Tired of Chicken-Hawk Phonies and Their Sheep-Like Followers? Let's Listen to a Real Patriot
Okay, today's subject is distrusting your government and I'm bringing in the real thing - my Mom. Tiger Wood's emotional outburst after winning the British Open reminded me so much of what I went through last year when my Mom died. Tiger showed how deeply you can feel the loss of a parent, but it was one word that reminded me of another aspect of the process. He said the experience had been "interesting". That's exactly what I thought, because you suddenly saw yourself reacting in ways you had rarely seen. It's like these deep emotions you didn't even know you possessed came up from the depths of some psychic ocean and swam around on the surface for a few months before drifting back down to where they are now. In a way I miss the intense part of the grieving process and maybe it's the weirdness of being out of control. Whatever. Now to the credentials:
The reason my Mother was older than most of the other kids' mothers was that she spent part of her 20s in the Red Cross serving overseas in hospital wards during World War 2. She was a recreation worker which meant talking with soldiers right after they had been wounded in some of the most famous battles in history. As a result she was carrying around a lot of pain from what she had seen in those wards. She barely mentioned it to me my entire upbringing. However in her later years she began to open up. It was like she was saying, “Okay, 50 years have passed. I’m ready to talk about it now.” She told me she still couldn’t watch any ceremony on TV with American soldiers and the flag. It moved her too much. It brought back too many memories from World War 2. This wasn't the patriotism of the blustery right wing talk show hosts like Lars Larson, who never served in the military. Or David Reinhard, who I bet never served in a combat zone either. And it certainly wasn't the phony tough guy act Cheney and Bush have been running the last few years.
During her Red Cross years, Virginia helped many soldiers. There were the soldiers who were just beginning to realize that their futures had been changed forever by their wounds, men who could have easily become locked into bitterness and anger or feeling sorry for themselves. I believe that by being there at this critical time, giving emotional support and courage, Virginia had a positive impact on these men that would last them the rest of their lives. And believe me, I can imagine my Mom telling them, “We’re all sorry this happened to you but you’ve got to pull yourself together, young man, and go on.” But there was another group of soldiers; soldiers who were not out of immediate danger. Soldiers who needed to have a strong attitude not to live out their lives back in the States, but just to make it through the week. These men couldn’t afford to feel despair right then. They needed to be strong to fight through infections and other medical complications. They needed to be strong to survive. I have no doubt that Virginia with her presence and sheer goodness, saved some of these soldiers from death. Just as surely as the doctors treated their physical bodies with transfusions of blood, Virginia helped save their lives with transfusions of strength.
It’s ridiculous that the word hero only applies to men. And by the way, if we’re going to have a word for heroic women can we do better than heroine? I mean come on. Well, it might not be correct English but it’s true: By helping save the lives of these men, my Mom was an American hero. To this day there are thousands of families across America who had a relative helped by my Mom, even if it was just to be there as they lay dying.
Recently in this country there has been a wave of inexplicable support for the Bush administration. Apparently certain members of our society have gotten the words wrong, and recite the pledge of allegiance directly to our current President. The sad part is that they think they're being patriotic so it might be useful to bring in a real patriot to show you what being an American is really about. And joy of joys, dear right wing readers, it happened during the Clinton Years - a time you love to focus on. Wait, here's one interesting tidbit relayed to me by my Mom, before we start: Did you know our troops in Europe were aware that General Eisenhower was playing around - that he had a mistress? That's something to keep in mind next time you're revisiting your glory years of sniffing around in Bill Clinton's shorts.
Okay, so here comes the point to all this. I was talking to my Mom about the War in Kosovo, which was happening at that time. I said I was amazed that we could fight a war and only lose 2 soldiers.
She said, "If you believe what the government is telling us." What's this? A rebellious attitude from a silver-haired lady? Do you realize how awkward it is when you realize your Mom is hipper than you are? So here we had a super-patriot not willing to buy everything the temporary occupiers of the White House dished out. It's called being "ever vigilant" in guarding our liberty. That's something to keep in mind next time you pledge your allegiance to President Bush and attack any dissent as being the griping of traitors.