11/11/2016 by syrbal-labrys
We are a house of veterans. My husband served in Viet Nam. I and my husband served as Army Security Agency Cold Warriors. My eldest son was in the Air Force during the first Gulf War and the Army in George Bush’s Afghani/Iraqi Adventure. My youngest son served in Afghanistan. I am the lucky mother who got both sons back, although with various medical issues and PTSD.
Both of our families have had someone in military service in almost every war this nation has ever had. My father served in Korea and began the slow process of drinking himself to death shortly after. My father-in-law flew a B-17 in WWII, survived being shot down twice and being a POW, and died younger than normal later. My uncles flew bombers and kept their sons out of Viet Nam – somehow. And so it went, back through America’s time.
This holiday never inspires me much. Because there always seems to be another war on the horizon and because veterans seem undesired when they survive. Goodness knows, as Paul Ryan, lays plans to kill Medicare and Social Security so all past working age can starve and die of medical issues — it isn’t exactly a yellow ribboned testimonial of love, is it? I’m pretty sure a lot of America would prefer cheaply buried dead heroes to inconveniently live, damaged costly ones!
Who knows what wars Trump will spawn for fun and profit of himself and his buddies; I mean, we have another Cheney walking the governmental halls again. It felt damn near like a subtle sort of combat to finally leave the house yesterday to walk out into Trump’s America. I put on, not an old uniform, but my purple dress and we set out. It was hard to meet the eyes of strangers because my mind was spinning questions:
“Did YOU vote for that ass?”
“Did YOU vote for what is going to happen to the working class?”
“Did YOU vote to give a majority to the side that will see the old die of hunger?”
“Did YOU vote to enable racist, misogynistic, homophobic attitudes?”
“Did YOU vote to go on fucking the only planet we have to sustain us?”
“Did YOU vote at all? Or did you sulk and excuse yourself? If a woman in LABOR could stop to vote on her way to the delivery room? Don’t give me ANY excuses.”
I couldn’t walk into a store or fast food joint. We drove to the local mosque, a quiet little building with no sign out front like most houses of worship put up (even in classy neon!) to advertise their presence. Inside, we split at once to the male and (empty save me) female sections. I could hear my husband being greeted and low calm conversations. The older man who showed me to my seat, when I told him I was there because I was shamed by the election of a bully and afraid for the safety of their congregation? HE comforted me.
I told him I was there to offer my services – if their building was defaced or vandalized, I wanted them to call me to clean it up. I didn’t want any of the mosque members to have to scrub clean the walls, or pick garbage off the lawn — if “my” people were going to act this way, a white woman should be the one cleaning it up.
Mea bloody culpa, America? And yes, some feminist out there wants to tell me this is simply entitled behavior because I “can”. Well, hey, it has certainly been proved to me there is a fucking lot of I “can’ts” I was not one of the 53% of white women who voted for Trump; my husband was not one of the angry old white guys trying to preserve his privilege either. As the Republicans dismantle the safety nets that FDR created? Sooner or later, we will have almost no income at all and our medical choices will vanish with the Social Security check and Medicare. If they get around to taking away military retirement (because if you don’t see that on the Republican list of “NO!” you are not considering the possibilities,) we will struggle to keep even our completely paid for home.
But yes, America, wave that flag and offer me a free burrito somewhere. I’m sure my sons, both at work at minimum wage on this holiday allegedly dedicated to them, feel the love. I’m sure when I park in the “veterans” spot at the hardware store and get glared at by some fat white guy (who likely voted for Trump) as if I as a woman had no right to that spot, I feel the fucking love. I’m sure my husband, who got told by VFW sorts that “your war wasn’t any war at all” feels the fucking love, too.
I’m finished being polite. I’m finished being nice. (Women are taught to be nice so they won’t be treated even worse than usual.) But people, they are going to treat us ALL like shit now. They have a fucking “mandate” to bend us over and take us hard without removing boots or spurs. Some of us were taught to fight — and we need to recognize the “domestic” enemies and stop being polite and well-mannered. I’m looking for places and ways to “put up my dukes” this Veterans’ Day.
Yeah, don’t I sound bitter and ungrateful on this Veterans’ Day? Flag waving doesn’t pay the bills. Snotty older vets saying theirs was the only “real” war? Well, let me tell you — that “greatest generation” did do great things; then they came home and voted a solid Republican ticket that sent all us younger vets into harms way for profit of the war mongering draft dodgers of the late 20th century. So yeah, Happy Fucking Veterans’ Day. And don’t thank me for my service, I didn’t do it for you. I did it to feed myself, to clothe and house my children, and to stop the fucking Russians with whom our new President is oh-so-chummy. So yes, Happy fucking Veterans’ Day from a veteran feeling fucked over, pissed upon, and sick of it.
And the morning’s salt in the wound.