Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Personal Wars: My Friend At Walter Reed

My friend, Tom the Redhunter, spends just about every Friday at Walter Reed protesting the protesters. Veterans' Day was no exception.

I think I loved this part the best:

As I've mentioned, the bus carrying the wounded heros arrives back at Walter Reed at sometime between 9:15 and 9:30.

And every single night, the Pinkos pack up and leave at 9:00 sharp.

Why? They claim they're there for a "vigil", on behalf of the wounded troops.

Our best guess is that the Code Pink organizers know that the troops on the bus will flip them off, and they do not want their useful idiot followers to see this.

But no matter what their reason, it's fine by me that they leave. I want the troops to see us, not them. So immediately after the Pinkos abandon a corner, a bunch of us rush over to seize it. Oddly, it almost feels like we've capturued enemy territory, which in a way I suppose we have.

Anyway, when the busload of wounded heros shows up they get to see four corners of pro-America, pro-troop people, holding up partiotic signs.

I think this is another reason that the war feels "personal". It seems like we are in a life and death struggle for the national identity of our nation. Maybe that seems melodramatic, but that's what I feel like sometimes. Like these things we do shape our national history (our story) in some small way.

You know why this war is different than Vietnam? Way back then, the national culture was still a product of our parents' upbringing. I mean, people had come back from WWII and they settled into suburbia. They were looking for quiet. They wanted to create a world that was different from the hell they had just experienced. That world was, in many ways, quiet. People didn't get in other people's business. They went to work. They lived by a different set of social mores. Manners were emphasized. Public discourse seemed less raucus. When the protests of the sixties came, I think that many people responded as the French are doing now. They were quiet at first because it didn't seem like a big deal. I think they thought it was just the "youth". They wanted them to be quiet and let them go back to their quiet lives. They didn't want to get in the dirt with them. That's not how they lived.

Then, I think, one day people woke up and saw that these riots and protests had spread to such an extent that they seemed like an overwhelming majority of people must believe as these protesters did so, people remained quiet, however they felt about the war. Then, through sheer persistence, they changed their mind, in some ways because of how long it had lasted and the number of dead, but also because people thought they were alone. No one likes to be alone in their opinions (no matter how secure they believe themselves). So, those who felt the war was legitimate in Vietnam stayed quiet. They let the story of Vietnam, from beginning to the end, from the moment the soldiers left, til the moment they came home, be shaped by the "other" who was organized and vocal.

No one had really ever considered before that those that would support a war or support the troops would have to be equally organized and vocal. At least, not in the general public. Politicians, yes. Citizens, no.

It is a different story today. We know that the "silent majority" can't be silent this time.

And we won't.

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