This morning began with little Pearl helping me choose her clothes. She was instructed to wear red, white, and blue today at school yesterday. I wish I had read her folder papers (she gets nearly a ream home daily) last night. She got dressed while I packed her lunch, I opened her folder full of papers, and I found the missive from the school about why she is wearing red, white, and blue to school today.
Apparently, a kindergartner and 2nd grader have a dad who’s getting deployed, and that dad was coming to the school to raise the American flag this morning.
I feel like an unpatriotic beast, truly, but I might’ve made her choose other colors if I had read this blather sooner.
Fast forward to the exodus from our home. Pearl had her eye exam today at 8 a.m. I saw an article about Ron Paul in the waiting room copy of Esquire. The woman who helped us behind the desk looked a little bit like Amy Adams, on whom I have a minor girl crush (mostly for her role in Julie and Julia, but I admire other roles of hers like Junebug), and Pearl was telling her that she was wearing red, white, and blue to school, and that Mia’s dad might go away and never come back.
I told her that the dad was going to Iraq or Afghanistan, and that the official story is that he’s defending the country, but who knows what he’ll really be doing. Amy Adams look-alike gave me a little chuckle.
What I wanted to say is that the official story is that he’s defending his country, but really he’s getting paid a lot of taxpayer money to shoot at brown people who have nothing whatever to do with this harebrained war against an abstract concept, and that the only thing that seems to be actually at stake is the American ego, and that this ridiculous pursuit is so far beyond unnecessary that it makes my teeth hurt.
Here’s the part that hurts my soul the most: It is not this weird show of support and honor for this man who is, in fact, risking his life for his country, even though he has two small children and a wife who will be without him if he gets gunned to smithereens. It is that these apparently thoughtless school personnel mandate this show of support. To me, observations of patriotism should be a personal as the religion one chooses. I wonder if they would be as eager to celebrate a dad who is a prison guard? Or a dad who shamelessly takes his life into his hands by riding a motorcycle?
I know that there’s no real way to predict whether one will have to go to another place and shoot at people when one enlists in the military. But that is the point, that’s what the military is for, there is always a reasonable expectation that there will be war. Why celebrate this guy who knowingly risks his life, potentially widowing his wife and orphaning his children? Sterilization should be standard military issue, just like the haircut and the camo uniform. I suppose our war heroes would be a little less tragic if they didn’t leave behind spouses and children sometimes, but would that be such a bad thing?
Now, I have some reservations about posting this, because I am reasonably certain that this post will actually garner comments on my blog from Googling nincompoops with misguided, self-righteous, conservative leanings. And to these people, I say only this: I am not a democrat. I am a libertarian. Look it up before you attack me and my education and my plastic framed glasses and my NPR.