Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Post 2400 - Political Faux Pas Military Update

I went to a training on understanding military culture today, and the chief presenter made a point dear to my heart. Behavioral Health professionals (that's uh, me, I guess - the names keep changing) should not be among those saying "Support our troops, bring them home," or "I support the troops but not the president" to returning servicepeople. It brands you as someone who just doesn't understand military culture. Less often, going too far in the opposite direction can be a problem as well - anything that injects politics into the situation should be avoided. I wanted to say "and that includes the bumperstickers in your damn parking lot of your agency," but refrained, though I talked about that with the presenters later. They concurred, one emphatically. None of them minded seeing candidate stickers. I suppose everyone can see that there might be many reasons to vote for someone.

In addition to the many people who expressed sympathy when I announced I had a boy going into the USMC, as if he'd gone bad somehow, many folks where I work have also thought they were being nice to me, understanding, when they said "I just wish the war were over." Some were less nice than that, actually.

I'm thinking that when we get training on cultural competencies and diversity, I should start bringing up understanding military culture.


lelia said...

When a son joined the USAF, so many in church came up to me and asked if I was scared. Not a bit of it. I was proud. And I knew the stats that among his age peers, the death rate among service members is not all that much higher than the civilians left at home. All the dangerous stuff he was doing is now being monitored and I'm actually less afraid for him now.
Oh, and he will be going to Iraq for a few months and possibly then to Afghanistan as a consultant. I hope he remembers to bring back some souvenirs for me.

Gringo said...

Lib attitudes towards the military are but another example of how the libs, who see themselves as able to see both sides and appreciate other cultures et al et al, are often rather parochial. There is a big gap between how libs see themselves and how post liberals, at least, see them.

Tigerhawk blog has a relevant article,Peace Teachers, which is about high school teachers on the Cape who protested during a school assembly dedicated solely to honoring six seniors who had chosen to enlist in the military.

The actions of two teachers at the Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, have come under considerable criticism. There are likely first amendment issues here protecting the speech of the teachers, and perhaps helping to insulate them somewhat from possible disciplinary action (along with their union), but I would guess that there will be some people who are sympathetic to their anti-war position who would nonetheless question the appropriateness of holding up signs at an assembly recognizing graduating seniors who are entering military service……..The best part of this story is the huge applause and standing ovation the honored students received from their classmates, as is clear in the video.

Tom Lehrer’s Folk Song Army is a good presentation of the need to see ourselves as other see us. Libs protesting the military or who view with pity those who enlist in the military should make an effort to see the other side: the military and those who appreciate our military. Perhaps libs do not because they have a gut understanding that the other side regards them as self-righteous ignorant twits.(As a former Conscientious Objector, I believe I have an understanding of how peaceniks think.)

(Why is it that I find every opportunity possible to bring up his songs?)

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Gringo -"Why is it that I find every opportunity possible to bring up his songs?"

Because the foolishness of the world hasn't changed much in 50 years?

Dubbahdee said...

I assume you attended the session at Monadnock Covenant. This is similar in nature to the sessions I am setting up aimed at Military Culture for Faith Communities. Target audience is church leaders rather than Mental Health professionals, as we are seeking to initiate a network of churches and believers providing practical support for the families of deployed soldiers.
The draft of the website for this initiative is available at www.supportnhguardfamilies.com. It is still very much a work in progress.
I would be very interested to hear more detailed feedback on the sessions.

Donna B. said...

Dubbahdee - that sounds like a very good mission. I hope it is successful.

Are you working with the Guard FRG programs?

Dubbahdee said...

Donna B, yes. I am working under the supervision of a local church, in direct cooperation with the Chaplain's office. The general goal is to connect churches and volunteers to the Family Program. More specifically, our goal for the year is to create a network of volunteers to provide regular child care for the Family Resource Group meetings so the adults are free to attend without worry.