Those voices are discussing the United States military, the brave men and women going into harm’s way to protect the country from outside threats as we destroy ourselves from the inside.
Following a series of alleged comments made by the president disparaging the members of our armed forces, those who have worn the uniform are beginning to ask themselves the question: how do you defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, when that very document seems to be foreign to the domestic?
According to a report in The Atlantic, Mr. Trump has repeatedly trashed the idea of military service, believing that the very concept self-sacrifice to be a fool’s errand unless it’s carried out through the noble practice of bankruptcy.
In one conversation, the commander-in-chief is said to have referred to soldiers killed in World War One as “suckers,” who must have fallen for that age-old ruse where the mark thinks an Archduke had a bullet put in his but it was really hidden in his hand the whole time.
In another remark, the president asserted that he didn’t want to go to a graveyard filled with soldiers because it was filled with losers, unlike the winners who laid down their lives so that he could follow his own at Marietta Confederate Cemetery.
Mr. Trump is also have said to have wanted to keep wounded veterans out of military parades because “no one likes to see them,” reducing amputees, the paralyzed, and those suffering from a host of other physical impairments into an Army of floating yellow Minions outside Macy’s on Thanksgiving.
Alongside salads, fat chicks, and the World Health Organization, the president’s apparent distain for military has been well-documented.
Earlier this summer, it was reported that Russia has long offered the Taliban bounties for killing American soldiers, and while the White House has been aware of the practice since 2019, the Administration has done nothing about it. Whose got time to weed mercenaries out of a war zone when Melania’s already up to her neck weeding crabgrass out of the Rose Garden?
And during the 2016 campaign, Mr. Trump famously insulted the family if Khizr Kahn, the Gold Star father a slain U.S. Army captain, and claimed that he himself had paid his own sacrifices, so if you think it’s tough being blown up by an IED, try experiencing the pain of licensing your likeness to a SimCity knockoff only to discover it only runs on a limited selection of Nokia phones.
From trashing John McCain to taking credit for a veteran’s healthcare bill signed by President Obama in 2014, it’s likely that you’ve already heard most of these stories — just like a program that says it comes out on Monday and mysteriously drops Wednesday night, this may as well be called Old News.
But instances of faux patriotism and paper-thin admiration for “the troops” are among the things, alongside Starbucks quote-unquote coffee and gas station television, are among the things that bother me most about this country.
For me, this veneer has always been particularly apparent in the right-wing of our politics — freedom-lovers who urge other freedom-lovers to get decked out in camouflage, open carry, and wrap themselves in American flags unless they’re trying to defend the country.
It’s an extension of the doublespeak the U.S.A. is perpetually engaged in; the Broadway understudy pretending that she wants the lead to succeed on opening night while praying that her lunchtime sushi platter takes a turn for the worse and they’ll need to call in Elphaba’s backup for Act One of Wicked.
We clap when the plane lands but start cursing out the flight attendant and pilot if the door doesn’t open the moment it meets the jetway.
We’re essential workers, even though we’re essentially paying nothing for work.
We’re lovers of freedom and liberty, until it’s the case of someone freely expressing a particular liberty that we don’t happen to agree with.
Turn on cable television, flip through a checkout magazine, browse the feel-good Facebook posts your mom is sharing, and you’ll hear about the great things our All-American Brands doing for our service members: 20% off Reebok. Free coffee at 711. Unlimited nationwide 4G on the country’s most reliable network. The head of state of our country’s armed forces might think you’re a fool for protecting the country’s founding ideals, but come on — would a sucker pay full retail for a Yeti cooler?
Mr. Trump has denied that he’s called soldiers and veterans losers and suckers, just as he’s denied his hair the opportunity to gracefully obey the laws of gravity.
And if he’s denied another term this November, I hope that those who spent springs training, summers in the desert, autumns at sea, and winters in a bunker, will be among the last of us to look Mr. Trump in the eye next January to say, “Thank you for your service.”