Sunday, May 30, 2010

Supporting Our Troops

Allow me to introduce myself. Hi. I’m a flaming liberal. I’m anti-gun, anti-violence and anti-war. I think if every dime spent on war and getting people killed were spent on education and diplomacy, the world would be a hell of a lot better off than it is now. That’s me. Nice to meet you.

When I began working on this week of episodes about supporting veterans’ and soldiers’ issues, my flaming liberal values weighed heavily on my mind – mostly, how much I believe war is nothing but a misuse of power. While we all know that in a job like this – writing about supporting various causes – the risk of sounding like a hypocrite runs high. No one person can do everything. But for some reason, this time, I really felt like a charlatan. Who am I to talk about supporting veterans and soldiers when I don’t support war?

But then it hit me. I’m using soldiers and veterans interchangeably with the word war. See how I did that a couple of sentences ago? Well, sure, I’ve understood intellectually that you can “support the troops” without supporting the war. But it wasn’t until working on these episodes that “supporting the troops” meant more than a thumbs-up at a bumper sticker going by.

When a 21 year-old man comes home, unable to walk and can’t get around in his own home, war is not the issue. When a soldier can’t buy simple things like razors and socks because the nearest “convenience store” is hundreds of miles away, war is not the issue. When a family can’t afford to fly to the hospital where their injured mother is staying to show their love and support, war is not the issue.

No one’s telling you to throw away your politics or keep your mouth shut on the issues. But when it comes to supporting active duty soldiers and veterans, really, who cares? It’s not about guns, violence or war, it’s about people, families and life. And they deserve way more than a thumbs up.

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