The Bar-On Brief: The (United) States of America

Veteran’s Day is an opportunity to live up to our country’s name


Illustration by Aarya Gupta

By Shauli Bar-On , Columnist

The Bar-On Brief: A weekly column
The Bar-On Brief: A weekly column

I promised myself that anything I wrote about the election would be limited to 100 words.

Those who did not vote Republican and many who identify with the party were left in shock by the results. Homework assignments were postponed, class discussions dominated over course material and tears eclipsed smiles.

The country is divided, and a different election result would not have changed that. Half the country would have been dissatisfied either way.

One in every three people in Santa Clara County voted for the Republican nominee, so while the local community appears to be united by disappointment, it’s not.

That’s 100 words to the mark.

I sit here at some 35,000 feet in the air, typing as I travel across the country at 560 miles per hour on my way to the NSPA journalism convention in Indianapolis.

I have observed countless people around me in the gates, and I’ve seen the faces awaiting to board flights that will send them to airports nationwide. I’ve looked out the airplane’s window and witnessed the sheer size and diversity of our land.

The flight attendant aboard my flight yesterday honored the Marine Corps and wished them a “happy 241st birthday.” Free drinks to families with a former or current Marine. This is the United States I know.

Our weekend is extended thanks to Veteran’s Day. I don’t know about you, but I could sure use a break. Everyone receives today’s benefits: Democrats, Republicans and third party citizens alike.

It is selfish to enjoy the break without understanding why it’s there. It is a day when everyone — regardless of party affiliation, race, gender, culture or religion — is meant to honor and salute those who have protected our country.

Veteran’s Day does not demand much of you, just your gratitude. Nobody can force you to participate in honoring those who serve our country. But it is a day the United States is meant to live up to its name.

Sadly, we have stooped to a level where we need set calendar dates telling us when we should set aside differences and come together as a country.

We have a choice to be the States of America or the United States of America. While it takes a small group of people to make the former a reality, it takes everyone to agree on the later for it to be true.

Today is an opportunity to show which we prefer.

And with that, I rest my case.

The Bar-On Brief is a weekly column that runs Thursdays. 

Follow Shauli Bar-On on Twitter @shauli_baron