Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Support our Troops

It's such a cliche, and I really think it has lost all power. What does it really mean? What are people doing to support our troops? Are they slogging away in the minefields of public policy, pushing for veterans' rights? Are they working in general toward a more just world that will somewhat abate the need for war?

And what about the term "troops"? That's a generic reference to a group of soldiers, a unit, or a company. Personally, I find "Support our Troops" to be dehumanizing and distancing, and it makes it easier for us to give lip service to something that is complicated and often brutal. But that's what slogans do.

Me? I don't have blanket, unthinking support for much. No individual or institution is always right and no individual or institution is above criticism or improvement. Real support is not just saying you support something and sending along some knitted dishtowels. Real support should involve thought and evaluation.

If there has to be a slogan, I would rather it be "Support our Soldiers." Because I don't think that "Remember all those Americans who, throughout our rather short and storied history, have given of their resources, up to and often including their lives, in support of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" fits as well on a magnetic ribbon.

Me? I am thinking about General George Washington and his men and all men and women who supported the revolutionary effort from 1774-1783, with special notice to Col. Henry Knox, Gen. Nathaniel Greene, and Maj. Gen. Lafayette. Everything would have been different without them.


Aardvark said...

The problem with "Support our Soldiers" is that it technically only refers to members of the Army. Troops also includes Sailors, Marines, and Airmen. (Is there, btw, a non-gendered version of Airmen?)

kittywhumpus said...

Good point, and one I had not thought of.