sam's notes

notes on government, sports and popular culture

Friday, June 30, 2006

.....This N.Y. Times piece got me thinking about who this 'we' is......

I recently had an interesting discussion with my neighbor, who was discussing her 3-year-old son’s behavioral problems.

“And all this killing that’s going on, how they’re always talking on NPR about killing Zarqawi when you’re riding in the car. It’s not good for kids.”

“How about the kids who are not only hearing it on the radio but hearing their father in the front seat cheering that we finally got that bastard?” I asked.

She got the joke. But as I thought later about my reply, I realized that “we” didn’t do anything. “They,” being our soldiers in Iraq, took care of Zarqawi. “I” didn’t do anything.

Still later I was still bothered by one comment thread where a couple of bloggers were going at it over the war. On a couple of different occasions, the war opponent questioned the supporter on whether or not he had ever worn our country’s uniform. The supporter indeed said he had.

But that’s not the point. What bothered me is the implication that dissent can be unqualified but support can only legitimately come from veterans. But all citizens can choose to oppose or support our leader’s policies, right?

But the collective “we” extends to other matters of goody-goody public policy and social change. The biggest example, of course, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report. They’ve done their jobs and produced a fine product that will hopefully be studied by many interested scholars. But many insist that “we” will learn much from the report, that “we” will deal with the Klan-Nazi killings. But just as “I” didn’t help take care of Zarqawi, “I” don’t need to deal with something that happened 25 years ago.


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