Thank you for your service. Thank you for your service. Our brave men and women in uniform. Thank you for your service.
Hell, it’s a great time to be a veteran. Military benefits have skyrocketed: more money for college, higher cap on V.A. home loans: there’s not a bill for the troops Congress will dare vote down. Sure, all that money’s gotta come from somewhere, but hey- it’s for the troops!
Manufacturers are pledging a percentage of every purchase go to veteran’s charities. Have you seen the commercials? They’re gonna send us to ball games or something. Plus every damn advertisement starts with a soldier coming home. Limited edition Budweiser cans! Can you believe it? Well, actually that’s pretty cool. You can keep that up, Budweiser.
Oh, and the news media! They freaking love us. Don’t get me wrong, the Military- that big amorphous blob bristling with tank turrets and general’s stars- is still as vilified as ever, but the common soldier? Forget about it. Nothing bad can be said about us. We are inviolate. So what’s the problem there, pal? There’s a distinct thread of sarcasm detectable here, and the title is kind of a giveaway.
The problem is that these are the unmistakable symptoms of an emerging underclass. It’s what the good people of America have always done with groups they feel they have exploited (Native Americans, migrant workers, descendents of slaves). Look at the signs: Nothing bad can be said of them. They are noble innocents. Money is being thrown at them. Their suffering is bemoaned.
Let’s get this straight once and for all: The troops are not victims. The troops are not simpletons you slick modern smarties rolled over. The troops are not disenfranchised teenagers that traded their one asset- life- for a shot at college money. Now here’s where it gets complicated, so open your little mind: the troops are a cross-section of America, and as such there are victims, there are simpletons, and there are disenfranchised teenagers; but there are also achievers, geniuses, patriots and several helpings of sheer unmitigated awesomeness- and these categories are not necessarily mutually exclusive.
That and we can see your thanks for what it really is: a selfish attempt to assuage your guilt over the fact that your nation was legitimately attacked and you did jack diddly shit about it. Join up, you pansy.
Okay, that got bitter. Maybe went a bit too far. But seriously…
How about this, as a sort of olive branch: We realize your intentions are good. The thanks are coming from a noble place. How about I tell you how to actually thank the troops?
For one thing, know that it’s okay to criticize. Putting people in a category where they cannot be criticized (and this goes for all the previous classes mentioned as well) is extremely disrespectful. It infantilizes them. The troops are adult enough to defend their actions, and take responsibility for mistakes.
For another thing, listen. It might surprise you to know that the high-school dropout who has spent two years on the front lines has a better conceptualization of the situation than the Ivy League graduate who has skimmed the AP. It shouldn’t surprise you, but it might.
And lastly, if you’re proud of the troops, act proud. Stow your liberal shame and brag a little. We’ve given you plenty to brag about: free elections in Iraq and Afghanistan, an extension of human rights, and zero, ZERO, successful terrorist attacks on our soil since the opening salvos. Also keep in mind that the ground we’ve taken and pacified at so much cost and blood we’re in the process of giving back. How many countries do that? What are we, nuts? Think how low gas prices would be if we kept all that oil!
Okay. My axe is ground. Have a happy Fourth of July, you jerks.