Dear Editor,

Ordinary everyday white people might rightly say “Whatever happened to that county song by Lee Greenwood —I’m proud to be an American, I’d rather stand up next to you and defend her still today?”

Yes, many white people would be willing to stand up next to you (blacks and other minorities) to defend her still today, but not at the expense of burning down the country. I think this might be some part of what Drew Brees was trying to convey — that year after year someone (white and black) has been called to serve and defend something we thought was worthwhile defending.

And the next issue we have to address is the economic pressure people of color and Native Americans feel that compels them to live in neighborhoods. Many white people are extremely frightened to visit (travel through) major parts of our large cities — some only miles from where they live. And I speak from personal experience. My mother was raised in Chicago many years ago and fearful of traveling through the city.

I have served in the U.S. Army where I worked alongside black soldiers every day. These black soldiers told me point blank, no matter how friendly we become in the Army you could never visit me in our neighborhood — you simply would not survive because of the color of your skin.

These same soldiers who served under white officers as enlisted men like me were respected back home. This county has produced some of the most recognizable men in history either white and black — Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali and Magic Johnson.

So yes, there is something worth defending here and I thank God we can point to a ragged old flag that has been to the moon and back. My Canadian born father of Italian descent could testify that you didn’t have to be black to suffer slurs and insults in a growing U.S. Has anyone heard of a good Polish joke lately? Side note: My mother was half polish and felt the sting of those jokes.

The country that I am so proud to defend has abused many minorities on its way to becoming the great melting pot that it is. But at least I probably won’t be arrested and locked away indefinitely for writing this simple letter as happens elsewhere. I admire protest but violence stinks.

 

James Bruni

Marinette