Friday, March 11, 2011

Giving Green On Fridays Will Help The Troops More

Internet activism. Where else can so many feel so good about doing so little? Everyone knows that posting a status update, even without links to sites that allow you learn more about a problem or take action of any kind, is more effective than 1,000 people in cause bracelets driving 1,000 SUVs with yellow ribbon magnets. Internet activism allows you to stand alongside the small, brave, overwhelming majority of citizens who feel the same way you do and tell those (mostly imaginary) enemies of America what for! It makes me want to wrap myself in a Gadsen flag! FREEEEEEEEEDOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMM!

Occasionally, you find something on the internet that perfectly encapsulates everything that’s wrong with online activism. The “Wear Red On Fridays” Facebook page is one of those things. Text from the info page of the site is italicized.

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Will You give this to my Daddy?
As a Company, Southwest Airlines is going to support 'Red Fridays.'

Last week I was in Atlanta , Georgia attending a conference. While I was in the airport, returning home, I heard several people behind me beginning to clap and cheer. I immediately turned around and witnessed One of the greatest acts of patriotism I have ever seen.
Moving thru the terminal was a group of soldiers in their camos. As t...hey began heading to their gate, everyone (well almost everyone) was abruptly to their feet with their hands waving and cheering.
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Really, a bunch of people cheering and clapping in an airport is one of the greatest acts of patriotism you’ve ever seen? Seriously?
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When I saw the soldiers, probably 30-40 of them, being applauded and Cheered for, it hit me. I'm not alone. I'm not the only red-blooded American who still loves this country and supports our troops and their families.
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I’ll assume you were exaggerating and by “only” you meant that, prior to all this patriotic clapping, you thought you were one of a small minority of people who support our troops and their families. With all the “We Hate Our Troops” signs on every street corner, I can see where you’d get that idea. People just hate the troops, don’t they? After all, if you ask 100 people whether or not they support our troops, I’m sure at least 99 of them will scream “Die American swine-dog!” and start beating you in the head with their Osama bin Laden commemorative coffee mugs.
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Of course I immediately stopped and began clapping for these young unsung heroes who are putting their lives on the line everyday for us so we can go to school, work and home without fear or reprisal.
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I’m sure it was a great act of patriotism on your part. Much greater than risking your own life, health, mental state, personal relationships, and financial stability to serve your country in the military or something lame like that.
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Just when I thought I could not be more proud of my country or of our Service men and women, a young girl, not more than 6 or 7 years old ran up to one of the male soldiers. He kneeled down and said 'hi...'

The little girl then asked him if he would give something to her daddy for her...

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The suspense is killing me. Or maybe it’s just the overuse of ellipses. Please go on...
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The young soldier, who didn't look any older than maybe 22 himself, said he would try and what did she want to give to her daddy. Then suddenly the little girl grabbed the neck of this soldier, gave him the biggest hug she could muster and then kissed him on the cheek.

The mother of the little girl, who said her daughter's name was Courtney, told the young soldier that her husband was a Marine and had been in Iraq for 11 months now. As the mom was explaining how much her daughter Courtney missed her father, the young soldier began to tear up.

When this temporarily single mom was done explaining her situation, all of the soldiers huddled together for a brief second... Then one of the other servicemen pulled out a military-looking walkie-talkie. They started playing with the device and talking back and forth on it..

After about 10-15 seconds of this, the young soldier walked back over to Courtney, bent down and said this to her, 'I spoke to your daddy and he told me to give this to you.' He then hugged this little girl that he had just met and gave her a kiss on the cheek. He finished by saying 'your daddy told me to tell you that he loves you more than anything and he is coming home very soon.'

