I am finally going to release something to the general public (those few who read this) something I wrote a number of years ago. I think it was 2006 when I wrote this. So the Iraq war was still in the media a lot, and people complaining about Iraq war protesters as being un-American, hating the troops, supporting terrorists, etc… I just found that really distasteful. I don’t think protesting policy means you want troops to die. Its a little dated now, but I figure its time to release it to the world.
Its very ‘chic’ these days to display a flag on your car window, have a ribbon magnet that says ‘Support the Troops’, or buying little American flags that say ‘United We Stand’, or ‘We Remember’, or ‘September 11, 2001’ with an image of the Twin Towers on it. But what does this have to do with being patriotic or supporting the troops? Absolutely nothing.
Americans have been bamboozled, swindled and tricked into believing that buying these products makes you more of an American, makes you more Patriotic, and makes you believe that you actually support the troops. Almost every store carries an American flag something or other to sell to you, they’re usually at the cash register to grab your ‘impulse buying’ urge.
Of course many people will say that this is just an extension of the pride they feel, and they want to let people know how much they care for the United States. While there is nothing really wrong with that, should they be expressing their pride in such a way that hurts Americans? If you look at the packaging these things come in you’ll see they are made in Taiwan or China. Wouldn’t a better show of American patriotism be only buying these items if they were made in the US, or the profits going to actually support the troops? Isn’t patriotism a good enough reason to spend the few extra dollars it would take to give an American a job?
Why do I never see a sign next to these items saying ‘proceeds go to help buying soldiers Kevlar’, or ‘help support a military family’ or anything like that? The profits go to the store and the company that outsources its factory work. I fail to see how that supports the troops, or shows how patriotic you are. I suppose that is the beauty of marketing though, we see so many commercials and advertising that have American flags on them, we automatically believe that having an item with a flag on it means you are actually patriotic.
There are many other ways to be patriotic. Support organizations like ‘Operation Gratitude’ (www.opgratitude.com) or ‘Books for Soldiers’ (www.booksforsoldiers.com) or some of the many other organizations out there. Donate time at a local VA hospital, search for military families whose spouse is deployed and cook them a meal, walk up to a soldier and thank them for serving their country. You don’t have to support the war to do any of these things. You can give your support to soldiers, and their families, who risk their lives because they felt called to put their lives on the line so you would not have to. Theirs is the greater patriotism, and buying a foreign-made American flag to mislead yourself into believing you’re actually supporting the troops is a sad second place.
So that’s what I wrote a number of years ago. What made me finally post it? A discussion with a friend of mine last night, that I’m going to go in to in a few days with another post. I’m actually separating it into two posts because I don’t want to make one massively long one.
I hope you liked this, please let me know if you did. Feedback is always nice.