Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Giant Shalom

Ever since the war in Afghanistan began, I've had to listen to somebody or other bellyache about the proliferation of "Support Our Troops" stickers. "Support our troops?" they ask in their smug little tones, "How exactly are you supporting our troops?" There was even a little essay on NPR about how annoying these stickers are. Ironically, the stickers are clearly designed to combat the demonizing of our troops that was practiced in the 1960s and 1970s by...well, typically by the same types of people who whine about "Support Our Troops"stickers now. It always amazes me that the statement is totally lost on them.

Well, I have my own pet sticker peeve. What on earth is the message of these idiotic "Visualize Peace" or "Peace" stickers? Seriously. What is my take away here? The owner of the rusted out Datsun is thinking about peace? So what? Hey, good for you. I think about peace a lot too. I'm a big fan. I have all of Peace's records, including the solo projects and the ill-advised foray into synth-pop.

Unfortunately, some people seem to be thinking of killing me, so I'm gonna have to stop thinking about peace for a few minutes and focus on self-preservation. But you enjoy that sticker, buddy.

By the way, Support Our Troops.

13 comments:

Tony Alva said...

"the stickers are clearly designed to combat the demonizing of our troops that was practiced in the 1960s and 1970s by...well, typically by the same types of people who whine about "Support Our Troops"stickers now."

You want to get really angry, read that B.G. Burkett book I recommended, "Stolen Valor".

Jackson said...

I think you can 'visualize peace' and 'support our troops' at the same time. I resent the implication(not by you)that anti-war means anti G.I Joe (or Jane). I grew up with him/her, he/she is my dad.

What happnened in the 60/70's was a sorry state of affairs. I blame the dirty hippies....and the really strong acid.

Chrispy said...

As always, I agree with Jackson, in that I think one can support the people putting their lives on the line and hope for a time when they don't have to put their lives on the line.

I think, Dave, this might actually be what you want as well. I bet you'd rather think about amps than self preservation (I still don't think much of yuor life is spent being really concerned about this, at least compared to a LOT of other people in the world... and in your own backyard).

I'm not sure the people who are questioning what these stickers mean are the same people who called soldiers "baby killers" in the 60's and 70's.

As always, though, it's easy to just break things down into black and white. There are two types of people, those who put "Support Our Troops" stickers on their cars and those who put "Peace" stickers on their cars. The former get it and the latter don't, and Dave is one of the former. The latter, of course, are idiotic.

Really, the world is a bit more complicated - and subtle - than that.

Tony Alva said...

Chris,

Are you checking in from the Far East?

stinkrock said...

I fit all three categories - I very much want peace, I support our troops, and I want you dead. What should my sticker say?

Dave Cavalier said...

Mike -

Microdot.

Dave

Dave Cavalier said...

Chrispy -

I didn't say they were the same people. Read again.

I also didn't say that people don't "get it." I was pointing out that many of the people who would put a "Peace" sticker on their car, thinking it is somehow meaningful, would turn around and criticize the people who put a "Support Our Troops" sticker because those people are not actually "doing" anything to support our troops. Saucse for the goose and all that.

I think the "Peace" stickers are kind of stupid. Of course, the vast majority of people want peace. Unfortunately, the world is not that simple. It's a little more subtle, as you say.

Anonymous said...

Stickers on cars are stupid - period.

"Support the Troops" stickers on cars that help maintain our dependence on foreign oil, and thus play a part in drawing us into conflicts that get troops killed, are twice as ridiculous.

Chrispy said...

Dave,

Based on your comment, combined with your original post, you've said exactly that...

'I was pointing out that many of the people who would put a "Peace" sticker on their car, thinking it is somehow meaningful, would turn around and criticize the people who put a "Support Our Troops" sticker because those people are not actually "doing" anything to support our troops.'

'Ironically, the stickers are clearly designed to combat the demonizing of our troops that was practiced in the 1960s and 1970s by...well, typically by the same types of people who whine about "Support Our Troops" stickers now.'

Am I connecting the dots incorrectly?

Anyhow, I think a simple message like 'Peace' carries a lot more meaning than 'Support Our Troops'. Not everyone wants peace, particularly those who profit from war... and there are a lot of 'em.


Tony,

I am, indeed, checking in from the Far East. I am actually in the future (13 hours ahead) so if you'd like to know what will happen on Friday morning, let me know.


Mike,

Let me know if you need those "Microdot" stickers printed. I know a few printers who can make it happen.

Dave Cavalier said...

Chrispy -

You attempted to paint my argument as an unsophisticated, "black and white" statement that some people are idiots and some are not and that the division line was which sticker you liked.

The point of my post was that many of the people who complain about the SOT stickers base their criticism on the idea that people with the Troops stickers aren't out cleaning bedpans at the VA. Some of them are likely the kinds of people who happen to sport "Peace" stickers on their cars. I thought it was interesting because I doubt that those people are out actually doing anything for Peace either. I don't count attending an A.N.S.W.E.R. march as doing something for peace.

And I disagree with you on the issue of "Peace" being a "meaningful" message. It's basically a platitude when it is on a bumper sticker. It's actually little more than cheap sentiment in that setting. I find it infantile that people think the problem is that we don't just all want peace.

I would also argue that given the way the 1960s and 1970s poisoned the atmosphere against veterans, the SOT sticker probably have a little more weight and meaning. It's a way of saying, "We will not do that to you again."

You see things through your prism and I see the through mine. I don't actually know any war profiteers who are psyched about war and are excited to destroy peace. If you see those bugbears, fine.

Anonymous said...

This country is in sad, sad shape if veterans are so sensitive as to be affected by the sentiments expressed on a bumper sticker.

I mean, I expect it from people on the right, who hold on to this bizarre victimization fetish, but aren't the troops supposed to be tougher than that?

Jackson said...

It's all about prisms, and that's why everybody should just put Floyd stickers on their cars.

I don't have a car, and therefore no sticker.

Chrispy said...

It's definitely all prisms, that's why it's interesting to talk about,

I was always led to believe that, given the right circumstances, war is good for an economy, especially if you're not being attacked (which we're not). This is a general statement, of course. But if there were less people who profited from war there would be less wars. Profit doens't necessarily equal money.

There MUST be people, and companies, that have big time monetary incentives to be at war, or (and possibly even better) to operate where there is a real or perceived threat but no actual fighting.

In our country, a single government contract can take out a big company, big like Boeing sized big.

Now, at a purely theoretical level (you can call this infantile), of course the problems would all be solved if everyone really wanted peace. It's not going to happen, because in the foreseeable future humans will fight over resources. Most animals do not have organized fights like we do (there are only a few, including some other primates). Fighting over resources is the TRUE basis of war, and there would have to be some serious evolution for it to go away. (Remember a resource can be a group of people who share your ideology, we're not just talking about land or nuts or oil.) Most animals compete locally for the resources they need, are selected for or against accordingly, and life goes on.

As a bumper sticker, I think it's more like a little Zen saying, in that you're bing asked to visualize peace or as Lennon says to "imagine" it like a mind exercise. Like no possesions, it's not in our makeup. You can, of course, raise your children to be less greedy or aggresive, which would absolutely reduce wars if it were widespread. But they'll never go away.

If you just want to remind our troops that it won't happen again I think the saying should be more like "Respect our Troops". "Support our Troops', to me, seems like something more - It seems too close to 'Support our War".

As always, Dave, I highly respect your opinions. I know you see more than black and white.

If we all had to clean bedpans at the local veterans' hospital, maybe we would fight harder not to go to war. Bedpans suck.