November 17, 2008

As soon as I wrote "heroic" in that last post, I started to think back about the myriad ways the Bush administrations have taken the term "hero" crammed it up the rectum of the body politic.

One reason (of so many) I am happy the Republicans were swept out of office is that it might just stem the tide toward fascistic hero worship that has been so omnipresent in the U.S. since 2001, and perhaps a bit more balance will be restored.

The one thing that really chaps my sack (as Barbara Bush as been heard to say) has been when the airlines have made such a show of recognizing the "heroes" who are on the plane flying in uniform. I am sure you have seen this as well. It has not been uncommon at all for enlisted dudes flying in uniform to be invited to first class and given free drinks. I have seen this many times. I was on a flight two weeks ago and the stewardess got on the horn so the plane could recognize the heroes. Everybody clapped. At the end of the summer, I was waiting to board a plan in Baltimore when they handed out flags to everyone and asked people to stand and clap as the soldiers walked off the plane. I overheard the inevitable exchange "why are we clapping?" "They're heroes".

I of course appreciate the sacrifice of the people going to fucking Iraq and to Afghanistan, and am a believer in service and so on. But does this make every m'fer in uniform into a hero who deserves applause? Must we collectively worship volunteer soldiers, or can we just appreciate what they do and not get so carried away? It seems almost too obvious to note, but yet everybody sheepishly follows.

I won't even bother to dwell on the fact that when these heroes return to the U.S. they are all treated shabbily and nobody does a goddamn thing for them.

What about the old timer sitting there quietly who has performed open heart surgery on X number of people, saving their lives by using a great skill? On any average plan there must be a bunch of people who deserve a free drink. Geez, what about the fire fighters and all the others who the nation was so impressed by for five minutes before re-consigning them to the forgetten service personnel roster?

And, of course, heroes who preserve music from oblivion.

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