Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Patriotic Morons

Sorry if I don't fall all over myself honoring our veterans today. It's not that I don't value their sacrifice. It's that I've already given at the office. You can only draw from the well so many times. Every single major holiday has been co-opted to honor our military. Our ballgames have been co-opted to honor the military. I can't go to the corner convenience store without having to wade through flags and be asked to donate to some vaguely military organization.

Of course, none of it really has anything to do with honoring our military. It has to do with easing our collective guilt. Deep down, we know we have sent them off to fight in unjust wars. Deep down, we know we don't really take care of them when they get back - no jobs, no healthcare for the psychological problems they get from fighting these wars.

One of my Facebook "friends" ... using the term loosely ... actually posted this about the shootings this week at Fort Hood: "WTF is going on in this country? Shootings everywhere." Really? You have no idea? That's the problem. You have no idea why men come back from war and blow their own brains out or kill their families. It's more important for most people to spout patriotic cliches than to really think about what we are doing to our country and to our young men and women.

As I've said before, this is not an abstraction for me. I come from a military family. My brother and dad would certainly qualify as "patriotic morons". My brother was in a "war" that was a glorified police exercise (Desert Storm), yet still hasn't adjusted to the real world over 15 years later. Imagine those that have actually had to kill someone.

You think if you keep gushing about our veterans at every chance that it will actually help the veterans? Honestly people, get a clue. Let's have a Veteran's Day where none of our men were on foreign soil. If we honored our soldiers, we'd bring them back.


Scott said...

Yeah, they're all over the status updates on FB today. My wife gave me specific instructions this morning to not say anything on there so as to not offend our friends and family.

Not really anything you CAN say to them though. But please, don't call them patriots. They're nationalists, not patriots. You're a patriot.

wunelle said...

This is a topic on which I struggle. I have a brother who has been twice to Iraq, and certainly I want to honor his service and that of others who have signed up.

But, as I have often noted, the honor and idealism of the soldiers is no validation of the mission, and it's the politically-motivated mission to which we often object.

But there's the real rub: politicians have so often played the patriotism card vis-a-vis the military that I'm no longer able to hear about military causes without feeling I'm being manipulated for political purposes. And when I feel I have no right to criticize the mission, I tend to have a sour feeling about the whole business.

(It doesn't help that I work with a group of mostly ex- and present-military members with whom I share not one whit of my outlook on life...)

dbackdad said...

Scott - And you are as well.

I agree about FB. Crystal is a smart girl. There were a couple dozen postings on my Facebook page for Veteran's Day. I just keep my mouth shut over there on those kinds of issues. The only people that would understand me are the people that already read me elsewhere (you guys).

Wunelle - Believe me, I struggle also. I used to be moderately patriotic but it's so hard any more to witness true patriotism. Even those people that have the most rights to be patriotic (WWII veterans) are being co-opted by the Right and FOX News. They either don't know they are being used or they don't care.