By Marc Munroe-Dion
As a backdrop to this column, remember that as of 2018, about 7% of Americans were military veterans, and that percentage includes a good number of those who were unwilling and were shipped off to Vietnam like steaks. beef.
As much as we say we “support our troops,” as many memorials to dead soldiers as we build, as many times as we post on Facebook that “freedom is not free,” there is one thing we don’t do.
We did not join the armed forces.
We get a “high and tight” military haircut. We bought an AR-15 that looks like the guns real soldiers carry. We go to the shooting range and shoot at paper targets. When we’re on the shooting range, one guy is the “range officer.” We wear a t-shirt that says, “Everyone Gave Some. Some Gave Everything.”
We did not join the armed forces.
We talk a good game, it’s what we do.
We say, many of us, that we are itching for a civil war, that we are ready to fight and overthrow a repressive government, that no nation will ever invade the United States because if they did, there would be an armed patriot. behind every blade of grass.
I have wondered in recent months why Americans have not been stronger in our support of Ukraine.
After all, aren’t the Ukrainians doing the most American things? Aren’t they fighting for democracy? Aren’t they citizen soldiers? Aren’t they the kind of gun-toting patriots who used their squirrel-hunting skills to take down redcoats like skittles?
If it wasn’t for President Joe Biden, we would have let the Ukrainian military gurgle and choke on its own blood.
The Ukrainians embarrass us, or at least embarrass many of those Americans who practice their quick draw in front of the mirror when their wife is in the grocery store, the guys who wear the T-shirts that identify them as proud gun owners.
I didn’t serve in the army, but I’m not saying I did or that I “almost joined the army,” and I’m not talking about the hero I’ll be if there’s a civil war in America. I don’t wear camo to Home Depot, and I don’t wear the kind of boots you wear if you’re about to jump out of a plane over enemy territory.
But, if he did those things, he would be tremendously embarrassed by the Ukrainians, who are up against the wall and fighting like lions. I’d be so embarrassed I’d have to grab a beer and play Call of Duty until I felt like a hero again.
We brag and grumble about how tough we are, but we don’t join the army. Instead we bought another gun and another bragging bumper sticker and another video game.
And we “knew” that the Ukrainians would be flogged in a couple of weeks, because their gun laws were stricter than ours, and besides, they are Europeans. We knew they couldn’t fight like the Americans.
Somewhere in the back of the mind, where reality hides behind fantasy, Ukrainians are who we say we are and who we may not be at all. We’d rather walk away than look at them, risking and losing their lives, losing their legs, their dreams, their husbands, wives, brothers and sisters.
America hasn’t won a war since 1945. Since then, we’ve specialized in losing wars against brown people who’ve never been to a shooting range, against five-foot-six-inch farmers shooting the first gun they got. I have ever had.
Stare at the Ukrainians. They are what we were when we bragged less and fought more, and the combination of the two made the Brits go home.
Marc Munroe Dion’s latest book, a collection of his best columns, is titled “Devil’s Elbow: Dancing in the Ashes of America.” It’s available in paperback on Amazon.com and for Nook, Kindle, and iBooks.