Monday, November 12, 2007

Veterans Day

Happy Veteran's Day...time to slap another magnetic ribbon on the SUV, Marge!

Do something good for vets: Veterans need fully paid health care and benefits and a strong, new VA secretary

The red, white and blue isn’t black and white

While I was out and about yesterday afternoon, I came across something that absolutely floored me with it’s pointless silliness and chutzpah. Along Hwy 26 in Beaverton is a Shilo Inns Hotel, and on the roof is a large sign that says in big block letters, “SHILO INNS SUPPORTS OUR TROOPS”. This struck me as one of the silliest, most intellectually dishonest, immoral displays of commercial pandering I’ve seen in quite some time.

First of all, who DOESN’T support our troops? They’re our sons and daughters, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters. Who DOESN’T want them to come home in one piece (No, Mrs. Smith, I hope your son comes home in a bag. It’s what he deserves for being part of an imperialistic occupying force. Uh, what???)

Sometimes I wonder what drives companies to pander to the plastic patriotism so many Americans reflexively express these days. Sure, slap a magnetic ribbon on your SUV, watch Fox News Channel, and vacantly parrot Right-wing talking points. Do companies really think that trafficking in cheap, meaningless displays of plastic patriotism is good business? Sure, I imagine that there are some well-meaning folks who might think that they’re doing something worthwhile, but what reasonable person honestly thinks that trumpeting the fact that they “support our troops” is a meaningful gesture? In reality, it’s the moral equivalent of putting a magnetic ribbon on your SUV- a thoroughly meaningless gesture that really serves only to make someone feel good about themselves- LOOK AT ME…I SUPPORT OUR TROOPS!! In the end, it changes exactly nothing and contributes even less to the welfare of our men and women in uniform- though that person can lay claim to what they think is an impressive wellspring of patriotism and love of country. I’m sorry, but armchair patriotism sickens me. It’s just about the lowest, shallowest, most self-absorbed and pointless attitude I could imagine.

What disturbs me so much about this is that it illustrates how devoted we’ve become to cheap, meaningless symbols- signs, flag-waving, magnetic ribbons- because they require little to no effort. Meanwhile, the real work of supporting and caring for our veterans remains undone. Did you know that, on any given night last year, as many as 198,500 veterans were homeless? Did you know that Our Glorious and Benevolent Leader © has consistently underfunded the Veteran’s Administration…and yet has the balls to blame Democrats? If we’re expected to fund this war, shouldn’t we be able to expect that the sorry excuse for a President who started this war fully fund the care of those who return from it missing parts, whether physically or emotionally?

What does it say about us when we’re willing to ignore this reality, but we’re able to feel patriotic because we have a magnetic ribbon that says “Support Our Troops” on our SUV? That we love our troops as long as we don’t have to actually DO anything for them or spend any money on them? That cheap, tawdry symbolism is acceptable, so long it leaves you feeling good about yourself and your unbridled (if slothful) patriotism?

Jeebus, sometimes I’m almost ashamed to call myself an American….

Snip

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