We’re All in the Same Boat

We’re all in the same boat
Fishing in the same hole
Wondering where the same time goes
And money too
Tryna fix the same broke hearts
Wishing on the same stars
We’re all hoping hope floats
And we’re all in the same boat

—Zac Brown Band

I’m a bit out of my swim lane here, but stick with me. …

Just prior to the 20-year anniversary of the September 11 attack on the United States, a friend told me of his neighborhood’s movement to discourage flying the American flag because those they disagree with fly it. I disagree with many people who fly the flag in support of their cause — white supremacists, right-wingers, left-wingers, anti-vaccinators, separatists, isolationists, and a few other “ists.” But I’m also disturbed by the “ists” who want to disavow the values America stands for, at least those that we used to stand for. Like it or not, we’re all in the same boat. The flag represents those values.

If you want a perspective on what the flag means to moderates who still appreciate it, I encourage you to watch this Old Glory video. (I watched Master Chief Ellis recite this in person, and it was one of the more moving things I’d ever seen.) Many of the “ists” I disagree with would love the video too, but we might also both love a good pizza and I’m damn sure not going to quit eating that!

I believe — and you’re welcome to disagree! — that our country has been well-suited for business and has led economically because of our values. (I had to turn this toward business at some point!) Good capitalism and democratic values are, in my mind, inextricably linked. The proof has been in the results over the long term. We can get much better (e.g., making sure everyone gets to the starting line, not the finish line, together), but walking away from the most successful formula in history (though flawed) seems foolish. Let’s not abandon the values that have served us well (nowhere near perfection, but well). 

Here’s my plea. Don’t be afraid to fly your flag. Help your coworkers and children understand the good that capitalism and democracy have brought to us. Support the efforts to become a “more perfect union.” But for goodness’ sake, use your head alongside your heart, vote, apply science and economics, and don’t let the ends of the spectrum (either side!) deter you.

I have no intention of turning my blog into a political vehicle; there are too many of those. But sometimes you get a burr under your saddle. If you didn’t like this, thanks for reading. I read lots of things that I don’t agree with just so I can appreciate other perspectives. If you did appreciate it, please heed my plea.