Many of you know I am a pretty liberal guy. I am liberal in my politics, outlook, style, humor, love, modesty, etc. You name it, I am probably more liberal than the the person next to me (at least in Oklahoma where I live!). However, if anyone would make the leap that that means I don’t love the country where I live as much as a conservative, they would be sorely wrong.
Yesterday during the Periscope video I was broadcasting showing me actually drawing the drawing above we got into a discussion about America with some of my friends in the UK and elsewhere. I responded to something someone said by saying I am a Promise Patriot. I liked it and wrote it down so as to not forget it.
And that is what I am. I am a Promise Patriot. I believe in the promise that was at the heart of founding of the United States. I believe it is still at our heart and I still believe in it. This past month we saw that promise in action with the Supreme Court decision regarding marriage equality. We are seeing it play out as well with the drawing down of the Confederate flag across the south and elsewhere.
What the Road Ahead Teaches
That also means I am not a blind patriot. I, as the founding mothers and fathers were, am a critical thinker patriot. I want us to ask hard questions. I want us to critique ourselves as if our lives depended on it. I want us to realize we are not at the end of a journey but in the middle of one, and that we have to be open to what the road ahead teaches us, not just what the past has.
Ten years ago we took one of our first big vacations as a new family. As a matter of fact, Linda and I weren’t even engaged yet (that happened a month later) but we were bonding as family. Linda, Caitlin and I went to visit my daughter Rebekah in Virginia and we went into the city of Washington D.C. for the 4th of July celebration at the Washington Monument.
Here are some pics from that day.
Looks like a Promise Patriot to me! This was 10 years ago. Makes me wonder where he is today and what he looks like. Probably a straight-laced business man in a button down shirt, who knows!
My favorite photograph from that trip. The Washington Monument behind the Jefferson Memorial.
Linda and Caitlin visiting with Abe.
Some random couple who were too attractive not to photograph.
The scene at the monument before the fireworks.
Linda and Rebekah listening to the band play patriotic music with the Lincoln Memorial in the distance with the World War II Memorial in between.
Drawing, photos and commentary © 2015 Marty Coleman / napkindad.com
Quote by Rep. Barbara Jordan, 1936 – 1996, she was the first African American elected to the Texas Senate after Reconstruction, the first southern black female elected to the United States House of Representatives
A lot of hate has infused itself in the politics of the last year, especially from the right. But it isn’t in a vacuum. This round of hate has its roots, in part, in the election and reelection of George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004. Many on the left were hateful towards that President just as many on the right are hateful now towards Obama. I am not talking about disagreement or anger about policies. I am talking about irrational and destructive hate.
Left and Right
Both the left and the right who indulge in that level of vitriol and hate very likely have a short memory about their own anger at seeing the opposite pole be hateful before. They said, and probably rightly so, those people are way off base. They just hate the guy, impugning his motives and promoting the idea that he has a set of diabolical plans to create a dictatorship or a corporate oligarchy or some other terrible thing. People thought it of Bush and it wasn’t true and they think it of Obama and it isn’t true.
Forgetting their Forebearers
But there are those who are interested in something evil and un-American. They are those who, left or right, want to deny rights to those who are different than they are. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Muslim they think doesn’t deserve to be here in the US, a gay couple they think doesn’t deserve to be married, a woman they think doesn’t have the right to be a boss or a President, or a religious group who wants to live life a certain way. Those who believe those things, especially those who actively fight against those freedoms, are betraying America. The betray America because they have forgotten (if they ever knew it) that it was their own forebearers who founded the country on these very principles of freedom and rights.
Drawing and Commentary by Marty Coleman, who loves Inaugurations.
Quote by President Lyndon Johnson at his Inauguration as President, January 20th, 1965
Answer to the trivia question from yesterday
Question: Who replaced Napoleon as the leader of France?
Answer: King Louis XVIII, who came from exile to rule from 1814-1824
Here is my 2012 ‘America the Beautiful is Beautiful Today’ napkin drawing.
Are you reaching for the good in yourself and your country today? No matter who you voted for, what color your skin is, who you love, how old you are, or what you have between your legs, you are just as free today to pursue your dreams as you were yesterday. No election is going to take that away from you. Pursue your dreams with passion and compassion and you will wake up 4 years from now, after another election, happier, healthier and with love in your heart. It’s up to you.
Drawing and quote by Marty Coleman, Proud American always.
Four years ago today I drew the first napkin I had drawn since my youngest daughter (at the time) had graduated from high school 4 years earlier. I drew the napkin because I couldn’t find an old napkin that said how I felt about the election of Barack Obama. I made up the quote, drew it and posted it very quickly the morning after the election. Back in that day I wasn’t on Facebook and Twitter didn’t exist. I posted it on my flickr.com site and on this blog, which I had started just at the beginning of 2008. Here is that drawing. This drawing is why I am the Napkin Dad today. I am very grateful I woke up that morning and decided to draw it.
It doesn’t matter if you are in heels or work boots, male or female, tinted black, white, red, yellow, blue, green or gray, you get to vote today.
Proud To Be An American
I am never more proud to be an American than on Election Day. It makes me think of our founding and the principles that were set forth then. I look back at history and feel blessed that we are descendents of a group of men and women who worked out a pretty audacious and untried plan to create a new type of nation and government. They rebelled against all they knew for it. They lost their fortunes and their place in society for it. They lost their lives for it. And it came into being, against odds not many would take.
Believing the Best
I was raised thinking politics and public service was a great thing. I still believe that. I don’t see all our officials as corrupt or stupid or greedy or conspiratorial. I see them as people who have decided to see how they can help the rest of us. That doesn’t mean some aren’t those things I just mentioned, some are. But even among those it doesn’t mean they didn’t start out wanting to do good. As we see some fall and do bad, we kick them out and find others. But that doesn’t mean we give up on the rest and it doesn’t mean we should have the luxury of being stupid and simplistic ourselves about our nation and those who serve it in public office.
I don’t think they are selflessly altruistic either. They have mixed motives just as I do in my life. I am ok with that. But I do think more about the unknown sacrifices they make then the unknown gains they might get. I do think about the hard work they do for us, including all the arguing, all the fighting, all the emotional and practical compromises that they have to deal with every day. I appreciate that and I respect them for dealing with it all for us. So today, I just don’t go vote. I think about, and am thankful for, those who have put themselves up for me to consider.
The Example of the Great George
I am thankful that our greatest President, George Washington set such a great example of the voluntary giving up of power. He did it not once, but many time, in war and in peace. We have had example guide us for well over 200 years now. Every four years we see it in action. I don’t know how many Americans truly realize what a great blessing it is that we have had this system that allows us to move ahead every four years without violence and overthrow. It’s worth a moment to think about and be grateful for.
In the end, it’s easy. Go vote. It doesn’t matter if you are in a swing state or not. Your vote matters because you are part of a process that matters.
Drawing by Marty Coleman, who cast his first ballot in 1976.
Trivia question of the day
In 2008, President Obama was just the 3rd Senator to be elected President while still serving in the Senate. Who were the other two? By the way, McCain, had he won, would also have gone directly from the Senate to the White House.