Sunday, July 03, 2011


I had caught a phrase recently that for some reason was disturbing to read:

“If you can’t stand behind our troops, then feel free to stand in front of them.”

Really? What exactly do they mean when they utter this slogan?

Do they mean, like the guy who stood in front of the tank in Tiananmen Square?

Or perhaps the folks who stood in front of British troops in front of the Old State House in Boston back in 1770?

Are they maybe hoping that things would go down like the students who stood in front of Ohio National Guard troops at Kent State two hundred years after the Boston Massacre?

Is that what it gets down to?

So, I’m curious. Tell me, based upon that saying, what would happen if I, as an unarmed American citizen, walked up in front of one or even some of our soldiers and said, “I think that you are in two illegal wars that have been fought way too long, and if our government isn’t careful, you will be in a third before long. The troops need to come home and stop being used as expendable pawns of the chickenhawks and pseudo-patriots influencing this nation’s leadership.”

Or, what if I simply stood in front of them, saying nothing?

Enough with the rhetorical sayings. Let’s continue the conversation right now. What’s going to happen?

Should I look forward to a hail of bullets coming to my head, or at least a rifle butt in my face?

I’m not sure who thinks that it’s OK for a nation’s military to shoot at unarmed citizens, especially those who are engaged in peaceful protest, or even just engaging in freedom of speech or otherwise freedom of assembly or expression, but they’re not with the type of mindset that I want making any pertinent decisions re: this country’s foreign policy, or anything to do with its domestic policy for that matter. A nation in which we would live in fear of the iron hand of a military-backed regime is not the kind of place where I want to live. In such a drastic situation, I would be more than ready to place myself in front of the troops. At least my place in history would be secured, and future generations could hopefully learn about what happens when militant pseudo-patriotism runs amok and destroys any semblance of the true principles of democracy and human rights.

A lot of folks out there would tell me that we are already under the control of the military-industrial complex, but I’ve never really been the type to give up that easily on these United States. Still others live under the dogmatic phrase, “My country, right or wrong.” I’m more along the lines of, “My country right, and when I feel that it’s wrong, damn straight I’ll complain about it.”

Am I an enemy of the Constitution? No. Are people who assemble and express their dissent in peaceful gathering enemies of the Constitution? Of course not. So if anyone gets in front of the troops to exercise their Constitutional rights, isn’t that exactly what the troops' military ancestors and comrades have sacrificed so many of their lives for? I could only hope to literally stand in front of the troops if it only meant ending the disrespect of so many young people who represent the future generations of our nation, and preventing them from being spent like poker chips in situations better suited to the whims of isolated selfish interests of the rich and powerful than those in the interest of defending the true safety and liberty of a nation’s people.

I have a quiz for you.

Go take a look at an American flag flying on a pole out there somewhere, and as you’re standing there checking it out, ask yourself the following question:

Yours, mine or ours?

And yes, this quiz has only one correct answer. After all, the nation represented by that flag isn't the Divided States of America.

Perhaps, instead of suggesting how to be patriotic, we should be asking ourselves about what true patriotism means instead.