Sunday, March 18, 2007

Only in America

I went to my first Brooks & Dunn concert yesterday. I was possibly the only person in the house who didn't know who they were or why they were popular. But I was given a free ticket and my only other plans for a Saturday night were a hot date with PBS (support your local station and make a donation NOW!). So off I went to the concert and I enjoyed it, but I didn't love it. I didn't find myself bopping to the music and the lyrics didn't particularly grab me as anything that I could identify with or relate to. I chalked it up as another experience I'd never had before and could now say with certainty that I don't ever really need to go to another Brooks & Dunn concert.

During the last song, which was kind of catchy, I suddenly heard clapping and people were getting to their feet. I looked up on the viewscreen and saw four Marines marching to the stage. I got to my feet and started clapping as well. It was an emotional scene, even for this hard-hearted anti-war liberal. I watched as they climbed the stage and stood at attention, the musicians and singers dancing around behind them. The camera panned in on the Marines' faces. They were young men, probably not more than 22, clean-cut and handsome and whole. My eyes started to tear up.

I couldn't help but wonder if these men had been to Iraq or if they were scheduled to go. I knew they must know people who had been to Iraq and I wondered if they knew some of the soldiers from our area who died at an approximate rate of one or two a month. I was sure they must know someone who was wounded in Iraq. Do they think Iraq is worth it? I wondered what they thought of the lights, the applause, the ovation, the realization that we love them now, but don't take care of them when they come home. And I want nothing more for these four young men to stay clean-cut, handsome, and whole.

I wiped my eyes with the back of my hand, feeling a little silly for getting all teary eyed over the situation. As I was walking out of the concert hall, I reflected on the recent troubles experieneced by McCain and Obama for using the word 'wasted' to describe the lives of soldiers lost in Iraq. They didn't misspeak. Iraq is a morass for which there is no military situation and our army is essentially standing between two sides firing at each other and our soldiers. It's a three-front battle, one that never had a connection to 9/11 -- a war conjured up by men who had never been on the battlefield themselves and with a blatant ignorance of history. This stupid war has drained our finances, has cost our soldiers their lives, has killed umpteen number of civilians, has destabalized the region, and yet we're not allowed to use 'wasted'. Only in America can the truth be so blatantly ignored.

It made me incredibly sad. Brooks & Dunn put a face to the men and women fighting for our country. But seeing their faces, more than anything I just want to bring them home so they wouldn't be subjected to such a hopelessly inarticulate experiment as Iraq has become. Of course, I would never say that at Brooks & Dunn concert, because then I would just be unpatriotic and dismissing the contribution of our troops.

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