Monday, April 28, 2008


I didn't really need a new computer, but the devil led me into Best Buy anyway last Saturday evening and marched me straight to the back of the store where the shiny new laptops were on display and blinking seductively. A young man wearing the company shirt approached and asked if he might be of service. I told him that I wanted to look at the laptops, but that I definitely would not be buying during this visit. The young man, his name was Matt, assured me that he did not work on commission and that he would be glad to take the time to answer my questions.

Matt asked about my computer needs, and I carefully outlined the massive databases of useless information that I have compiled, along with my new-found love of blogging. I told him that I wanted a computer that I could take anywhere and connect to the Internet upon getting there. We looked at everything, with Matt carefully stating the pros and cons of each machine. Eventually the selection narrowed to one in the mid-price range that could definitely kick some cyber-butt.

It was sometime later as we were discussing software that Matt asked me what I did for a living. After stating that I was a social worker at Luke AFB, he looked surprised and said that he was in the Air Force and stationed at Luke - Best Buy was his part-time, second job. As I thought about this young airman (actually he was a staff sergeant) serving his country full-time and then moonlighting to get ahead, I realized that I was dealing with a true patriot. I told him that he had made a sale.

Patriotism isn't about guns, or religion, or lapel pins, or even Old Glory. Patriotism is about what you do for others. John F. Kennedy had it right about not asking what your country could do for you, but rather what you could do for your country. How did we lose that spark of idealism? How did we go from the grandeur of JFK to the smallness of Bush and his cronies?

America has gone off the tracks in recent years. We are now focused on getting instead of giving, greed instead of Christian charity, cynicism instead of hope...and we are poorer for it.

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