There is a disturbing trend here in the United States that I don’t really know how to approach. The reverence and practical worship of anyone in the military. Now don’t get me wrong, I respect what they do and the position they fill in our society is a necessary one, but it’s to a point of virtual cult worship of our military.
Sure our nation and as far as I know all nations have a level or respect towards those who have served in the military. We honor them, have holidays in honor of their sacrifice and in memorial for those who have fallen in the line of duty. We’ve always honored our military and we always will. The problem comes when this reverence becomes ingrained with our society to such a degree that service men and women get treated as if they’re infallible saints.
Roughly 10% of the adult population in the United States has served in the US Armed Forces. This means that pretty much everyone has had someone in their family or someone they’re close to in the military and that a lot of people have had someone they love in the military who didn’t make it. So outright disrespect of the military is being outright disrespectful to just about anyone in the country’s family. This doesn’t make soldiers somehow saints, they should be hero worshipped the way they are, and our society needs to stop making America out to be synonymous with Military, Guns and God.
I get that they’re risking their lives by being in the military, but there are other public servants who don’t get nearly the respect. Where’s the reverence for the trash collector, or the guy who scrapes up road kill, or the volunteer life guards etc.? A veteran is simply a person just like you or me. They are not by default better than anyone else, they are just regular people. Those who have made sacrifices should be honored for those sacrifices, but someone at some point serving in the military isn’t automatically better than a person who hasn’t. Our country isn’t about the fighters, it isn’t about the soldiers who “protect our freedom” (although in my adult life what they’ve been used for is far from protecting our freedom, more like protecting the foreign assets of the US elite), our country is about those freedoms. Seriously, you ask a random person what visual they get in their head when they think of being an American and I guarantee you that visual is going to include guns, soldiers or God (and frequently a blend of the three). What people should be thinking of when they think of America is freedom, equality, opportunity not hero worship.
If you’re a soldier/veteran (1 in 10 chance you are) or have a family member or friend who is (almost 100% chance) I don’t mean any disrespect for members of the military, but it is very disturbing and frankly makes me worried about the future. What does it say about a country when the enforcers become revered more than the values they’re meant to enforce? What’s it say about a country where if you even hint at a soldier not being groveled to everyone raises hell, but if those values that soldier supposedly fought to protect are disrespected it’s no big deal? The worst part, you can’t even address the issue without assuring a dozen times or more that you’re paying the proper respect or you’ll get verbally (or worse) attacked for it. Hell, I’ll probably still be cussed out at least a dozen times for writing this and if I said it in public I’d probably get lynched. Soldiers are just people, no different from cops or janitors or sanitation workers or secretaries. If their actions have made them worthy of praise by all means praise them, but don’t just automatically kiss their ass just because they have a uniform.