[GVCP] Jim Allen has started a dialog. Can you write a Letter to the Editor?

July 9, 2015

Dear GVCP Member, GVCP member Jim Allen¹s truly excellent Letter to the Editor appeared in the Livingston County News on Thursday, July 2nd. The link is below, as well as the text. I think this was the perfect time for Jim¹s letter to appear, because the July 4th holiday is celebrated not just as a day of independence, but as a day in which we equate independence with militarism. In addition, in Geneseo, we have the National Warplane Museum Airshow this weekend, which also glorifies war and the military. Even the Geneseo Summer Festival has linked with the Airshow, as you can see in the Summer Festival ad in the Livingston County News. As expected, some outraged citizens didn¹t think very highly of Jim¹s letter, and they sent in rebuttals. One is entitled ³Life of Freedom due to sacrifice of many,² and the other ³The soldiers have given us freedoms.² (These haven¹t been posted on the web yet, but they probably will go up Friday.) In any event, you can guess at the contents just by seeing the titles. I¹m sure that Jim didn¹t enjoy people throwing verbal rocks at him, but he and I agree that we could use these responses to continue the dialog. What we need now is for GVCP members to write Letters to the Editor of the LCN, applauding Jim¹s position and pointing out that most of our soldiers died not for wars fought to maintain American freedom, but in wars fought to maintain American oil supplies, and to add to the number of countries who are under the U.S. sphere of influence. Will you write a letter? The editor restricts the letter to 400 words, although ³we will sometimes print longer pieces as commentaries.² Letters can be mailed to the LCN (122 Main St. Geneseo NY 14454), brought there in person, or sent by e-mail to Editor Ben Beagle <Ben@LivingstonNews.com> Let¹s do this! Peace, Arnie Matlin for GVCP P.S. Early notice: next GVCP meeting is Sunday, July 26th, 1:00 PM lunch, 1:30 PM meeting, Omega Grill Route 20A, Geneseo; Annual Hiroshima/Nagasaki Commemoration Vigil is Wednesday, August 5th. Informal meeting at Tom Wahl¹s Restaurant, Routes 5&20 in Avon at 6:00 PM, candlelight vigil at Avon Traffic Circle, Routes 5&20, Avon at 7:30 PM. http://www.thelcn.com/voices/militarization-insidiously-pervades-our-culture /article_f8158416-2140-11e5-a913-ef18bc59f87a.html Militarization insidiously pervades our culture Posted: Friday, July 3, 2015 9:45 am By Jim Allen | 0 comments July 4th presents an opportunity to reflect on America. Have you noticed that our country is thoroughly militarized? Our language is one example. It¹s startling how many of our words have military origins. A few of these words are: blockbuster, blitz, Humvee, MRE, chow, wing-man, R & R, chain of command, IED, drill sergeant, collateral damage, and, unfortunately, traumatic brain injury. If language reflects thought, militarization influences Americans¹ thinking. Our monuments are also militarized. We have numerous roads and bridges named after soldiers. We have statues of soldiers and monuments to wars in almost every public square. But we have very few memorials for social workers, teachers or humanitarians. We have several national holidays memorializing wars, but Martin Luther King Day, which was bitterly opposed by many, and perhaps Labor Day, are the only social justice holidays. And, we rarely discuss King¹s vehement opposition to the Vietnam War. Who we honor reflects our values. I¹m not suggesting that soldiers do not deserve honors, but why do we ignore humanitarians and peacemakers? The military has soaked into our culture in other ways. Our schools are filled with military training programs and recruiters. Students¹ names and personal information are automatically sent to the military unless parents know to act to prevent this. Military recruitment ads saturate popular media. Militarization insidiously pervades our culture. Were you surprised to learn that the military secretly paid NFL teams to have ³military appreciation days?² What seemed like spontaneous displays of patriotism were cynical and deceptive manipulations. Remember how the military misled the country about former NFL player Pat Tillman¹s death in Afghanistan? You may recall that he left a lucrative NFL career to join the military after September 11. We weren¹t told the truth about his death by friendly fire until after his well-publicized funeral that the military exploited for full PR benefit. Tillman¹s brother accused the military of deceiving the public for its own benefit. Militarization is reflected in the most basic reflection of national values, our budget. Over 40 percent of Federal income tax dollars goes to the military. Is it any wonder that other countries see America as an aggressor? Citizens of Great Britain, our closest ally, recently gave the words they most associated with America. Only 13 percent choose ³force for good,² while a meager 2 percent chose ³peaceful.² However, 40 percent chose ³bullying² ‹ more than chose ³democratic² (31 percent). Is this the culture we want? Jim Allen Geneseo

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