|I Support The Troops, But I Hate Babies: The Shameless Antagonist's Guide To Deconstructing Meaningless Propaganda|
L.A. Times columnist Joel Stein is taking heat from the right wingers for writing a column in which he says he doesn't support the troops. In his concluding paragraph, he writes:
I'm not advocating that we spit on returning veterans like they did after the Vietnam War, but we shouldn't be celebrating people for doing something we don't think was a good idea. All I'm asking is that we give our returning soldiers what they need: hospitals, pensions, mental health and a safe, immediate return. But, please, no parades.
He argues that it's a contradiction to claim you're against the war and supportive of the troops, echoing the refrain of his conservative detractors.
Rather than concede semantic ground, I choose to reframe the context of the meaningless slogan "I support the troops".
Fine. Then let's set up a few parallel assertions: I support the teachers. I support the doctors. I support the priests. I support the children...Can you say these slogans with equal conviction and/or fervor?
What is support, anyway? Does the word "support" mean blindly condoning any action on the part of the subject of your support?
If you can say "I support the priests" with equal fervor, are you shouting "hallelujah" with each new molestation of an altarboy?
If you say "I support the children" with equal zeal, do you hold nerds for the neighborhood bully to punch?
Thoughtful people aren't hoodwinked by kneejerk appeals to patriotism.
I support the troops, particularly the conscientious objectors who refuse to particate in a counterproductive, ill-conceived neocolonial resource grab.
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