Last week in this space I said I was going to address this week the Downtown Anchor Project (new courthouse and Rockport city hall), including the long-term ramifications of not taking advantage of the many opportunities before us. I also noted I would share my perspective about what we are experiencing as a community, which is a far cry from the unity experienced in the weeks and months after Hurricane Harvey.

However, since I’m one of those folks who had the privilege of working on Labor Day, I chose to work as little as possible Monday.

I didn’t mind leaving the house for the office, after sleeping in a bit, once I realized my wife was going to be committed to the Hallmark Channel all day, and the dogs chose the couch, as well.

This past weekend was a whirlwind. It included covering the Trump parades Saturday and Sunday, and a quick 24-hour trip to Bryan to visit my mother-in-law sandwiched in between.

It was good to get out of town, and I’m committed to doing more of that in the weeks and months to come. It’s the only way I can keep my sanity. After six-plus months of altered schedules and behaviors due to COVID-19, I’m committed to start living life normal again – albeit wearing a mask in public places.

I must say it was very, very, very refreshing to see a large crowd of people bow their heads in collective prayer, stand tall while reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, and belting out the lyrics of the National Anthem prior to Saturday’s Trump parades.

The turnout for the land and boat parades Saturday in Rockport, and Sunday’s boat parade in the Intercoastal Waterway, between Cove Harbor and Port Aransas, was a sight to be seen, regardless of political persuasion.

If one wants to find fault with the amount of space given the Trump parades in this edition, consider it was a news event. When have you seen something similar?

My promise to Democrats is I will provide equal coverage for a Biden boat parade, or other such rally held in Aransas County, based on the size of the event.

The Equality March, which was held in June, was the lead story on page one, and included seven pictures and a similar size story.

It was a newsworthy event, as well, but had significantly less attendance than Saturday’s Trump parades. The messages at the Equality March and the Trump parade were equally important to those who participated, and both went off without the mayhem and destruction experienced in many of our great cities. That is a tribute to the attendees of both events, as well as to local and state law enforcement.

That is not a political statement, just a fact, and both events demonstrated what is great about America.

The Trump parades reminded me of a Fourth of July celebration where citizens show pride in their country, even with its flaws.

For the record, I did not like seeing some Confederate flags being flown, any more than I like seeing the Mexican flag, German flag (my heritage), or the flag of any other country flown inside our borders.

At the Trump parades Saturday I thought back to our country’s Bicentennial celebration in 1976. It was the summer between my junior and senior years in high school and Bicentennial Park in Baytown was covered in red, white and blue.

I’m proud to be a citizen of the United States, even though the greatest country in the history of mankind has its shortcomings.

I can’t imagine being a citizen of another country. What country has as many people trying to get in? How many citizens of other countries are trying to flee their homeland?

How many “uppity ups” claim they’ll flee this country if this or that happens … but don’t, and if they do, surely don’t denounce their citizenship?

Our country is experiencing some major upheaval right now, but I trust we will come out the other side stronger, once cooler heads address any problems we collectively face.

We always have, and will, until the time we don’t.

The NBA is in the midst of the playoffs, and NFL games are about to start, but I have no desire to watch any of those contests.

It has nothing to do with opposing the right of professional athletes to practice free speech, but rather with my right not to listen to it or see it in that setting.

When I watch sports, on TV or in person, I don’t do so in order to see political and/or social commentary. I do so in order to watch “the game”, and enjoy, relax, and escape for a while.

I see a sports event as something that should unify those in attendance. A place where one can cheer for one team or the other. It shouldn’t be an arena where those in the stands have to choose sides regarding social issues.

If Americans with different skin colors can sit together in the stands, why should the message be different on the court or field?

Of course, other people may think differently than me, and that’s the great thing about this country, or at least it used to be, when people could disagree without hating, and taking to the streets, injuring or killing people, and/or looting and burning down businesses.

I’ve said it many times in this space, and I repeat it again today. If my children acted like many “adults” do today, their tails would’ve been tanned and they would have been instructed in the ways of correct behavior for the good of their own long-term wellbeing.

That’s a lost lesson these days, for far too many children, and unfortunately, for too many adults.

Until next week, have a good week, and do something nice for another human with no thought of receiving a “thank you”.

Mike Probst can be reached at publisher@rockportpilot.com.

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