How do we convince people who do not derive power from it or lose out as a result of it that the White Male Privilege does exist and that it would be almost universally beneficial to eliminate it?
Archive for the 'military' Category
Right in the middle of baking a type of cookie I haven’t made in nearly a decade a memory so vivid and strong roard through my entire body so quickly that I had to stop and sit. There was a time when all of my hristmas cookies were for soldiers. Some of them I knew, some of them I’d never met, but in the years following high school and well after I finished my Master’s degree, there wasn’t a batch of cookies that wasn’t sent, at least in part, to one base or another. The revelation of what made me stop sending the cookies is what immobilized me this afternoon.
One by one the soldiers I knew came home, went off to war, and came back again, though not one of them returned whole. One, in what many of us imagined to be a particularly difficult episode of PTSD, shot a Preacher’s wife sniper style, first in the wrist to “disarm” her, then in the head for the kill. A few came home in boxes. Some never went to war but were lost to me in other ways – failed relationships or friendships that just couldn’t survive the span of distance and time. There came a time when I watched these men I had known so well become pieces of themselves, and selfishly, I just couldn’t watch anymore.
So I don’t have any soldiers to send cookies to, at least not this year. My cousins, two in the Air Force and one in the Army, stopped speaking to me a year or two ago because they couldn’t understand that though I value the military and its sacrifice, I cannot get behind these wars we’ve been fighting for years. They’re young. Maybe they’ll learn to separate my opinion from me as an individual, but I don’t have much hope. And I’m not sure the situation could be altered in any way by a box of cookies.
I had two men propose to me in a very short period of time. One, the soldier, I dated for over two years, spent time with his family, did the holiday shuffle, and tested our relationship with two road trips. He is a great guy, incredibly intelligent, and never home. Such is a soldier’s life. I would have spent a lot of time on my own, raising my children practically on my own, putting in time at the Officer’s Club and the Ladies Auxiliary to prove I was worthy of my absent husband. Only when I took a step back from that relationship did I realize that that would never have made me happy. I loved him, but I would have lived a mostly solitary existance far away from my friends and family, and for someone who is clinically depressed, that is not a good idea. The soldier now thinks I’m weak, slightly crazy, and a liar (since I said I would love hom forever and he thinks that ending a relationship means ending love as well). That is the black-and-white thinking I could have been subjected to for the rest of my life.
The second, a musician, seems in many ways to be an antithesis of the first. I met him a month after breaking up with the soldier, moved in three months later, and was engaged nine months after that. It sounds like a rebound relationship, I know, but it’s lasted 7 years, so I think we’re okay. I didn’t meet his family until after we were engaged. He’s less than perfect, intelligent, incredibly funny, and always home. I can always call him when I need something, he has an amazing relationship with our son, and most of our friends don’t give a damn about whether I wear appropriate clothing and jewelry for each occasion. It was my relationship with the soldier that made me see what is truly important in my life. The relationship I have with my family, the ability to do the work I love without being uprooted every few years, and a true partnership in child rearing is as close to happiness as clinical depression can get. When I’m frustrated or tired, angry or sad, I remind myself of one simple and life altering decision – I could have been a soldier’s wife.
I have to send a special shout out to Daniel on this one. Writing is a catharsis indeed, but we cannot forget to write what we should as well as what we can. All the posts on religion, education, and politics mean nothing if we DO nothing, and most importantly, we cannot forget that while we sit in front of our computers in cushy office chairs surrounded by air conditioning there are thousands of people suffering IN OUR NAME.
Our government is torturing and detaining people for indeterminate lengths of time without giving any reasoning, and they say they’re doing it to make us safer. What proof do we have? What can we point to as the reason for even arresting these men? We make excuses and we spout slogans, forgetting all the while that people are suffering, truly, deeply suffering – and for what?
War does a lot of things to a lot of people. Some find a renewal of faith and others lose it completely. For nus, those who have stayed on the sidelines and watched this comedy of errors continue year after year, it is impossible to judge the young men and women who serve. You would expect that fellow soldiers would understand and accept the changes in their comrades as “part of the experience”. Many become more religious, more patriotic, more etc…, but some do not. Some let go of their deeply ingrained beliefs, question what life is all about, and change who they are. This soldier did just that, and because the Army and his fellow soldiers didn’t like what he was saying, it caused a shitstorm.
Army Spc. Jeremy Hall was told that “…because I can’t put my personal beliefs aside and pray with troops I wouldn’t make a good leader”. He was asked to leave a table at Thanksgiving because he wouldn’t say Grace. He is currently suing the military, not for money, but for the promise of religious freedom. This poor young man joined the Army believing that he was doing something good for our nation and its people. All he has found is that he has to defend his own rights. We owe him and all the other true defenders of freedom a collective apology.
I saw a piece on 60 Minutes about Christians in Iraq. Before the war there were over one million Christians practicing openly in Iraq without being bothered because Saddam Hussien allowed for religious freedom. That meant that women could drive, work, go to school, etc… Since the beginning of the US occupation of Iraq the Christian population has dwindled significantly. A young man in the story told of how his family split their time at mass so that if the church was bombed, only half of them would die. The Christians who survived the initial religious persecution by the Islamic Fundamentalists have mostly escaped to Syria. All that are left are the women whose men have been killed, the very old, and children. They practice their religion in secret.
My problem with this story was the spin. 60 Minutes detailed how the Christians were surviving in Iraq and how their lives had been better before the US invasion, but glossed over the part where their slaughter was largely our fault. It is true that had we not invaded, these people would still be living under the rule of Saddam Hussein, who had NO ties to Osama bin Laden or Al Qaeda AND allowed his people some religious and social freedom that is wholly absent from the Iraq of today. Now that is impossible. The militants have made sure of that. Good for us!
I fully agree that this ad seems a little contrived and is definitely cheesy, but the concept is correct. People are not paying enough attention to McCain’s stance on the Iraq war. I know the economy sucks and that’s a pressing issue for all of us, but while we’re being steered to pay attention to the economy, people are still dying in Iraq, and familes are separated. According to McCain, things could be that way for a very long time. Long enough that my son could actually be affected by this stupid, illegal, and immoral war. I agree with Alex’s mom. i will travel to the ends of the Earth if I have to, but Mr. McCain, YOU CANNOT HAVE MY SON. EVER.
4,110 US soldiers have been killed in Iraq (again, this number does not reflect those who have died of injuries once they have air-lifted out of the country) 30,247 Us soldiers have been wounded in Iraq