Chavisa Woods

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It's about fourteen feet tall, olive green, and squarer than square, man. Its white border is meant to remind one of a “Got Milk?” advertisement. But this two dimensional reminder of never forgotten untruths bears the absurd inscription, "JESUS," as if  perhaps this pop ad will: 1. lead to a purchase of this resurrected savior, this most loved zombie, this bearded jew-nick hippie ('no he wasn't'). 2. the purchase (?) of the distorted philosophy the under-read, overfed, undersexed, overshopped troglodytes have been toting as his own genuflections for the past fifty years. 


 I've been back in Southern Illinois for four days now- my first visit in exactly one year. And I must say, I've noticed a trend. I've been thinking what to call it. False advertising, perhaps? Senseless advertising? Abstract advertising?  It is a sort of advertising that hits at the core of very personal,  sometimes even private beliefs and experiences in the most aggressive fashion, but at the same time overtly says and sells NOTHING. Nothing except perhaps the ever-present, (maybe even effervescent) whiff of conservatism; but it is a new, neo-illogical conservatism in this ephemeral handbag.

JESUS! GOT GOD?  Don't take the Christ out of Christmas. What's the reason for the Season? Abortion is a Haunting Experience, Freedom Isn't Free! (well then, what is it?)and finally, my own personal bit of hell, Support Our Troops.

 The other stuff we "commie- lefty-liberals are allowed shuck off. But Support Our Troops has somehow gotten dipped in a hallucinogenic coating of bipartisanship. 

I was in a van with my grandfather this morning at the bank. He read aloud to himself the bumper stickers plastered on the bumper car in front of us- three in a row, "Support our Troops," he mumbled. I huffed audibly. "Well you believe in that at least, dontcha? " he asked. …    

"Hell no. Hell no."      

Believe in that-  what a strange way to ask it. He meant, of course, do I support the troops? No, I don't. But to go even further than that, I must say, I don't think I believe in that either. Yes, I don't believe that the act of supporting the troops, as they put it, exists. I believe it is a slogan. That's the beginning, but unfortunately not the end of it.

You know the theory that if something is repeated three times, the public generally believes or accepts it unconditionally, such as "Weapons of Mass destruction in IRAQ,” bladdy, bladdy bladdy. Or how bout, “Our veterans receive adequate health benefits." ( These republican politicians are actually putting into effect the exact opposite of the original creed. They are for the war, but against the soldiers.) And then of course there’s the saying about clichés, the words have been repeated so many times, they’ve lost all meaning. But they've really done something with Support our Troops. They've repeated it so many times in the weirdest of contexts that they have actually reversed its original use and meaning.                            

The mother of Support our Troops is actually a hippie- university –leftish slogan from the Vietnam era- We're Not Against the Soldiers, We're Against the War. Anyone remember that?
This slogan was used to push the mainstream image of the antiwar protester away for that of hippie-nick-radical-leftist, and back to a group that might get some mainstream recognition and respect- the conscientious patriot, the patriotic revolutionary. This was their way of saying, we are not merely bleeding heart stoned-out hippies who abhor the entire notion of the military industrial complex- we do not begrudge those salt of the earth, brain of a grain of sand boys from enjoying the rightful fulfillment of their patriotic duties to march in rank and file for nothing better than murder, calling it glorious, proving, as Einstein put it, that "they  have been given a large brain by mistake, as a spinal chord would fully suffice." No,” the protesters said, “That's not how we feel about it at all.” Good for them, man, alright. But why this war? Let's look at the practicalities, atrocities and legalities of this war, and demand our government to take a re-cap.          

Now that has been turned entirely on its head. We, the conscientious objectors, have said once again, from the beginning- this is a false war, an illegal war. (And I go further than that, saying it is not a war at all, but an act of terror/ occupation on the part of the U.S.A. How could it be viewed as anything else when the U.S. has struck first, after being told by it's own intelligence agencies that there were no weapons, and there were no weapons, and now we remain as an occupying force, bleeding the country of its oil and any semblance of order or independence?) Yes, we've said- look at this war. It is illegal under the Geneva conventions and began under false pretenses and continues as such. And the government has said, "Fine, but do you support the troops?"

And I don't know why, but the entire country has responded with a chattering guffaw and stammer worthy of that of a Looney-Toons character, "Www…wwww. ..well yes mister president, of coarse we's supports the troops. No One has EVER supported the troops more than I do, Mercy Me." 

Last night I was following yo
u around that empty house. I kept asking the simple question, "Where are you going?" Your hair was white. You were wearing a blue dress. You didn't respond, didn't here me. And I worried, as well that you might; That you might turn around, and I would see the once-beautiful, shining eyes of a girl gone camouflaged, green and brown, oil for tears, sand spilling from your teeth, blood filling your pockets.

A person I love very much joined the military recently, and it broke my heart and tested my convictions. I stand by, though. As much as I may love some I them, I DO NOT SUPPORT THE TROOPS. I said it. chew on it. The money received from the military is pure blood money, and the new wave of volunteer soldiers, willing henchman in the corporate U.S. war against, not terror, but any culture that refuses to vie with the ideology of the free-market.

Support Our Troops is a ridiculous creed usurped from the anti-Vietnam movement by the republican party, and has only the most abstract consequences, one of them being to absolve volunteers of moral responsibility.

If we had the guts to stop this schizophrenic behavior, condoning the military institution and its actions while exalting the very people who chose to make it possible, maybe something would actually change, ever. It is not just this one illegal war I am against, but every war (military action) the U.S. has carried out since WWII. And that speaks of a much larger systemic problem that goes far beyond the misguided choices of our current president. 

-Chavisa Woods


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