Monday, June 23, 2008

Have You Seen This MoveOn.Org Ad?

I don't watch much television (um, none at all unless its on while I'm at the gym, which has been next to never the last two months because of work) so I had not seen this commercial but I read about this ad in the New York Times Op Ed section this morning.

This ad is being aired in my home state of Ohio. 

The one thing that hit me when reading the op ed piece was, this could have been my mom years ago.  This is my sister today.  Several years ago, when my nephew as 2, he was fascinated with the pictures I was putting in my scrapbook from the Museum.  This was all restoration stuff, up close looks at a lot of aircraft.  Nephew sat with me, like all 2 year olds and had me tell him what all the aircraft and weapons were, over and over.  By the end of the week, my nephew could ID a UH1E, CH-53, CH-46, Harrier, F-18, and anti-aircraft gun.  My sister's comment to me, "If he grows up and joins the military, I'm going to kill you."

My family is not pro-military, nor are they anti-military - - they could just care less. 

Yes, I'm a bit of an anomaly.  Ironically, my dad, a history teacher, took us to visit Civil War battle fields when we were kids - - getting me interested in military related history.  They encouraged me when I read every book about the Vietnam War that was in our Smalltown library.  However, when I talked about joining the military, out came all the arguments why I shouldn't and why I wouldn't be a good soldier, sailor or marine.  Instead of encouragement, they fed my mind with insecurities and doubts.  I think they also looked at my joining the military as a failure on their part to provide.  Because the only kids in Smalltown, Ohio that went into the military were the ones who 1) didn't have the money for college or 2) had no other options.

Ironically, I am probably one of the few kids that went to college a liberal and graduated a conservative.

To this day, I regret not joining the military, even if just for a short time. 

My family is luke warm about my time at the Marine Corps Museum.  I've tried showing my dad pictures of something only to have him say, "I'm kind of sick of military stuff."  O.k. it was the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, where military stuff was front and center on the news.  The fact that I work for a defense contractor brings offhanded jabs.  I tried inviting my parents down for a family weekend at work, but they declined.  However, they've had no problem driving further south to my sister's to attend things at UVA.  Do I feel slighted.  Yes, I'll be honest.  But it is what it is.

My mom recently commented, "You spend to much time at that Marine Museum, you need a life."

"THAT" Marine Museum. Holy cow, that is like saying "THOSE people." 

I have a life.  I enjoy the time I spend at the museum and the people I meet, the things I learn.  However, this past month, I've struggled with that comment she made.  My friends from church were so surprised that my mom made that comment, "Don't they see how you light-up when you talk about it?  You really come alive."  Her comment has really deflated me.  I'm struggling to choose not to let it suck the enjoyment I have out of it.

My parents continue to say, "Not our kids."

The op/ed's author quotes the comments of a soldier's mom, "Does that mean that she wants other people's sons to keep the wolves at bay so that her son can live a life of complete narcissism?  What is it she thinks happens in the world?... Someone has to stand between society and danger.  If not my son, then who?  If not little Alex then someone else will have to stand and deliver."

All I have to say, is, it is a hard life and I respect the men and women who choose that career path.  MoveOn.Org is so lucky to have such a strong military backing their right to free speech.


Mary Emily said...

I did happen to see this the other day and was in shock! I thought I heard wrong. It totally saddened me that people just don't seem to get that without the sacrifices our Military the wouldn't have freedoms they have.
When my son gets older I would be so proud and extremely happy for him to be a Marine...and in fact, I am raising him to be ready for just that! So McCain - or whoever the President is at that time - you may DEFINATELY have my son! :)

Samantha West said...

Well there are those who believe they can always live off the rest of us. My former business partner is now soooo glad his son didn't join the Navy and become a SEAL in 1999. At the time he felt Jonathan needed the discipline.

If they would take this old woman I'd go to Afghanistan right now. If I had a skill that would allow me to work with a shock trauma platoon my stuff would be in storage and I'd be gone.

Jim said...

There is a vast gulf between "defending freedom" and what our military has been called upon to do over the last 6 years.

It's easy to believe that people who are against the war and occupation of Iraq are "weak" on defense. But that war was a policy choice, not an inevitability--like most wars.

The war we should be done with--the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan and the mountains of Pakistan--has languished. The long slow bleed there is the result of the war in Iraq.

There is no one I know who doubts that the American military has, in the past, secured our liberty. That is not, however, the role they are playing today. Saying so does not ignore their importance.

If you honor the men and women of the military, if you are a civilian citizen of the USA, the best you can do is to be certain that when the government asks them to kill and to die, that it does so for only the most honorable reasons and only when all other options have been exhausted.

That has not been the pattern.

To the extent that that hasn't been true, those soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen have been sadly wasted.

Above all, that is what we should seek to prevent. Recently, we have all been failing at it.

Kelly said...

Oh puke. I am beyond annoyed with parents that feel the need to select a career/interest for their children. If little Alex wanted to become a police officer to protect the community his mother lives in would she object to that? How about raising our children to think for themselves? Teach them about values, right vs. wrong, and to stand up for those that can't stand up for themselves. (This is all referring to the ad, not your parents)

Ellen said...

If your sister has a different viewpoint on the justness of the war we are currently in, then it would make sense for her to not want her son to participate.

If you felt we were fighting a war for the wrong reasons, would you want your child to participate?

I could speak to a lot of the comments in this blog, but I'll probably just call you instead. At this point, I'm upset that you're opening up the family to the comments of nearly total strangers.