Saturday, July 26, 2014

My Brother, The Hero - Brian Porter, USMC

“Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But, the Marines don't have that problem.”

-Ronald Reagan

My brother retires from the Marine Corps today after decades of service. I went to see him graduate from boot camp in 1988, and I have been impressed with Marines ever since. He served in a tank in Iraq and Kuwait and trained in different spots around the world. I asked him his opinion last year about the President having a Marine hold an umbrella for him in the rain for a speech, and he said, "Mark, every Marine is on umbrella detail; every American is protected whether they realize it or not." 

Thank you for your service, and remember - you don't need to wear a patch on your arm to have honor.

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Case for America

There is plenty not to like about our country right now: our government seems hopelessly ineffective, we can't even keep migrant children from sneaking in (never mind any nefarious others who don't turn themselves in to border patrol), our project-nation of Iraq is falling into the hands of a savage caliphate, Russia taunts us without fear of reprisal, we have a two-term president whose primary achievements have been campaigning, blaming, and redefining what it is to say "period" at the end of a declaration, and we still can't manage to get very far in the World Cup. There's more, but I'm getting depressed thinking about it. Nevertheless, I do believe the case for America is strong.

This is not a campaign speech. This is a wake-up call. Since I brought up the World Cup, it is deserving to look at our team, and I am very proud. "Why?", you ask, after winning only one match out of four and exiting in hardly better-than-expected fashion. The US Men's National Team is what we all should be right now. Our country is getting used to the fact that we will not always win. In fact, there are many factors that will try to keep us down. Even our own coach declared that we should not expect to win. Yet, we battle. We stay true. We know who we are, and we do not apologize for it. We believe.

This isn't a sports pep-talk either. America is not special because of victories, although we have had many. America is not unique because of freedom, although it is profoundly necessary. America is not prosperous because we have a perfect economic system, but the ideals remain the best around. America is, always has been, and forever must be a perfect idea in its simplicity. Our country is not a place as much as it is an experiment, a battle, and a compact. It has been said that only we can destroy America from the inside, because what we have is a spirit. Funny thing about spirits is that they are difficult to fully capture, indefinite in their capabilities, impossible to revoke, and often arduous to prove. Our soccer team's chant this tournament was "I believe that we will win." That is exactly the spirit. Our country is great because at our core, we believe - not in politicians, fairy tales, or good luck... but in ourselves. We believe that this grand experiment in liberty and self-rule is what propels our success and indeed makes us indomitable.

What is wrong with our country is that our compact and our culture are broken. We will never all agree on anything, nor should we in many cases. However, we must not be too politically correct to admit to an adherence to a compact and culture. When even the American Spirit becomes negotiable, we have lost our way. When we value the wrong things, we become weak. I fear our America has fallen into mediocrity in many ways, whether through self-indulgence, impropriety, ignorance, divisiveness, or rancor. We fail to be our best, when we should be like those men in red, white, and blue who fearlessly battled for the common goal.

The case for America remains unchanged, even though we may have. The case is strong. While the reality of our prominence seems fragile, the necessity of America endures as indispensable to the world as it ever has. While the prospect of our imperative nature strikes some as impure or unjustly bold, it is still our obligation to believe... and I believe that we will win.

God, bless America.