Pens, Paper, Postage, and Patriotism

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?



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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Top Opinion

  • chorn 2009/10/09 16:09:04 (edited)
    Our President has stated that he's not just the President of the people who supported him and wants to get inputs from people on either side of any and all issues. What you are proposing would be to silent any opposing view. That is not what made this country great. This a great format for views to be presented. You will not agree with all of them, but they are non the less important. I think one thing we can all agree on is that our troops are doing a tremendous job in very difficult situations. My fear is that delaying support to our soldiers will make the war last longer and cost more lives, a lesson we should have learned from Vietnam and Iraq.
    The second part of your proposal of writing to them is excellent. There is no need from anyone to express any political views in those, because they are not the people who make policy. One bright spot we have now is that our returning soldiers are being treated as hero's unlike the Veitnam vets.

    And yet I'm blockd by Legion.

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  • masaca 2009/11/06 09:52:43
    Hey Legion.......I have xhanged my mind......I am on board.........

    I was wrong........Snaps just posted somehing that helped to open my eyes to the trauma that these folks are suffering.

    I was wrong.
  • The Wife 2009/11/04 03:03:28
    The Wife
    Legion, this is an excellent blog!! Thank you very much for posting this inspiring information and for the useful links. I have sent notes and items to people in the military before, but not often enough. Thanks to your bright words, I will do better.

  • Legion™ The Wife 2009/11/04 03:07:28
    Thank you so much! I'm glad that you read it.

    glad read
  • gopher3580 2009/10/28 00:34:38
    Legion, I just couldn't stop reading all of this. You are so great to write this post and it breaks my heart at the few morons that came into this wonderful blog spewing hate. I am so proud to have you as a friend and to you sir: post breaks heart morons blog spewing hate proud friend sir

    Thanks Legion, we all owe you our gratitude and thanks!
  • Legion™ gopher3580 2009/10/28 00:51:32
    Thanks so much for reading and raving. I feel like I shouldn't get any special credit though, since the real credit belongs to our troops, and I sincerely, sincerely wish that I didn't have any reason to write this in the first place. I wish that it had just been another annoying "Why does the right...?" post, and that we had no war to worry about at all.

    I also wish that I could have had the idea without it being the result of being annoyed and frustrated, and I sometimes think that I should chop the first half of it off, but I sort of like the way that it unfolds in a very unexpected direction and turns into something different than what it seems like at first blush.

    As far as the morons go, overall, I got such a show of love and respect here, and some meaningful words from some of those who have served that even they couldn't spoil my high.

    And you are far too kind, LOL, but thank you.
  • Robby 2009/10/27 23:27:15
    Our Lady of Lourdes??? Is this girl from Philly?
  • Legion™ Robby 2009/10/27 23:35:31
    Oh, wow, I don't know - that letter is nearly 50 years old. I just pulled it up using Google because it's a lot more powerful than the stars and stripes or a pic of some soldiers.
  • Robby Legion™ 2009/10/27 23:54:32
    You're right. I just asked because a lot of my friends from h.s. went to Our Lady of Lourdes in grade school, while I went to Our Lady of Victory.
  • Legion™ Robby 2009/10/27 23:57:41
    Ahh, I see. This poll is probably the best long-form thing that I have written here on SH. I'm kind of happy with it, but it seems like it was a lot for some people to take in.
  • Robby Legion™ 2009/10/28 02:24:53
    Well, kudos 2 u! {{{{^_^}}}}
  • sue 2009/10/24 05:12:35
    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. Their web site is USO.org.
  • Rusty Shackelford 2009/10/23 17:02:55
    Rusty Shackelford
    This is a touching notion. Kudos.
  • Legion™ Rusty S... 2009/10/23 17:05:52
    Thanks so much for reading it, you can tell when I started writing it that I had one thing on my mind and then I thought about what I was really saying and ended up doing a moment of research to make it into something really useful instead of a rant with a half-assed suggestion tacked on.
  • belle 2009/10/14 13:54:43 (edited)
    Americans helping the troops that represent them is always a great thing to do. They need to know all Americans are backing them. There probably are many feeling like Obama is not supporting them as he should and they would be right. So hopefully they will realize this is not the same of all the Americans that make up the United States of America. One man does not speak for all, thank goodness.

    edited to reply to legion, since legion blocked me with my first reply on one of his poll. legion really has a problem to block some one for stating their opinion. I have not debated this SH before to my knowledge. So because I do not support Obama I got blocked. I do support our troops as all American should do as well. But legion you really are so far off the makr with your thinking yoy need some type of help, no wonder no one trust Obama and the democrats. [...]and so you blocked me not a big deal since I was blocked by someone like you.
  • Legion™ belle 2009/10/14 14:01:23
    No, they were being abusive assholes before Afghanistan became their focus. They don't really care about the war, it's just what they've been told to be upset about recently. There was no mention of the war for months on this site, they were too busy screaming about socialism and reverend wright and ayers and the stimulus bill and all that.

    Watch Fox News - note the heuristics between what Fox says and what these people do. It's a tight feedback loop.

    ...you know, otherwise we wouldn't be 9 months into a new administration with a liberal being the first person to mention having a letter-writing campaign to the troops, they'd have beat me to the punch ages ago.
  • Legion™ Legion™ 2009/10/14 23:37:06
    Legion, she thinks that you blocked her for stating her opinion and disagreeing with you.
  • Legion™ Legion™ 2009/10/14 23:38:59 (edited)
    That's silly Legion, I blocked her because she's part of an up-rave swarm.

    And she's permanently blocked.

    Like I said I would do in last two lines of the blog.
  • Legion™ 2009/10/14 13:31:44 (edited)
    It's interesting, ironic and sad that these people prove my point. I put up a poll about not wasting energy battling them uselessly and they rave a comment into the top position that amounts to whining about having their viewpoint "silenced" as a result of people finding something better to do than to continue to suffer their abuse endlessly.

    True patriots, huh?
  • Marlow ~ Let There Be Light 2009/10/13 13:51:42
    Marlow ~ Let There Be Light
    You mean all the lies that Obama has told to try to get healthcare reform passed? It seems to me the real liar is in the White house.

    lies obama told healthcare reform passed real liar white house
  • Legion™ Marlow ... 2009/10/13 13:59:34 (edited)
    What could this possibly have to do with writing letters to the troops, Marlowe?
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New York, NY, US

2009/09/03 00:38:04

Never send a monster to do the work of an evil scientist.

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