Lost a job lately? Hey, it could be worse. At least you're not losing a leg. Lost your home to foreclosure, getting evicted, and being forced to move? Stop the kvetching -- military families have to move all the time and live in horrible, overcrowded barracks! Military children are having to grow up fatherless and motherless, not necessarily because of the death of a parent, but because the wars and the deployments are forever.
Part of the appeal of Michelle Obama's propaganda campaign rests in parading the most heart-rending military families before the cameras and giving them a big famous Michelle hug and maybe a plaque. There was one recent event showcasing a military child battling cancer. Now, that would make a great made-for-TV movie and it would also make big bucks for the advertisers, the cable companies and -- maybe best of all -- inspire thousands more unemployed 20-somethings to join up and be all that they can be.
According to The White House, the First Lady will be sharing these stories with the writers and directors and producers, who presumably will also be donating big-time to her husband's re-election campaign during her foray into Tinseltown.
As I wrote in an earlier post, the Joining Forces initiative is largely funded by a neoliberal think tank called Center for a New American Security, with a staff composed of titans of the Military-Industrial Complex - including executives from Lockheed Martin, retired military brass and the most recent addition, Citigroup Chairman Richard D. Parsons, who also serves on the White House Council on Jobs and Competitiveness (this Administration's sole answer to our unemployment crisis). The inclusion of deposed Afghanistan War General Stanley McChrystal in the PR effort has sparked outrage, mainly due to his coverup of the friendly fire death of Pat Tillman.
Michelle Obama last month became the first-ever president's wife to speak to the graduating class of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, right before she and her husband departed for Europe. Parts of the speech I found kind of creepy, but maybe I've watched one too many History Channel documentaries of 1930s Germany and I am overreacting. You can read the transcript and see the video here. From her speech:
As I look around at the cadets in this room, it is very clear to me that you all reflect everything we hope to see in ourselves and our country – firmness of character and strength of heart, a strong body and a ferocious mind, a devotion to country and to family. (that patriotic firmness of body and ferociousness of mind in that brand spanking- new uniform is quite titillating).
For all of you, I know this has been a magnificent journey, a journey full of academic and athletic victories, a journey that has taken you across the country and around the world.
You’ve learned new skills and immersed yourself in new cultures, which will serve you well on today’s battlefields. (learn about new cultures the better to kill people on those global battlefields -- why else study how people live? Also helps with those Psy-Ops propaganda campaigns to win the hearts and minds of the countries you plunder!).
You’ve also created a Bionic Foot, an Exoskeleton, and other robotics and cyber defense projects that will help troops in the field. (for sheer awesomeness, check out the bionic foot. What an inspiration when a group of college students invents a prosthetic foot because they know the chances are very good they will lose at least one of their own feet. But as President George Bush told some amputees at Walter Reed one time, "we'll just get you some new legs." The Exoskeleton, also known as the "Hulc" sounds neat too. It's some kind of gizmo invented by Lockheed Martin that lets you become a virtual robot and carry upwards of 200 pounds for ten miles. Hollywood definitely can make a movie out of this concept. The Incredible Hulc. Terminator meets Rambo.)
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Michelle Obama urged us to elect her husband "because our souls are broken in this nation."and that "dreams and inspiration are everything." Now that the luster of that promise has worn off, and we are still one big collection of soul holes, her new shtick is uniting us all as a country through the double mantra of Family Values and Militarism. Here's an excerpt from a Parade magazine interview with Michelle and her JF partner, Second Lady Jill Biden this past April (designated Month of the Military Child) --
PARADE: If Americans rally around our military families, what do you think this new connectiveness could do for us as a country?Yes indeed, use the suffering military families to form a power movement to give the concept of Empire a much-needed boost in the minds and holey souls of the public, and instill in us a sense of that lost patriotism for The Homeland. That is just what we need to make us forget about the Second Great Depression. It worked in 1930s Europe, so why not in neofascist USA?
JILL BIDEN: It would create a lot of patriotism, you know, that feeling I had as a child. We just need to say to America, “Wake up. You need to support these families and we need to lift them up and really value them.”
MICHELLE OBAMA: And the truth is, I think that’s how most Americans feel.
Meanwhile.... while I am sure many military families are appreciative of the Joining Forces initiative, some are not. One group called Military Families Speak Out is demanding that Michelle Obama use her influence to end the wars entirely rather than simply call for more people to support the troops. According to their policy statement: "Mrs. Obama is telling Americans to volunteer to support military families, but what we really need is policy change.... The burdens affecting military families, veterans, and service members are the results of government policies and practices, and need to be addressed by those responsible, rather than placing the burden on schools, non-profits, churches and local communities who are struggling themselves with funding cuts and affects of the ongoing recession. Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Biden need to use their influence to change the policies that are hurting us."
|Elmo Say Me Want Troops Come Home!|