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Thursday Thought: What does “Support the Troops” really mean?

January 13, 2010

One of the friends of Left Face (who writes at In The Meantime) wrote the following and graciously allowed us to post it here- Thank, Jennifer, it’s a great question!

So, I’m wasting way too much time briefly checking Facebook this morning when I come across one of my (very sweet and well-meaning) friends who had this as her status:

It’s time to show the world that more of us support our troops then dont! If you support our troops then please post this on your status and leave it there for one hour!! And if you don’t stand behind our troops, then please feel free to stand in front of them!!!

A few things bugged me about this.
First of all, can we get some correct grammar in there please?
Secondly, as one of my friends pointed out, passive-aggressive much?

But my main problem with the post is this: what does posting this message as your Facebook status do to support the troops? Much like the virtual flashing that took place on Facebook last week, what is the purpose of this particular form of slacktivism? Why not post links to IAVA, Operation Gratitude, the USO or any number of organizations whose sole purpose is to support our military members and their families?

Is this what we’ve come to as a nation? We think that supporting our military men and women means slapping a yellow ribbon on our cars and updating our Facebook statuses with empty words instead of giving of our time and treasure?

Please share your thoughts in the comments on this type of “support” and “activism”. Is it good for raising awareness or just an easy way for people to feel like they’re doing good?

(To be fair, the woman who posted this is an AF wife. I know for a fact that she supports our military in many, tangible ways.)

(Also, I’m certain she copied and pasted that status. The typos were not hers.)

6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 14, 2010 1:30 am

    I have seen this on my FB. I guess it didn’t bother me all that much only because 90% of the people I saw posting it are military spouses who have been through 1 or 2 deployments. And they mean well. But if the general public thinks this is how to support the troops, then our country has a problem.

  2. LAW permalink
    January 14, 2010 6:12 am

    when it’s a milspouse, ok, especially those of us who have been through a deployment, two, three. As you say, Julie, our country has a problem if this is the best way to support the troops. When going through deployment two, an acquaintance just had to tell me how much he supported the troops. I asked HOW… he had a new magnet on the back of the SUV and had put up a new sign in his yard. I asked again, HOW that supported the troops, had he written to one, had he helped the family of a deployed soldier out? Confusion… didn’t I understand, he had a magnet! and a Sign! As Jennifer said, slackitivism.. Drive By Patriotism and Support.


  3. January 14, 2010 10:31 am

    Of course there is the opposite too. Don’t assume (and you didn’t) that people are “only” updating their FB status, for example. I live off base, in a non military area, and had a guy (who has absolutely no leg to stand on) got in my face about “Just wearing a red shirt on Friday doesn’t mean anything”. So I countered with a crash course in being a MilSpouse, and turned and walked away.

    I stongly dislike the “feel free to stand in front” statment. I don’t think most people in uniform would actually choose to shoot, or use as a shield, folks who excercise their right to freedom of expression, one of the rights they continue to defend. I find that part of the statement offensive.

  4. LopsidedMom permalink
    January 14, 2010 11:34 am

    Milspouse or not, insinuating that people stand in front of guns to prove their patriotism?! Completely uncool.

  5. January 14, 2010 12:10 pm

    I’m with Basinah and LM on this one. I have never in my life understood the whole “if you can’t stand behind the troops, stand in front of them” statement. What? You don’t support the military so therefore your life isn’t worth living and we should just take you down? Because that’s how it’s always come across from me.

    Don’t get me wrong. I think people should support the military, whether or not they agree with what the military does (which is how I feel. Not a fan of wars, but also know that it wasn’t my husbands CHOICE to go to Iraq twice. He was just following orders). But I also believe in free speech, and this statement to me says you can have your free speech, unless it goes against what we believe in. Then you can’t have it.

    • Soldier permalink
      February 15, 2010 10:41 am

      Technically, it was your husband’s choice, as it was mine by volunteering for service.

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