The thank-the-soldier-not-the-poet chain email

Zell Miller resurrected the “THANK THE SOLDIER, NOT THE POET” spiel at the RNC. It had circulated more than a year ago as one of those sappy emails. I dug up the response I used back then.

Thank you for your lovely “The Soldier” poem. I have to disagree with your point a little. While it makes sense to be thankful to the soldiers who have served to protect our freedoms, their task is nothing to glorify.

For example, you can thank the 11 year old child laborer in Indonesia for making your running shoes, certainly you should. But do you want to glorify and justify the necessity of her role? Her daily ordeal is as involuntary as what we are requiring of our soldiers.

I don’t believe a soldier has rarely been anything more, throughout history, than the hapless uneducated joe who didn’t know enough to get out of the way.

Whatever has been accomplished through war is to the credit of leaders and politicians. Would you agree perhaps that when leaders and politicians have aspired to moral and humanitarian goals it would have been due to the influence their education? The extent of that education was no doubt courtesy of: the poet, the reporter, the campus organizer, and I could add, the minister.

Supporting our troops does not mean checking your brain at the door.

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Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
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