Thursday, August 19, 2010

My ass

I usually try and ignore the military priapism of the American Right.

Some of it is genuine love for the U.S. Army, some of it comes from soldiers who have served, some of them in hard and ugly places. Some of it is a genuine respect for and honor towards the Americans who, as some sort of anthem set to the tune of an old drinking song says, "...stand between their loved home and the war's desolation".

But a hell of a lot of it seems to be the worst sort of war-porn woody, the second-hand fawning and meeching of wanna-bes and never-weres over people whose lives and hardships they never really cared to try and whose sufferings they celebrate only until the sufferers themselves become a burden. I seldom see the Chamber of Commerce types who sport the lapel pins and magnetic stickers at the veteran's homes, or the shelters, or the VA hospital where the underpaid workers wipe and dry the wreckage of the wars that these ruddy businessmen and hearty politicos seem to find so magnificent. American conservatives appear to have some sort of mindless adoration for people, at least American people, with weapons, as if somehow by the mere act of putting on some tree-colored clothing they stop becoming the dudes, hosers, jocks, stoners, gimps, wheezers, knotheads, romeos and juliets, wierdos and whackos and just plain fucktards we knew in high school. It's their magical thinking thing, and they're welcome to it. I've been a GI, and trust me, we can fuck up a wet dream; I've seen it.

But, whatever.However, I do reserve a special contempt for the "professional patriot" who has actively passed up an opportunity to serve yet insists on sporting the colors and talking the talk of a hardened veteran. People like Bill Clinton and Dick Cheney, men of the wartime generations who chose to, if not actively flee, at least find ways to avoid the merest chance of military service, only to return to (or emerge in) public life unchastened by their own fear and eager to hasten others into the line of death.

So it is with a particular sneer that I read and see that the patron of the professional patriots, the Archpundit of Conservatism, Rush Limbaugh himself, had a uniformed color party at his fourth wedding.Now I have no particular opinion on the presence of the national colors at a wedding, first, fourth, or otherwise. It would seem to me that flaunting national symbols on a day intended for the celebration of personal union reeks of a certain...mmm...insecurity? Weakness? A draping of patriotic bunting to cover the failure of three preceding marriages?

Or perhaps I'm reading too much into this; it's Limbaugh - the man is practically a walking lapel pin, a right-wing bumper sticker with legs. Why wouldn't he think it appropriate to have fighting men with flags at his wedding?


If these really ARE servicemen (and the poor picture makes it difficult to discern details but something about the cut of their uniforms makes me think more of cheap costume rentals than an actual interservice color guard), then I as a taxpayer, you, and everyone else in this country who pays a penny in federal taxes, is helping pay for a right-wing blowhard's fourth wedding. And five troopers, who should be doing something useful for the nation, are being used as props at the quadrennial nuptial fest of a man whose opinions are loathesome to at least half of the nation they serve.

I've had a couple of weddings, myself. At both of them I was serving either as a U.S. Army reservist or an Army National Guardsman. In neither case would I have considered it appropriate to have asked my units to provide a color party; even if I had desired one, the notion of dragging fellow enlisted men to dress up in their Class A's and march about on a day when I schmoozed, drank, and partied would make me sicker than a rat. As it was, I got fuck all from the Army for my weddings other than some colored ribbons to pin on my suit.

To be splashed with beer in the sergeant's mess to celebrate your wedding is one thing; to demand drill and ceremonies from enlisted men...well, I would hate to be the sort of man, or the sort of soldier, or the sort of sergeant whose troops thought of him with that in mind. I would think of myself as a very poor man, a very poor soldier, and a very poor sergeant, if I had to parade out troops to make myself look patriotic, or powerful, or whatever having uniformed troops at my wedding would make me look.

Manly, perhaps?But then, I never missed out on the war of my generation because I had a cyst on my ass.

I can see how that might leave a man feeling he looked a trifle less than...manly...on his wedding day.

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