The mom at this point was crying almost uncontrollably and as the young soldier stood to his feet, he saluted Courtney and her mom. I was standing no more than 6 feet away from this entire event.
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Urban Dictionary defines “glurge” as “[a] word used to describe the syrupy sweet e-mails that are mass-mailed to unwilling participants. Usually involve, puppies, kitties, children with disabilities, puppies and kitties with disabilities, and Jesus. Generally end with, ‘Pass this along 2 as many ppl as u can!!!11!!1!’” While the above story was distributed via Facebook rather than mass email, I think the definition still works nicely.
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As the soldiers began to leave, heading towards their gate, people resumed their applause. As I stood there applauding and looked around, there were very few dry eyes, including my own. That young soldier in one last act of selflessness turned around and blew a kiss to Courtney with a tear rolling down his cheek.
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That soldier’s selflessness is matched only by your patriotism. Seriously, you should have some idea what words mean before you start throwing them around all willy-nilly like that.
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We need to remember everyday all of our soldiers and their families and thank God for them and their sacrifices. At the end of the day, it's good to be an American.
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WE’RE NUMBER 1!
[Note: Does not apply to air quality, education, health care, longevity, wealth distribution, and a host of other commonly accepted quality of life indicators].
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RED FRIDAYS ----- Very soon, you will see a great many people wearing red every Friday. The reason? Americans who support our troops used to be called the 'silent majority'. We are no longer silent, and are voicing our love for God, country and home in record breaking numbers.
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This might be valid if by “used to” you mean the Vietnam War era, but even then the idea of a silent majority had a lot more with winning votes by setting Nixon up as the “anti-hippie” candidate than any actual belief that the majority of Americans sided with the most misguided of the war protesters. Today, it’s even less apt. If the peace movement learned anything from Vietnam, it was that American soldiers must not be lumped in with the officers, politicians, and government contractors who decide to send them to war. Even if you could find troop-hating anti-war demonstrators today, presenting them as exemplars of the peace movement as a whole is just as intellectually dishonest and claiming that the Westboro Baptist Church represents mainstream Christianity.
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Our idea of showing solidarity and support for our troops with dignity and respect starts this Friday - and continues each and every Friday until the troops all come home, sending a deafening message that.. Every red-blooded American who supports our men and women afar will wear something red.

By word of mouth, press, TV -- let's make the United States on every Friday a sea of red much like a homecoming football game in the bleachers.

If every one of us who loves this country will share this with acquaintances, co-workers, friends, and family. It will not be long before the USA is covered in RED.
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And that will accomplish what, exactly? Does all that red somehow protect the troops from bullets? Does it bring them home earlier? Will it make the politicians who decided to send them into harm’s way consider what they’re asking of our troops more carefully next time around? Will wearing red cause a soldier to grow back an arm, regain the ability to walk, or forget the terrible things he's seen in combat?

No, it won’t. All it will do is make you feel better about yourself without actually doing anything. Wearing red on Fridays is slactivism at its best. If you want to actually do something that will help a soldier, donate your time or money to the programs that help soldiers find jobs and homes, provide medical treatment for wounded soldiers, or help the families of soldiers who have been killed. If that’s too much to ask, write your representatives in Congress and ask them to bring our troops home and promise to never again ask them to risk their lives fighting an unnecessary war.

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The first thing a soldier says when asked 'What can we do to make things better for you?' is.....We need your support and your prayers.
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Really? Did you actually ask any soldiers that question before making up your own answer? I’d think that answers like “send body armor” or “get me out of here” would be more common. Any soldier who does go with the “support and prayers” answer is probably doing so to be polite rather than because he believes that magical thinking on your part will help him on the battlefield.
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Let's get the word out and lead with class and dignity, by example.
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Your brave example of making the ultimate sacrifice (wearing red once a week, even if it might clash with your outfit) may be the greatest display of patriotism I have ever seen.

If you’d prefer to do something more substantial than sending happy thoughts, the USO website has information on several programs that you can donate to or volunteer for.


All italicized comes from the Support Our Troops, Wear Red Friday Facebook page (linked above) and is the property of the owner(s) of that page. It is used here for satirical purposes.
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