It would have given me less pause, I think, if the Poudre School District had ruled that it was offensive or politically incorrect, for the Fossil Ridge High School football team to wear the names of America’s fallen on the players’ jerseys.
Fossil Ridge players had requested the school outfit the team with camouflage uniforms this season. Coach Brian Tinker required his team to undergo military training and education, including CrossFit activities and a rock walk. In addition, every player was required to research the family and background of a deceased member of the armed forces.
The uniforms will be worn on military appreciation night Oct. 15 vs. Legacy. They were purchased by the booster club.
A final plea was made Wednesday morning by Lt. Colonel Randy Russell of the U.S. Air Force Reserve, a parent of a Fossil Ridge player, who met with PSD Executive Director of Communications Danielle Clark.
Russell said Clark’s message to him was that the district was concerned that allowing this instance would open the door for teams to honor organizations other than the military in similar fashion. …
“As a publicly funded agency, PSD respects the diverse opinions of our community. Thus, the district does not support any one cause over another. PSD policy regarding this matter is intended to protect students from being used for promotional purposes.”
So: honoring our nation’s fallen soldiers is one among many “diverse” “causes”? Sort of an optional topic for activism, served like childhood obesity or tiny-house living from a diverse-causes buffet?
And having high school football players wear the names of our war dead on their uniforms would amount to “using them (the players) for promotional purposes”? Promoting what? Joe’s used cars? Is there something being “promoted” here that we don’t all agree on?
America is getting really deep now in the revelation that our public institutions no longer reflect the traditional understandings of the people.
The agnostic “diverse causes” perspective of the Poudre School District is a view of human life so fundamentally at odds with what most people think of as reality that it’s virtually irreconcilable.
Having to fight to protect your nation, your community, your family and your way of life from predators is a basic feature of human life. That doesn’t mean all fights are well or wisely chosen, or that all wars are waged expertly, without fault or blame. Layers of political factors cause us to disagree among ourselves as to how necessary fighting may be at a given time. Almost everyone agrees that war is in any case a terrible thing, not to be undertaken lightly.
But the necessity of fighting, in general – being prepared for it, knowing it will come – is a feature of human life that has never changed. If someone isn’t trying to wipe you out, there will be someone trying to steal from you – extort, intimidate, or enslave you.
The American people are grateful, given that reality, to have citizen volunteers who shoulder the burden of defense. Without a longstanding tradition of citizen-soldiery – yeoman responsibility, unassuming but unflinching – we as a people would lose everything that makes life worthwhile. We raise our sons and daughters to understand this. We pass on the torch from one generation to the next. This bedrock cultural tradition is alive in every racial and ethnic demographic in America. Anyone who’s served in the U.S. armed forces can tell you that.
This is not some exotic ideology. It is the lived reality of millions of people over centuries of recorded history. It’s about as incontrovertible as truths about the human condition get.
Yet our politics and public institutions, over the last hundred years, have slowly birthed a generation of public officials that behaves as if honoring the soldiers who have fought and died for us is a form of “promotion,” one of many optional and diverse “causes.”
Being this detached from reality takes time and specialized cultivation. It doesn’t happen overnight. It’s been a long time coming.
But don’t just throw up your hands and say, “We’re hosed.” We’re not hosed, because with each passing day we see more and more of the truth about our nation unveiled before us.
Many of our public officials do still have the same basic wisdom resident in the people. They know we can’t live successfully as if fantasy hopes for human life might be true. Our task is to live in the real world. Commemorating our war dead is not analogous to other forms of “promotion” — activist or commercial — and treating it as if it is alienates the people. I venture to think most public officials still know that.
The truth being revealed to us is that too many officials – people who command our tax dollars and our public policies – do now live in an alternate “reality” that exists only in their own minds. Their surreal ideas are not actually compatible with American liberty and the American way of life.
They’re free to hold their ideas. But we must no longer be ruled by them.