With respect for Pat Tillman
I had heard the news earlier today, and I had some thoughts on the subject, but it wasn't until I read Guy Montag's post over at NGD: Blogdom's Triple Threat
that I realized something troubled me about the overall coverage. This is by no means restricted to Guy Montag's comments, however, they seem to capture the overall media mood and possibly the country's reaction:
"This man is the textbook definition of patriot. Here's what he gave up:
Tillman, an unrestricted free agent, traded a $3.6 million, three-year contract with the Cardinals for approximately $18,000 a year in the military. The 5-foot-11, 200-pound Tillman was an exceptional student with a 3.84 grade point average through college and graduated summa cum laude with a degree in marketing.
Here's a guy who could have had everything that America has to offer: Money, fame, adulation. Looking at his picture, he could have had 10X his salary in endorsements (and could most likely have dated a supermodel).
But he traded that in to serve his country. I stand humbled and in awe of this man's dedication, purpose, and love of his country.
Rest in peace, Ranger Tillman."
Well, I aint humbled and I aint in awe. But I will take nothing away from his valor. If every American would do what he did i.e., enlist and help fight the war, the war could be won.
Yet, it truly saddens me, that among my fellow citizens and throughout our country so many espouse the their belief in our cause, yet so few are willing to answer the call. Many fly a flag, few are willing to take the risk of lying beneath one.
Most Americans have lost any sense of true patriotism. They may argue, they may write, they may rant but they seem to lack the courage of their convictions. And, I think it really becomes apparent in a situation like this.
Many people seem to think that somehow giving up $3 million dollars or whatever, somehow makes this more special than anyone else who's given up home and family. You know, if you are poor, it is expected. If your Baby Bush's daughters it would somehow be special. Well it should not be so. Our best, our smartest and even our wealthiest, should be joined in the common cause if this effort actually means anything.
We are truly a crass society when the amount of money someone earns, or potentially would earn, makes the difference in how we view the sacrifice and patriotism of our fellow countrymen (or women). Apparently fame and money are viewed as higher sacrifices than life, liberty, family and future. I think it just reinforces my belief that America may well be following the course of Rome. Only the poor, the stupid and the mercenaries fight our battles; citizens stay home and bitch about the price of gas, or that their favorite entertainment program was interrupted by news.
I think we've created a generation of selfish pussies. With apologies to all those women who are proudly serving where the limp dicks fear to follow. There, now I've pissed off everyone.
Anyway, I totally respect Pat Tillman. But I totally respect many of my friends who have taken the same risks for their country. No, they wouldn't have made $3 million playing in the NFL, and I'm not sure what the financial value of marrying a supermodel is, but it's truly sad when in America money and fame are the only metric that matters.
Or does the problem lie in the cause?