On this election day, on behalf of the American citizen, I would like to offer my sincere apologies to the American Soldier. Regardless of who wins the election, the silent suffering of our service-members is scheduled to continue.
I am sorry that a majority of us continue to vote for war. I’m sorry that we don’t even consider how you would feel to be sent overseas, to kill people (or be killed) for questionable reasons. I’m sorry that, after we send you to war, you’ll come home to mediocre healthcare and stagnant job opportunities.
I am sorry that we betray you with our actions. You think that you are overseas fighting for our way of life, and all the while we are here, paying more attention to our Facebook feed than the news accounts of you, losing your lives or friends. I am so sorry that you might come home with a debilitating form of PTSD, and struggle for the rest of your life to be understood. I am sorry that we are more interested in Beyonce’s struggles, than yours.
I apologize for not doing more to make people see and realize that you matter too. I’m sorry that so few comfy Americans factor your plight into their political decisions. I’m sorry for the future waves of impressionable young and poor people who will be fed to military-industrial complex. I’m sorry we pretended that standing during the national anthem was more important to you than healthcare, or opportunity, or peace.
We could have done better. We could have demanded that the candidates commit to ending war, but we didn’t try. We could have demanded that the candidates commit to fighting climate change, so your children could have a future. We could have finally tried to do something about perpetual war, but without the help of Trump, Obama, or Clinton, there weren’t enough of us with a backbone of our own.
I apologize to the future Soldiers; many of you will eventually be trapped by oppressive wealth inequality and forced to don the uniform of America’s sacrificial lambs. Some of you will be filled with talent that could be applied in other places, and we will tragically lose you on some plot of foreign soil…most likely, near some oil. I’m sorry we won’t try harder to reduce the dependency on fossil fuels; our (current or future) President has decided to side with the people who build the pipelines.
I’m sorry that “thanks for your service” is the most recognition you will get from so many. They’ll say it on Veteran’s Day because it’ll be a trending topic on Twitter. They’ll say it on Memorial Day also, because they can’t be bothered to understand the difference between the two. When you lose a brother or sister overseas, they’ll have little more than a sad-face emoji to offer. Anything beyond that makes us uncomfortable to even think about.
I don’t know if we’ll figure it out before it is too late. We have so many comforts to enjoy, and no true leaders to remind us of the cost. The cost that is measure in the lives of you and others around the world. We can’t wait for this election to be over, so that we can return to complacency and not feel bad about it.
I am most sorry for the fact that people will celebrate this day; because our culture has made it okay to forget about you.