Tuesday, November 11, 2014

FTT Off-Topic: To Our Future Veterans

There Will Be Many
Not sports, move on or don't.

As I was doing the day job today, I saw a news photo that made me stop in the middle of a long and dragging day.

It wasn't profane, or graphic, or Photo shopped,  or enhanced, or even unrealistic.

It was just a brief and sudden epiphany. And not a nice one.

I'm not including it here because the sentiment involved was just too beyond the pale, and gave me that kind of hollow moment that men get when they feel like their life has been spent in vain, or that they are hopeless, or that life itself holds no joy or meaning, because it has to be spent in the company of intolerable people.

It was a photo of a smiling white guy, casually dressed, holding up a hand-written sign of his own make, presumably at a parade.

It read: "Thank you Veterans, and Future Veterans."

A brief moment of history about November 11. It was, to the people who walked the planet a little less than 100 years ago, their September 11. The date marked a cease-fire in one of the most spectacular instances of technology outracing sense, where honor in battle was fed whole into the unrelenting machine that is total war, and where brave men met tanks and machine guns and barbed wire and poison gas and unrelenting horror, and never recovered. On a per capita basis, surviving trench warfare in World War I... well, um, you didn't.

Any war, of course, is not known for its comfort or ease. Each has their own particularly grisly and definitive mix of the wort of humanity writ large. So much so that in this country, we spend an awful lot of time telling our veterans how wonderful they are... all while making sure that we never, ever run out of them.

Rather than use abundant technology, or conservation or modertion, to isolate ourselves from having to deal with parts of the world that despise us for cause, we put men and women in harm's way.

Rather than work for more equitable income distribution that would drain the swamp of class-inspired violence, we allow our politics and elections to be pay to play.

Rather than insist that news coverage that is devoid of a profit motive, and therefore theoretically able to give the public the information they might need to avoid the unrelenting repeat of tragedy, we replicate sports and ensure it.

And rather than embrace a basic standard of living, we engage in a shell game of welfare with honor, otherwise known as military spending, that makes sure we always have money on the side of war.

We also run a cruel biannual con that tells them how much we value their collective service, but not their worth as individuals... and react to every crisis with the top-tier violence that we have bought and trained for. On the rare occasions that we don't, we chastise whatever leader didn't pull the trigger as unmanly and un-American and unfit for office.

So thanks, veterans.

So many of you to thank.

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