Democratic Underground

Concerts, Flags and Heroes
November 3, 2001
by John Garza

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1. As has been noted, the military recruiters are not exactly overwhelmed with volunteers. Does this mean that the terrorists are correct about us being soft, not having the will to give up our cushy daily life?

It has been much easier, much more "feelgood" to buy millions of little flags and to throw these concerts for ourselves than to fight. When I did my four years in the military I had no concept of enlisting for the purpose of heroism. My 4 years were not "heroic." They were what they were.

On three different days out of my Viet Nam year, my ship was shot at, the ship sustained damage, and we had at least one wounded. The rest of the tour I chipped paint and painted my ship, did my little job maintaining it, while it delivered its cargo to an Army base. Sgt. York and Audie Murphy and their class of heroes probably didn't enlist for the purpose of becoming known as "heroes."

That's another thing we can do besides putting these concerts and other such forms of over-wrought emotions in perspective: we should stop talking so much about heroes for now, until after we get through doing what we need to get done.

There's plenty of time, if we're successful, to sort out the heroes after the dust has settled. If we're not successful, it won't matter how heroic anybody was.

2. It looks like the Shrub people really are inept. But we Democrats cannot take any pleasure in that if our country loses this engagement. Above all, our country must not lose. Republicans and we Democrats need one another in more profound ways than we realize: the Republicans are always lacking in meaningful vision, and Democrats, mish-mash that we are, tend to self-destruct.

Are we Democrats so desperate (defeated?) that we are willing to cave on anything, and Shrub is losing anyway? Money and civil liberties down the toilet? Why don't the Democrats stand firm on our societal vision?

As for the Republicans - why doesn't Shrub actually do the truly patriotic thing and cut a deal with the Democrats? Not pasting-on the ANWR and the fake schemes for tax cuts onto needed legislation - just focusing on WINNING this particular engagement?

What about if Shrub would even announce that there might have been some anomaly in the past election, but that in order to put things right, to gain real legitimacy, and to renew our true democracy, he will focus only on this term and on winning this particular engagement, and will not run for re-election? How's THAT for real patriotism? That would really win him whole-hearted support.

He wouldn't have to cave completely, he could say that this didn't mean the Republicans were going to give up the next election, that they were going to fight it as hard as possible, just that it is more important to maintain the sanctity of our electoral process than to have a short-sighted and hollow "win."

3) With the heading for the hills (McCain's words) of the Supreme Court on the tail of Congress and everybody whimpering, it looks like the terrorists have already won. What has brought us to this is our careless making of policy based on fake issues, angels dancing on the heads of pins, as opposed to authentic interaction with one another.

We are more willing to throw trillions away on bombs and feelgoods than to have an honest discussion.