|Fenway patriots holding up the monstrous flag over the Green Monster in left|
The religious reverie—repeated in sports arenas throughout the United States—is used to justify our bloated war budget and endless wars. Schools and libraries are closing. Unemployment and underemployment are chronic. Our infrastructure is broken and decrepit. And we will have paid a crippling $4 trillion for the useless and futile wars we waged over the last 13 years in the Middle East. But the military remains as unassailable as Jesus, or, among those who have season tickets at Fenway Park, the Red Sox. The military is the repository of our honor and patriotism. No public official dares criticize the armed forces or challenge their divine right to more than half of all the nation’s discretionary spending. And although we may be distrustful of government, the military—in the twisted logic of the American mind—is somehow separate.Precisely. I was talking not long ago to a woman who is progressive in every other aspect of things that I've had occasion to discuss with her, except for the military. She could advance no good reason for not wanting to halve the defense budget. Indeed, she was just vague. There are a lot of bad people in the world, she says. As if that's a reason for bleeding our very sustenance into the military machine that is as rapcious as it is monstrous.
It's an unholy marriage, this coupling of American sports with the manic embrace of all things military. I've thought for a long time that bodes badly for our future. A people mindlessly embracing everything "patriotic" are ripe for exploitation by the most reactionary forces in our society.