Thursday, May 24, 2007

What a Difference a Pronoun Makes

If I may...

Every time someone like Bill Maher or Rosie O'Donnell says something that is seen as criticizing the troops, they are stunned to find out it was taken that way. And rightly so. Both of them -- like most of us -- support the troops wholeheartedly.

Let's assume that the pundits are not cynically and purposefully misinterpreting what they said in order to make it seem unpatriotic. After all, that would in and of itself be unpatriotic.

No, let's assume they're not scum.

I've identified the problem. It's the word "we."

When people on the left use that word in a discussion of the war, it refers to the U.S. in general, or the Bush administration in particular. "We" (or "our") is a way of taking responsibility for actions our country takes, even those the left disagreed with from the beginning and fought like hell to warn everyone not to take. Those of us on the left are kinda patriots in that way.

When people on the right hear the word "we" they think "the troops"... even though none of them are actually suffering the burden that the troops are. They are assuming the pride and glory of military service without actually
performing military service... or risking their lives.

I wouldn't use the word "we" to refer to the Yankees or the Bulls or the Cubs, so why would I use it for the U.S. Army?

Never in a million years would I use the word "we" to refer to the American military. I have not earned that. Neither has Bill O'Reilly or Sean Hannity.

No comments: