I’m sure by now everyone has seen the plethora of photographs involving people writing on a sheet of paper and how they are or are not part of some numerical percentage and why they feel they belong in said category. Then there is the offshoot of that, decrying the folks in the 99%, talking about hard work ethic, multiple jobs, and so on, as though any of that were relevant.
But the ones that rile me up, that get the ol’ blood a’boilin’, are those of people serving in the military, typically Army, talking about the dear sacrifices they are making to keep safe that whinging 99% back at home. It calls into question the protestors’ patriotism, masculinity (where applicable), and seeks to demean and denounce their feelings of inequity by equating them to nothing but a group of crybabies looking for a free handout.
There are open letters floating around, chastising these people for missing the point, calling into question the motivations behind such blatant “America! Fuck yeah!” propaganda on the part of the soldiery, and they are, on the whole, polite.
I am not a polite person.
Dear Military Personnel decrying the OWS movement and the protests happening around the world in order to find some modicum of equality for working class (and yes, even elitist scholars like myself) individuals,
You are a drone in a service industry whose only output is chaos and death. There are times, don’t get me wrong, when fighting in a war can be necessary. Iraq? Afghanistan? They’re offensive for several values of the term. They are wars whose necessity was created decades ago by men hoping to secure a bit of Capitalist freedom in a place being overrun by dastardly Reds. We gave weapons to tribesmen, we made pacts with violent dictators, and we were happy when they drove off Ivan from the sands. Then they pointed the guns at us. Gotta hate those instigating bastards, eh?
Our hands are so unclean as to have gone beyond the realms of filth, out the other side, looped about a bit in a Nietzsche-esque time warp, and come around still horribly bloody. And that’s just America. I’m not even going to bother about how the West has treated that area. Read a book. If you can.
You are a drone. On command, you will shoot. On command, you will kill. Some of you have a problem with that. Many of you will come home broken, scarred, and full of a hate you cannot name. An unfortunate number of you will end up dead by your own hands. Some take the path of quick suicide; some take drugs, or alcohol. In any case, you are breaking a morality instilled in you from early childhood, and there’s not much a flag can do to staunch that wound. You can pull the blanket over your head all you like, but face it: you’re the bogeyman.
Disagree? But, friend soldier, where do the civilian deaths come from? What’s that? Wrong place, wrong time? Oh, let’s blame the victim. Let’s blame the displaced wandering mass of men who were probably trying to scavenge something, anything, to make it in that little war-torn piece of Heaven on Earth you helped create. And why did you help? So you could go to college for free? Healthcare for life?
I pay for my healthcare (when I can afford it). I had an academic scholarship for my undergraduate degree, and I take out student loans to fill in the gaps for my masters work (until I can get a job in the education field and those multi-million dollar book contracts I hear so much about). How many people did I have to kill? How many lives broken, countries wrecked, by my hand and the hands of men and women I call comrade?
How many lives weigh your conscience down?
Do you have one?