Civil Disobedience

Civil disobedience: (n) peaceful form of political protest.

I often wonder if there’s any truth to the notion that to keep from being an asshole, you sometimes have to be one.

It would be terrific if I could voice my opinion and be heard. But normally, by the time the question arrives on my doorstep, someone’s
already passed a law or determined the answer. They’re just asking my opinion to pad the poll.

Yet I must tell you–sometimes there are things that are so important that we need to stray from the broad path and stumble down the “strait and narrow.”

We may disagree on what the subject matters may be, but they never have anything to do with human morality. By the time I discover what is moral, the opportunity to do anything about it is usually far past, and I am standing on the sidelines, insulting others through my judgments.

Powerful issues always revolve around one central theme: Since God gave humans free will, are you going to take it away? Are you going to infringe upon it? Perhaps put a time limit on it, or the need to buy a license?

Civil disobedience is a decision to stand up for free will.

There are occasions when it makes you very popular–and then there are moments when you’re accused of being damned.

But here’s the truth of the matter: No one is better than anyone else.

I have no right whatsoever to edit that reality.

There should never be a controversy over race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or preferences in music.

But since there is, sometimes we will be compelled to stand up for the rights of humans to be what God intended them to be … human.

 

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Chopper

Chopper: (n) a helicopter.

Knowing that my brain, like most human brains, has selective memory, and that triggers installed for certain sounds, words, or even smells, I can tell you of a truth that the word “chopper”–and the vision of one–for me conjures memories of Vietnam.

I don’t know why.

Maybe it’s because I came of age during the height of the conflict, came upon my eighteenth birthday and was eligible for the draft. Helicopters were prevalent in the nightly news, and made me think about that horrible war.

Today I call it horrible. When I was a teenager, I lived in a community that actually had its own chapter of the John Birch Society, and the violence in Southeast Asia was extolled as patriotic–our best avenue for stopping the spread of Communism.

So for me, it’s a chain of mental commands:

Chopper makes me think about Vietnam.

Vietnam makes me think about the protests.

The protests make me think about rock and roll.

Rock and roll conjures images of Woodstock.

Woodstock reminds me that I was living in a provincial village and was too frightened to go to the festival.

And being too frightened to go–as a young man, I was also always arguing with my family over a half-inch of hair over my ears, trying to rebel by listening to The Monkees.

I was no hero.

But as history moves forward, we realize that unfortunately there were no heroes during that era.

The government was corrupt, the hippies were imbalanced, the Vietnamese were crazed, violent and suicidal, the draft dodgers were relegated to the status of cowards as they drove their Volkswagen vans to Canada, and the soldiers who did go to war bled in a jungle that no one even cares one bamboo shoot about today.

So I guess when I see the word “chopper,” I think of lost causes, and I am alerted to spy them–and call them out before they generate guilt, graft … and graves.

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Anti-American

dictionary with letter A

Anti-American (adj): hostile to the interests of the United States; opposed to Americans.

If you will allow me to characterize an entire nation in the context of the growth spurt of an average human being, I would put forth that our country is presently in the midst of a seventeen-year-old, bratty, rebellious snit.

Anyone who’s had children and endured the pangs of adolescence will be familiar with the sneering comment coming from your teenage child: “It’s my life. It’s a free country. And if you love me, you’ll support me in my decisions.”

Honestly, we did not become a great country through finding a contortionist’s trickery to kiss our own ass. Our greatness is punctuated by the times we have discovered the fallacy of our own practices and pursued avenues to build a highway to better understanding.

To arrogantly insist that every suggestion that America might need to make some sort of constructive course correction is an attack against our nation is nothing short of high school insolence.

Here are three things I know about my country, I love about my country, and therefore insist that my country continue:

1. We believe in giving.

The minute we start thinking that we are too generous and therefore should take more, we will become the latest dinosaur.

2. We are a free country and therefore capable of changing our mind to better solutions.

I am sick and tired of having the Constitution presented as a docile, stagnant document. It has so far been amended twenty-seven times, and certainly shall be again.

3. We have stated on paper that we believe “all men are created equal” and that no one is better than anyone else.

Even though we’re catching up with our own high-sounding ideas through a bit of painful implementation, we have taken the bold step of declaring an eternal truth.

As long as these three principles are pursued by my nation, I will applaud and sprout a tear or two when Old Glory comes marching by.

When we retreat from them through cowardice or lethargy, I will be in the front of the protest, demanding we return to our standards … and risk being called anti-American by the lazy and ignorant riff-raff.  

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Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix