While freedom may not be free, you can't be free if you are dumb. But if you are dumb, you can cover your idiocy with some good ol' American propaganda. So for those who wish to avoid thinking about the war in Iraq and all its gory, I mean glory, there are products out there to fill the gaps in your head and make you feel super American.
Ahhh, nothing is more American than 7-11. Super Big Gulps. Crappy hot dogs. Overpriced batteries. Jessica Simpson CDs. And those nifty "Support our troops" ribbon magnets. Yes, you can show people you blindly support this moronic war by purchasing one (or more) of these ribbons and placing them on the backside of your automobile. These dashing car accessories cost, on average, $5 – although 7-11 offers them at a discounted $4. Many other companies have also jumped on this new American trend. Google
"patriotic car magnets" and soak up the soothing lather of red, white and blue idiocy. Two of the more notable Web sites are usamagnetsandmore.com and flagsoncars.com – so go get one and show your support. What's interesting is those that "donate" 10 percent of the proceeds to support troop-related activities and moral boosting enterprises sell them at $5, while places that sell them at $4 mention nothing about giving donations. Interesting. So, in reality, these ribbons don't support the troops. They support consumerism. Some guy had a great idea. He made these ribbons fashionable. So while people are dying in Iraq, this guy is adding to his retirement fund. Beautiful. God bless America. But while the consumerism of this magnet trend is troubling, the notion behind the magnets' use is more troubling. When I see these magnets, I don't think, "That person is a great American who loves his freedom." I think, "That person is equating the war in Iraq with the protection of our freedoms. Poor sap. I hope he has no loved ones fighting in that war."
Some of these flag-waving nimrods are so quick to blindly support this mess no matter what. They read the news. They know what is happening. They know that weapons of mass destruction weren't found. They see that the premise under which the soldiers are there proved not to be true. And yet, they claim to support our brave soldiers – even though their lives are being lost in vain. Do they really support that?
I wholeheartedly love the men and women who risk life and limb to protect our freedoms. But because I do, I think it is imperative we only put these soldiers in harm's way for the right reasons. Further, it is just as important to question the motives and scrutinize the results because those questions could save lives.
While many of those who have car ribbons may have family members in Iraq, and their motives behind buying them might be as pure as a mountain spring, many do not. Many use these ribbons to prove they are more American than the rest of us Bush-hating liberals.
These ribbons don't prove you love this country. More often than not, they show you would rather cover up the failures of this war with $4 worth of American propaganda.
Vince Adams is a graduate student studying English. His columns will normally run on Tuesdays.