I am regularly struck by the discontinuity between a nation which brags about its ongoing quest for peace and our worship of the acts of war. Based on which gets more public attention, I would have to conclude that what notice peace gets is trivial in comparison to war. We play war, we are entertained and amused by war, and we love war - as long as we don't have to be the ones fighting it. We try to leave that role for others to play. We as a nation are always actively promoting war over talking about peace. This weekend, Memorial Day, is a notable example of the discontinuity.
Memorial Day began as a Southern remembrance of those who died defending the right to generate immense wealth through involuntary non-wage labor. As the defeated party, the South couldn't be allowed to bestow honor upon the vanquished while the victors were treated to scorn and disdain! In response, the North adopted the practice of honoring the fallen, in part to attenuate the anger of impoverished no-wage Northern veterans over the lack of a service bonus. "Look how much we care about you - now go away empty-handed!"
It isn't much different today. Despite the bold assertion of Gen. John J. Pershing, while serving as first chairman of the American Battle Monuments Commission, that "Time will not dim the glory of their deeds", one has to wonder just how much glory the public is willing to bestow upon the casualties of war when the cemeteries are full. At a time of economic collapse, are you willing to reduce the support of the living to purchase more space the bury the bodies? Why should you be? You aren't too keen on supporting the wounded veterans who can't live without assistance! Neither do you care, in the comfort of your living room while watching Dancing With the Stars, that 1 in 4 homeless people are military veterans. Who cares about the dead?
Considering how much public money has been spent honoring the over 1.3 million American war casualties with battlefield parks and marble monuments, one would think that most Americans would be reaching for their wallets every time someone waves a flag in their faces and then passes the service hat. But maybe there is a reason why this isn't happening. Despite the ongoing news that our active-duty personnel in the field have yet to be adequately supplied and trained to conduct operations, billions of dollars are continually wasted on pugilistic pork intended only to keep the already wealthy corporations richer than Croesus. It's good for the national defense!