Sunday, July 03, 2005

Shared Sacrifice

  • A digital photograph of a photograph in the Time-Life World War II book: Liberation. This is a photo of British paratroopers (you read that right, he jumped out of a plane in the kilt!) behind enemy lines in World War II. This operation inspired the movie: A Bridge Too Far.

  • My father in law gave me his entire set of the Time-Life World War II books, all thirty nine of them. I have slowly been churning my way through them. I am on volume fifteen, The Air War In Europe. Some of you are probably surprised to find out that I am a fan of war history, especially since nowadays I am leaning towards almost pacifism. But I have always had a passion for history and since a great deal of history involves one human killing another in the name of God or country, or even just for the hell of it, war history is a part of that interest.

    The thing that strikes me from reading these books is that citizens in all of the countries involved in World War II were involved in thier nation's war effort. Here in the United States of America people were on sugar and gasoline rations. Our parents and grandparents collected aluminum for the war effort. People did without to support the soldiers overseas. This was not unique to our nation, the Germans did it, so did the British and the Russians. The French did it - at gunpoint - for the German cause. There was a sense amongst the citizens of all of these nations that they were giving for a greater cause. Everyone did it

    As we come to another Fourth of July in the midst of another war, I am struck by the complete lack of a sense of shared sacrifice. Nobody has asked the American people to do without for our soldiers overseas. In fact, the reverse is true. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11 when the people asked what can we do? the answer we got from our President was: Go shopping. And in fairness, it's not like we could do neighborhood depleted uranium drives.

    I don't feel much of a connection to the war effort. I have not been asked to contribute anything really. No easing up on gas consumption, no sugar rations, no nothing. I have contributed here and there, usually when on Daily Kos someone has a collection going to buy body armor or get an injured vet a computer. And nobody talks about the war. It is not big headlines. When that helicopter carrying sixteen American soldiers went down in Afghanistan last week, it wasn't even the top headline on either or

    What does this mean? I don't know. Maybe it means that we have become so selfish that we no longer even care about people dying. Maybe we just don't give a damn that our soldiers do not have body armor and that our Hummers can be taken out with a halfass homemade bomb.

    Maybe none of us are really patriots anymore. We feel good waving free flags that realtors stick in our front lawns with their business cards attached. We buy cheap yellow magnetic ribbons and let the sun bleach them white. We don't talk about it.

    As a nation we do not share a sense of sacrifice for a purpose greater than our individual selves. And that is sad. More than anything this speaks to the fundamental moral weakness of our nation. We, Conservatives, Liberals, all Americans, should be doing more for our country, for our soldiers. I don't know what, I just know that what we are doing isn't enough because we are no united as a nation and we are not involved in our nation.

    Goddess Bless America. She could use the help.