright fear, a big step away from our freedoms here. And you do have the freedom to apply to those countries for citizenship if you just can’t stand America any longer. I know for a fact that there would be plenty of volunteers that would help you pack.
America has faults today just as it did in 1969, but we are doing something right. Other countries in the world are wanting to copy our way of life, and it is actually working there as well. You don’t see voters putting in dictators and religious zealots to lead their countries, you see them embracing democracy. If there are folks that are just intent on taking their protest to the extreme, be aware that you will be walking on the fightin’ side of a few people, me included. You can speak your mind, but if you grab a flag and throw it on the ground, don’t be surprised if you offend some folks, and those folks are the ones that went to the wars that you protest just to protect your right to do such foolish things. One of the most offensive things that I see these days is the abuse of our flag. There is a law against such things, but we have to allow people the right to express their “freedom of speech”. However all veterans have taken the oath to “protect and defend… against all enemies, foreign and domestic”, and this is still in place in their lives. If you want to desecrate the flag most veterans will consider you an enemy. We followed that flag because of what it stands for, and most importantly it covers the caskets of those died for it. Throw it on the ground or worse, and expect a veteran to defend it, that is ‘his’ right and duty, he bought it for himself just as he did for your rights.