My friends, I am a hateful American. I’ve got rage in my heart, even supplanting the usual lust. Last night I sat around with Lambchop and Midsentence and Mr. H, and we tried to sloganeer something in witty opposition to the slew of yellow ribbons floating around on cars around these parts. If by some miracle you haven’t seen one, they are all a variation on the wording “Support Our Troops,” and the most prevalent design features an elaborate script font that one must view from about two inches away to parse.
So what do these affronts to graphic design actually mean? We thought “I don’t want anyone else to suffer or die as part of the specious war on terror, and I hope the troops get home safely very soon, and I’d like everyone to take a moment and hope their tax dollars are being spent in the most judicious manner to ensure all this safety” would be too long for a bumper sticker. Of course what everyone really means is exactly what is depicted on the button above, from the delightfully wicked Whitehouse.org. My cause is holier than your cause.
It really is hard to know what to do with oneself when larger doings are afoot. There are no victory gardens or scrap drives, but you can send a random soldier a $79 gift basket of peppermint foot lotion via Treats for Troops. I can only imagine it would be well-appreciated, but somehow it borders on insulting. Here’s some Halloween candy, how is it in Hell? Have all the people with those magnets on their cars sent a soldier lip balm, sunscreen, or baby wipes? Phone cards or batteries? Are they contributing to funds to equip housing for newly disabled soldiers with wheelchair ramps? Perhaps babysitting so an overwhelmed military spouse dealing with a deployment of a partner can go grocery shopping? Did they do anything besides slap that sucker on the car and feel better for 5 whole minutes? Maybe they donated a Gmail address.
I wish I had the answers. I think I know one thing most of us can do on November 2, but that won’t suddenly introduce logical thinking to the country as a whole, no matter who wins.
This morning at the grocery store, I was behind a man with a Bush button on his collar. The bagger in this line clearly has Down Syndrome, and he is always very efficient and pleasant despite the wave of people who pretend he doesn’t exist every day. He noticed the man’s button, and said “Oh, so you’re for the president then.” The man smiled and said he was, and left, saying “Support those troops!” The bagger muttered under his breath “I’m for Kerry!” I said “Hey, me too,” and he beamed and asked if I planned to watch the debate tonight. I said I did even though I had made up my mind already, and he said “It’s good to know what’s going on in the world.”
No shit. Then he told me store brand ice cream is actually made by Breyers. Also good to know!