Pens, Paper, Postage, and Patriotism
- 2009/10/07 14:43:17
- Read all 732 opinions
Promises, promises, everybody makes them.
I've made a new one, myself. Maybe you'll join me.
I see it here daily, so-called "patriots" undermining the president, making false claims, lying outright and spouting ignorance and hate. It's ironic how anti-American so many people here who sport the stars and stripes prove themselves to be with every hateful word they say, every lie they repeat, every insult they hurl either at those of on the so-called "left" or at their commander-in-chief. Lately, they've taken their revisionist historianism to a new plateau. They're claiming that the war in Afghanistan is Obama's war, acting if he started it, and as if it hasn't been going on for eight years now. In fact, they claim that he's "losing" this war, some going as far as to claim that he's doing it on purpose. Some are even calling it the "New Vietnam".
I'm no soldier, I'm no military strategist, I'm no war historian. But what I know is this: spending time criticising the commander-in-chief here on SodaHead endlessly won't have any positive effect whatsoever, no matter how much of a patriot you claim to be nor how may US Flags you manage to place on your profile, your avatar, your poll questions or your blogs. None whatsoever.
So I ask myself, as a Liberal, someone who is not pro-war, someone who does not believe that I can end or win the war by complaining endlessly about it here on SodaHead, someone who has respect for my commander-in-chief and faith in our armed services:
what positive thing can I do about the war?
Back to promises, I'll make one. I promise to expend more positive effort than negative effort with relation to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a disconnected civilian, there is only one thing that I can do, and I'm going to do it. I'm going to support our troops, not by engaging in useless battles of words with so-called patriots here, not by wasting my words on the witless, not by continuing to be caught in the cycle of hate and ignorance that many here seem to mistake for "supporting their country". I make no claims to be any more of a "True American" than anyone else. I make no claims to be more supportive of this country than anyone else. I make no claims that I am fighting against tyranny here at home by using my words against others here.
It seems as if many people here think that saying these things has some useful purpose, when in truth, it may be doing nothing more than keeping the riffraff off the street, out of the local bar and out of their spouses faces. I truly feel sorry for the husbands and wives of many of the people who I see here engaged in endless, mindless, hateful vitriol, those who don't have a positive thing to say, those who have nothing to share but lies and ignorance.
Fox News isn't going to tell you anything about supporting the troops, they are too busy working to divide us as a country, too busy trying to frighten us into hateful factions, too busy making profit off the misery of others. Fox News has nothing positive to share with their audience. So let me tell you what neither Hannity nor Beck have used their platform to share with the rest of us:
There is a way to support the troops.
Many of us here are quite capable of writing effective and interesting things, but far too many of us are wasting our efforts here on one another. Words are quite powerful tools, but like any other tool, they must be used at the right time and in the right place to be effective. I don't believe that SodaHead is that place, but I do believe that NOW is the time.
Use your words. Share them with our soldiers. Get off of SodaHead NOW and write a letter to a soldier. If you are blocked, don't feel special, you're one of hundreds. But that makes no difference - I don't want to hear what you have to say. I'd rather you say something to a soldier.
Get a pad out. Get a pen out. Get off of your computer, have a seat, and WRITE A LETTER TO A SOLDIER.
Again: get off the computer. Don't type a letter up, don't write an email.
Use a pen and a piece of paper. Send a soldier a REAL LETTER.
If there are soldiers in your life who are stationed in Iraq or Afghanistan, your starting point is obvious. Otherwise, go to AnySoldier or My Soldier and follow the directions there for selecting soldiers, sending letters or sending care packages. Check out Soldier's Angels as well.
When you write your soldier, whether you select a specific soldier or use one of the above services to put you in contact with one, remember that these young men and women are bored, tired, frightened, angry, frustrated and possiby unable to reply or unsure/embarrassed about their own writing skills.
This means two things:
First, write upbeat letters. These letters should be a pleasant distraction from their duties on the field of battle. Tell them about your child's birthday party, tell them about your fun camping trip, tell them about the crossbow that you finally got a chance to go hunting with last weekend. Do not complain about your life, your spouse, your job, your boss, or your commander-in-chief. Do not complain on behalf of your soldier Send pictures of yourself, your children, your husband or wife, your family, your '68 Mustang, your dog/cat or your horse.
Second, do not assume that you will get a reply. These young men and women, in addition to being in peril and often being too busy, may not know what to say to you, nor how exactly to relate to the deep level of caring that you are showing by writing to them. They may not be confident about their writing skills, they may be wounded and unable to reply. Regardless, keep writing. Start by introducing yourself, tell them about your family, tell them about your plans. Let them know that you would love to get a response, but do not pressure them or make them feel obligated to respond. If you establish a relationship with a soldier who is in harm's way, even if it is one-way, understand that it is appreciated.
There are a few things to know about writing to soldiers: The first is to use US mail, as if you are mailing a letter to someone in the United States. The letter will end up at a military mail center and the military will handle it. Also, never put your soldier's rank in the address on the envelope. Finally, never share your soldier's address with anyone without specific permission from the soldier.
Send a few blank sheets of paper as well - you might get a response where you otherwise would not.
I promise to spend more of my time and words on soldiers than my designated enemies here on SodaHead.
Will you join me?
----- READER AMENDMENTS -----
A few users have passed on some very useful information, so this section of the blog contains their words and suggestions. I'll keep adding links to it as they are shared with me. I've taken the liberty of making very small edits and embedding the links to the suggested sites into their quotes.
Feel free to email me with any additional sites that may be useful.
- BlueStar Bell says: "And, please don't forget the many families that are enduring additional hardships due to the prolonged absence of a parent or spouse. Blue Star Families is a great website where you can find out more about how to support them in their quiet sacrifice. They have a special program where you can express your thanks to a military family, too."
- paleale says: "Calling cards are best. The aafes.com military exchange site lists the ones that will work in theatre."
- sugarbuzz says: "I also received a mailing from a project for providing Thanksgiving meals for our severely wounded troops and their families. Contributions can be sent to this address:"
Maj.General John K. Singlaub (U.S.Army, ret.)
Coalition to Salute America's Heroes
P.O. Box 96440
Washington, DC 20090-6440
- frengirl says: "Anyone who is interested can go to 2 sites that will give them info. PackagesForTroops.com or forgottensoldiers.org. You can then enter your state and see where drop off sites are in your area.
- sue says: Also, the USO does great work. They don't only bring entertainment, they also help the troops keep in touch with their families, give them things to occupy their time, and work in some kind of social time. A soldier's time is often boring, only they a huge pressure on them that something could happen any minute. There are a lot of ways to support their work.
While I was looking, discovered that TreatsForTroops.com, sadly, has been forced to shut down operations due to the recession. They are looking for a potential buyer...
----- FINAL WORD -----
Yes, I am permanently blocking right-wing people who swarm this poll.
You don't have to wonder.
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