09/23/2005: My sentiments, exactly....
Josh Schulz perfectly expresses some thoughts I've had in less perfect form: Those Stupid Little Magnets. The inspiration for Josh's post comes from Fred Clark at Slactivist, who has a modest proposal for encouraging at least some of us to show some real support for "The War President"'s mess in Mesopotamia:
The War Bonds poster above comes from the fascinating, and inspiring, collection of WWII posters at Northwestern University. Go over and browse through this collection. It's a portrait of a different time and a different world. Every American was, at some level -- and usually a level involving sacrifice -- engaged in the war effort. People on the homefront invested whatever they could spare in war bonds. They lived with rationing and recycled everything.
That's not the case now. If you're not enlisted in America's military, you're not involved in the war in Iraq. You have neither the obligation, nor the opportunity to contribute to or sacrifice for the war effort. And your president insists that this is the way it should be.
The American public does not today have the character to support a new war bonds effort. (We don't have the savings, either, since most of us are in debt up to our eyeballs. Our national savings rate is negative -- and likely headed down once the housing bubble bursts. But bracket that for now.)
So here's a modest proposal for a remedial first step: Have the USO start selling "official" versions of those @#&$ "Support the Troops" magnets. Full-sized ones would cost, say, $500. Smaller ones would cost $100. Whenever you spotted someone with one of the unofficial magnets, you'd be justified -- even obliged -- to mock them as a freeloading, fair-weather patriot until finally they were shamed into putting their money where their tailpipe is.
The USO's budget, of course, has little to do with the actual cost of the war. But at least this would ensure that "the troops" would benefit from the intangible, ineffectual "support" which now seems so widespread, smug and shallow. And by reconnecting patriotism with the idea of making a contribution it might help to reshape our national character so that we might, once again, be capable of something like a war bonds effort.
Len on 09.23.05 @ 07:04 PM CST