Today being Veterans' Day, I imagine that politicians of all stripes will bend over backwards to participate in photo ops with current members of the military, and will spew meaningless platitudes about "honor" and "duty" and "service". The sad reality is that veterans are currently facing high unemployment and potential cuts in benefits. Additionally, the rate of suicide attempts among veterans is nothing short of alarming.
One of the most offensive developments of an offensive decade was the development of the "If you are against the war, you are against the troops" meme. Meanwhile, the horrible persons who flogged this meme were massive profits while placing soldiers in danger by cutting corners.
On a more personal level, two young veterans have been injured in incidents of police brutality while protesting the unjust economic conditions which are disproportionately affecting veterans.
I don't have a television, so I will be spared the spectacle of military personnel and veterans being used as props, while their genuine needs are being unmet, and the "props" will be abandoned on the 12th. That being said, I still find this sort of hypocrisy appalling.
I take this sort of thing personally- my two younger brothers are commissioned officers in the U.S. Army, and my brother Vincenzo is currently in the greater Kandahar metropolitan area (coincidentally, he's "pinning on" a new rank today). My baby brother, Gomez, returned from Afghanistan earlier this year. My brother-in-law is a commissioned officer in the Air Force. My family members aren't background players in some egotist's drama, to be paraded in front of... the largely working class kids who they lead into harrowing conditions are not toys for power-tripping sociopaths to play with. I'll sit out the kitschy displays of faux patriotism- the real test of one's devotion to the men and women who served their country is a continuing dedication to their well-being. Our society needs a plan to assist the veterans, enough with the platitudes.
Of course, this post wouldn't be complete without a scathing social commentary about the situation faced by young military personnel, sung by an empathetic member of an occupied populace... it's never inappropriate to blast Stiff Little Fingers' Tin Soldier: