11 November 2013

Raising An American FlagEarly this morning, as I raised high our beautiful American flag — the sun rising in the Atlantic Ocean sky — I was overwhelmed with emotion and tears flooded my cheeks. And finally, in my solitude, I sobbed like a baby, unashamed, uncaring if any other person should witness this scene. First, I said my prayer, thanking God for all the blessings He has bestowed upon us, and asking Him to protect each of us individually, and collectively as a nation, and prayed for the strength for us to save our wonderful country from death. Last, I recited the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. By this time, I had practically lost all control. I glanced over my shoulder and there was Mary Ann, my good neighbor and dear friend who walks her dog around the circle each morning, noon and night. She and her dog stood there so quietly, her hand over her heart, whispering to herself the Pledge along with me. Mary Ann is usually quite chatty and often a bit loud, but not this morning… she stood quietly, spoke softly and smiled sweetly at me when I noticed her. Not a word was spoken between us. We just stared at each other from afar, knowingly. Then we both turned and went our own ways.

Day by day, I feel as if a little part of me is being chipped away. I find myself walking around more like a zombie than I can even believe. I know it’s not the REAL me, acting this way. And I fight it constantly. But, then, there it is again!

If I could just not turn on the TV or the radio, nor go online and get the news of the day. If only. I have friends who have confided in me that this is exactly what they do. It’s how they “survive”. But I cannot do that. I have even tried to talk myself into “dropping out”. It’s just not an option for me.

I think about years past and how blind I was to all the political goings-on of those days. In truth, I was never even the least bit interested in politics until 2007. An interesting fact about that is — I was a lifelong Democrat (inherited that from my parents) and I loved to exclaim that “I am a bleedin’-heart liberal!”  The fact of the matter was that I had no idea what the hell I was saying…it just sounded “cool”. Nobody ever questioned me, so for all those years, I didn’t know any better. Having been embedded in the hippie-movement of the 70’s, I was surely a liberal, right? Likewise I was definitely one of those LOW-INFORMATION VOTERS back in the day. Makes me cringe to think about it.

In 1996, I met my wonderful husband, Johnny, who is a staunch and vocal Reagan Republican. To this day, I am always amazed that he had the patience to tolerate me when I asked him, “What was so great about Reagan?” I must’ve asked him that same question a million times, after which he always methodically and skillfully laid out his case for me. It took only 11 years for it to “sink into my thick skull”, as my sweet Mama loved to say. So Johnny always claims the credit and loves to rub it in that he converted me! I gladly agree with him. And I thank him for that. But I had an even stronger impetus to “evolve”…

Barack Hussein Obama announced his presidential candidacy in the winter of 2007. Being a “bleedin’-heart lib”, I most certainly was not adverse to the fact that he was obviously a person of color. However, I will unashamedly admit that his name raised a red flag very quickly for me. I had been reading more and more about the spread of Islam across the world, and therefore I was curious enough to snoop around to find out who exactly was this man. In that vein, I became deeply engrossed in any available credible information on Obama and day by day, I rather quickly morphed from a know-nothing politically-liberal useful idiot to an independently-thinking, knowledgeable Reagan conservative glued to all the appropriate radio and TV news shows to soak up every word. I was horrified when I heard Barack Obama proudly exclaim to the nation — I will fundamentally transform this country! For me, that was the straw…

And now, here I sit, wondering how can it be that this wonderful country is so completely different from the one where I grew up. How can it be that so many people did not see this happening — and still do not on this very day, many of them. I am reminded of that beautiful, sad illustration of the eagle crying. I cry with him.

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Kaci Collins, a freelance graphic designer and freelance writer living in South Florida, is a regular contributor to The D.C. Clothesline.  •  [email protected]