Disclaimer: If you don't agree with the gross generalizations I make in this post or if you are an exception to them please feel inclined to withhold that information from me.
This post is for the troops!
Allow me to disclose something, I am a coward. Like many other socially awkward introverted hermits I marvel in dreams of being heroic. However, if the opportunity ever presented itself in real life I would probably just scream and urinate in my pants until the threat was forced to vacate the area to escape the wailing and stench of my piss. I am not a fan of war but if we have to rape and pillage a country every couple of years so that I can continue to get a 99 cent burrito from taco bell, so be it. I admire people who serve in the military. Whether they do it because they were preyed on and recruited due to their lack of education/income or because they are legitimately brave I am glad that someone who is not me is willing to stand in front enemy gunfire. I want to be clear before we move on that my following criticism is in no way related to the military.
Recently I was watching a television show where they take a shitty car and convert it into a freshly painted car in a short period of time. These types of shows are the equivalent to cheap home makeover shows but they involve men and cars and as such allow males to maintain a veneer of masculinity while they watch them. This particular episode involved a Ford pickup truck. In this particular series two competing teams are given the same vehicle and are pitted against each other in a competition to decide who makes the best vehicle in the alloted time.
At some point during the design phase one team decided that they were going to make a vehicle and dedicate it to the troops. Predictably their finished product was a raised up, garish nightmare covered in stars and stripes. First off, I'd like to point out that while most soldiers are probably patriotic that the American flag on its own does not directly show support for the troops. If that was the case then every car, article of clothing or tchotchke that you purchase with an american flag sticker or tag would be in support of the military.
The real reason why anyone on a television show does anything for the troops is because it is a cheap, gimmicky manipulation. On a small scale especially when being judged it gives one team an unfair advantage. To not vote for the car that was made for the troops would be unpatriotic! The contest is no longer about which car is better, it is about which vehicle loves his countrymen more. On a slightly larger scale the television network uses it as a cheap ploy to tug on your heartstrings and get more viewers to watch. The show is no longer about the craft of fabrication now it is a communal healing experience. Now it's about all the people who lost their lives in 9/11. Now it's about justice and the symbolic killing of Osama.
So the network has got you hooked and feeling good but are the network execs as patriotic with their advertising? Do they feature only American products during that hour of television or do they still sellout to the highest bidder? Do they donate the proceeds from the episode to the continued medical or psychiatric care of injured soldiers? Will these fleeting haphazard moments of gooey patriotism get crooked Joe out of his wheelchair? He took a bullet in the spine for his country and now he's addicted to painkillers and Jack Daniels to ease the suffering. Are you going to to wheel his contorted body into frame, hands covered in bruises from beating his wife because he can no longer stifle the pain of losing his entire life at such an early age? probably not. The people who put this shit on television and exploit the military for monetary gain would never pick up a gun and defend you or their country. Don't be fooled into believing that a small collection of greedy assholes care about or value your contribution to freedom in any way.