Columnists

Stand up, salute, or whatever you want . . . but do something

I remember when I was a senior at Noblesville, the English department added a few different courses – one of which was philosophy. I liked pondering the big questions – like Bill Cosby’s query, why is there air – so I signed up. Jim Bray taught the class.

That experience led to some great arguments at home. You know, teenager wanting more freedom, mom and dad wanting to kill him (and before anyone loses their mind – we used to be able to say stuff like that and no one took it literally, and since this is my stroll down memory lane . . . ) 

I would do my best to use Leibniz’ theory of a perfect world. I’d begin making a point about why my curfew needed to be later by saying that in a perfect world . . . only to have mom interrupt with – It isn’t a perfect world.

Philosophy meets reality.

Teenager loses.

Fast forward to today. In a perfect world, I would say everyone has a right to think and act any way they choose. So if sports teams want to kneel, turn their backs or play tiddlywinks during the National Anthem, they’d have that right.

Say it with me now – it ain’t a perfect world.

In this one, the reality is that the more we crap on our nation, the more we disrespect it – especially sports heroes who little kids look up to – the more we weaken it. Do that enough and we might find out what Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai is going through. If you aren’t familiar, Shuai had the audacity of accusing a Chinese politician of sexually abusing her. Next thing you know, Shuai disappears. And when she is next seen a few weeks later, she has nothing more to say on the subject and has a spooky smile pasted on her face.

A perfect world? Far from it.

Back home, we’ve stood tall against tyranny and oppression for almost 250 years now. We’ve never been perfect, but we strive to get better.

We’ve been able to stand tall thanks to our veterans. And with Christmas right around the corner, it’s a great time to keep in mind those heroic men and women and say thank you for what they’ve done. There are many ways to do that, and to help the ones in need. From the Wounded Warrior Project to various veterans’ organizations, there are plenty of ways to step up. If you are a veteran and you need help, the state has the Military Family Relief Fund. It offers emergency grants for veterans and family members experiencing financial hardship. MFRF, administered by The Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs, is for essential family expenses like rent or mortgage payments, utilities, food, medical expenses and transportation (vehicle payment, emergency repairs, insurance).

Veterans can get up to $2,500, and possibly more. AnyIndiana resident active in the military, or a veteran with honorable discharges or under honorable conditions and certain other-than-honorable discharges, is eligible. Just apply at: www.in.gov/dva/about-idva/links/military-family-relief-fund

You know, I get the fact that we have a lot of disagreements right now –the worst in decades. But without the military, you wouldn’t be reading this today. We wouldn’t be here as a country.

I don’t know a lot, but I know this. We just observed the 80th anniversary of the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. Thanks to those active in the military today, and those who stood watch before, we are able to argue about philosophy, sports, politics and beyond. Here’s hoping we don’t argue about the importance of those veterans and the men and women still on duty. We need them. It ain’t a perfect world.

Timmons is the chief executive officer of Sagamore News Media, the company that owns The Noblesville Times. He is a proud Noblesville High School graduate and can be contacted at ttimmons@thetimes24-7.com.