July 4: Pageantry, politics and sacrifice | Arkansas Blog

July 4: Pageantry, politics and sacrifice

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PATRIOTISM ON PARADE: A red-white-and-blue throng turned out this morning for the 36th July 4 parade on Midland Avenue in Hillcrest.
  • Arthur Paul Bowen
  • PATRIOTISM ON PARADE: A red-white-and-blue throng turned out this morning for the 36th July 4 parade on Midland Avenue in Hillcrest.

Tom Cotton, the Republican congressional candidate in the 4th District, sent out a familiar July 4 greeting today.

Liberty Demands Sacrifice

Today we celebrate not only our independence, but also our brave men and women who sacrificed in service of country. May we continue to fight for liberty at home, as so many have done and continue to do overseas.

May we all hold dear the liberty we have. Have a happy and safe Fourth of July.

Of course we appreciate and honor those in service. But it doesn't detract from the bravery and competence of our military to say that national greatness is determined by more than military might. Others sacrifice in ways large and small as they contribute to the American mosaic — firemen, police, teachers, sanitation workers, kiddie league volunteers, soup kitchen workers and lots more. A military focus seems even a touch ironic when you consider that we rely on an all-volunteer military to fight our wars. A huge majority makes no sacrifice at all, including a financial one. Ask the wealthy to pay a bit more in taxes to offset the enormous cost of world peacekeeping? It's an uncommon political candidate who'll call for that sort of sacrifice, certainly not Tom Cotton.

Who would sacrifice also to insure that all Americans have health coverage, like the rest of the developed world? Not Tom Cotton, we know from his support of the Ryan budget blueprint and the devastation it would visit upon Medicare and Medicaid. Who would sacrifice — at least in terms of community acceptance but perhaps also even personal safety — to defend the speech, free association and dignity of people whose religion, appearance, sexual orientation or thoughts might fall outside the "norm"? Precious few in the political ranks.

Are hunger, illness, inadequate education, discrimination and oppression of fellow citizens hallmarks of liberty? Those who deny their existence in the U.S.A. and a need for shared sacrifice to correct them are not likely to be part of the solution.

Thanks to Tom Cotton for his service and to all the others who enlisted in the military. But thanks, too, to all the others who labor in the name of freedom.

(And thanks to Senate candidate Jonathan Dismang for responding to my call on Twitter for some July 4 parade activity. And, on the jump, a couple of more late arriving photos from a proud grandpop on the Midland parade route.)

pangburn.jpg

ALL IN THE FAMILY: Granddad sends photo of his daughter, Courtney, with her husband, Brent Gasper, and their children Rory and August.
  • Mac Huffman
  • ALL IN THE FAMILY: Granddad sends photo of his daughter, Courtney, with her husband, Brent Gasper, and their children Rory and August. Below is a closeup of Rory

UP CLOSE: Rory Gasper, decked out for the 4th
  • Mac Huffman
  • UP CLOSE: Rory Gasper, decked out for the 4th

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