FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

What "Support Our Troops" Means

by JAMES MURREN

Afew doors down from my own newly-purchased slice of the American dream pie, found here in one of America’s “All American Cities”-Lafayette, Indiana-a yellow ribbon wraps the front yard tree as tightly as a mother’s arms around her daughter’s body as she departs on her tour of duty, or a father’s handshake as his son departs for basic training. No fool would look at the ribbon or love’s embraces and think unkind words to the families experiencing such emotions, no matter their political alignment.

Unfortunately, America is filled with fools.

It seems that we find ourselves uncertain about what “Support Our Troops” means these days, days of political mediocrity where few really say much of anything, and where you and I are more concerned about our favorite college football team’s success and which seasonal craft brew is the one to have at the autumnal equinox party we are hosting.

Meanwhile, sons and daughters of the American dream we get to live are fighting a war that, according to the latest opinion polls, we don’t support. We say we want to bring them home, but the likelihood of that happening is equal to the probability of you and me admitting that we care more about our savings account than whether or not a twenty-year old fellow citizen is killed on the streets of Iraq; it’s not probable that we’ll say the money in the bank means less. Unless we know the non-breathing life in the coffin, the money is where our thoughts are.

Let’s be honest with ourselves America: as long as we can sustain our status quo lifestyles, and if we are able to continue fighting wars against the world’s poor to provide us the capability of living as we do, we are then able to lay down at night and rest on the pillow of “God Bless America” and “America is the Greatest Nation on Earth.”

Talk to anyone working with America’s homeless, and you will quickly learn that one of the larger-represented groups living without a roof over their heads in our nation are veterans of the Vietnam War. How many of us pass them by when we pull away from Discount Mart, but claim that we “Support Our Troops?” What kind of country do we have when we praise our soldiers as heroes and declare them to be our truest patriots, and yet we, their fellow county men and women, don’t say “Hello” to them in line at the bank? At the town diner? At Sunday services? In their dirty clothes and unkempt hair on the sidewalk?

Do we say “Thank You?”

What kind of government do “We the People” allow? How is it that we allow even one of our greatest proclaimed patriots to live in poverty?

If the rate of suicide amongst active members of military is the highest in more than two decades, do we consider their deaths as “patriotic” or “heroic” as those that die in Iraq or Afghanistan? Do we share responsibility for their deaths?

To me, SUPPORT OUR TROOPS requires that we acknowledge that the life we are living right now is connected in a network of relationships-human, emotional, psychological, physical, spiritual-to those that wake in the morning and do what they are asked to do by their superiors, and in the acknowledgement that we participate in that network. I may be opposed to this war, but I’ll be damned if the foot soldiers will receive the brunt of my angst against it. I will point fingers toward the politicos and generals, but not the young women and men who have no say in the matter.

What does “Support Our Troops” mean? The definition is found in the understanding that you and I share a collective humanity that does not allow us to wash the blood from our hands. If our neighbor is fighting a war we’re opposed to, and if we haven’t changed the way we live, then we too are fighting the same war. If we do nothing to remove the yellow ribbon from that tree, then we are participating in the war.

We cannot live in a warring America and reap her benefits while simultaneously separating ourselves from war.

JAMES MURREN, M.E.S, lives in Lafayette, Indiana. He is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Honduras 1997-99), and works in humanitarian efforts in Africa and South America. He can be reached at: jmurren@gmail.com

 

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

December 08, 2016
John W. Whitehead
Power to the People: John Lennon’s Legacy Lives On
Mike Whitney
Rolling Back the Empire: Washington’s Proxy-Army Faces Decisive Defeat in Aleppo
Ellen Brown
“We’ll Look at Everything:” More Thoughts on Trump’s $1 Trillion Infrastructure Plan
John Stauber
The Rise and Fall of Obamacare: Will the Inside Story Ever be Told?
Ted Rall
Ameri-Splaining
Michael J. Sainato
Mainstream Media Continues Absolving Itself From Clinton, Trump Election Failures
Ralph Nader – Mark Green
Divest or Face Impeachment: an Open Letter to Donald Trump
Gareth Porter
US Airstrikes on Syrian Troops: Report Data Undermine Claim of “Mistake”
Martha Burke
What Trumponomics Means for Women
Ramzy Baroud
Fatah, Hold Your Applause: Palestinian Body Politic Rotten to the Core
Steve Horn
Jeff Sessions, Trump’s Attorney General Pick, Introduced First Bill Exempting Fracking from Drinking Water Rules
Joe Ware
The Big Shift: Why Banks Need to Stop Investing Our Money Into Fossil Fuels
Juliana Barnet
On the Ground at Standing Rock
Franklin Lamb
Aleppo Update: An Inspiring Return to the Bombed Out National Museum
Steve Kelly
Hidden Harmony: on the Perfection of Forests
December 07, 2016
Michael Schwalbe
What We Talk About When We Talk About Class
Karl Grossman
The Next Frontier: Trump and Space Weapons
Kenneth Surin
On Being Caught Speeding in Rural America
Chris Floyd
In Like Flynn: Blowback for Filth-Peddling Fascists
Serge Halimi
Trump, the Know-Nothing Victor
Paul DeRienzo
Flynn Flam: Neocon Ex-General to Be Trump’s National Security Advisor
Binoy Kampmark
Troubled Waters: Trump, Taiwan and Beijing
Tom Clifford
Trump and China: a Note From Beijing
Arnold August
Fidel’s Legacy to the World on Theory and Practice
Dave Lindorff
Is Trump’s Idea To Fix a ‘Rigged System’ by Appointing Crooks Who’ve Played It?
John Kirk
Cuba After Fidel
Jess Guh
Repeal of Affordable Care Act is Politics Playing with the Wellbeing of Americans
Eric Sommer
Team Trump: a Government of Generals and Billionaires
Lawrence Davidson
U.S. Reactions to the Death of Fidel Castro
John Garvey - Noel Ignatiev
Abolitionism: a Study Guide
Clancy Sigal
Caution: Conspiracy Theory Ahead!
December 06, 2016
Anthony DiMaggio
Post-Fact Politics: Reviewing the History of Fake News and Propaganda
Richard Moser
Standing Rock: Challenge to the Establishment, School for the Social Movements
Behrooz Ghamari Tabrizi
Warmongering 99 – Common Sense 0: the Senate’s Unanimous Renewal of Iran Sanctions Act
Norman Solomon
Media Complicity is Key to Blacklisting Websites
Michael J. Sainato
Elizabeth Warren’s Shameful Exploitation of Standing Rock Victory
David Rosen
State Power and Terror: From Wounded Knee to Standing Rock
Kim Ives
Deconstructing Another Right-Wing Victory in Haiti
Nile Bowie
South Korea’s Presidency On A Knife-Edge
Mateo Pimentel
Some Notes and a Song for Standing Rock
CJ Hopkins
Manufacturing Normality
Bill Fletcher Jr – Bob Wing
Fighting Back Against the White Revolt of 2016
Peter Lee
Is America Ready for a War on White Privilege?
Pepe Escobar
The Rules of the (Trump) Game
W. T. Whitney
No Peace Yet in Colombia Despite War’s End
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail