On this Veteran’s Day, stop fake supporting your troops.
Today is Veteran’s Day, a day that spawns a number of cut and paste micro-memes on Facebook. After last month’s screed on pinkwashing, I feel compelled to repeat my rant preemptively as the first posts start to trickle in.
People see the “Support our Troops Cut and Paste,” and they dutifully follow directions without taking a moment to honor the sentiment, and without admitting that they’ve accomplished absolutely nothing meaningful in any way.
Flag-waving “support your veteran” statuses on Facebook are amusing. They’re pointless. We might as well cut and paste a status from a status generator app (they do exist) – that’s about how interesting and meaningful these Veterans’ memes are.
Last year, when this sort of thing went around, a lot of posts falsely claimed that Obama was cutting Veterans’ benefits, giving more money to welfare, and limiting cost of living increases for soldiers, all the while increasing welfare handouts (to Black people). The meme, of course, demanded that we condemn Obama for shamelessly betraying our troops. People subsequently cut and pasted their hearts out for the troops. (Doesn’t have quite the ring of “Teabagging for Jesus,” I admit.)
The facts? Obama basically followed federally mandated guidelines for military raises, and state governments regulate the amount of welfare “payouts.” Veterans have received more support under Obama’s administration than under Bush I, II, and Reagan. I “commented” these points every time I saw a new status update – to no avail. The memes kept coming and my comments made absolutely no impact other than costing me a couple of friends who I should have unfriended in the first place. I, too, did some friend-pruning after that.
I also learned that around Veterans’ Day last year, Republican Senator Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) was holding up the Veterans’ Caregiver and Omnibus Health Benefits Act in committee. This was a legislative maneuver designed to politick over Obama’s health legislation. The man actually played politics with desperately needed Veterans’ benefits. In addition, he’d made this political maneuvering with Veteran-related legislation MULTIPLE TIMES. The bill only just passed this April. Moreover, led by Coburn, Republicans continue to block legislation benefiting veterans for purely political reasons. In this case, they are stalling a bill to help HOMELESS WOMEN VETS AND THEIR CHILDREN!!!!
We’ve degraded from bumper sticker politics to “like” button politics. I didn’t know it got any lower. At least with bumper stickers, you have to have some physical motility – buying the sticker, peeling the back, pressing it to your car. Voila, you have the appearance of having done something political and you can gain respect from your neighbors for your “Jindal for Governor President” politics.
If you want to perpetuate this silly meme, then please at least go to the Support Your Troops Message Board and post your sentiments on a place where others might actually appreciate it. (I doubt those others would be the troops, who would much more appreciate adequate protective gear.)
If you REALLY want to support your troops, do something meaningful. Here are some things you can do:
1. Pressure Coburn and his supporters. Contact your senators and get them to do something next session. The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans fears these bills are about to die on the floor of a lame-duck session.
2. Contact your representatives and THANK them for passing the Veterans Omnibus Act so that they will support such legislation in the future.
And probably most significant: Support your troops by bringing them home.