At what point does being respectful of those who volunteer to wear the uniform of our nation become a fetishization of the military are a whole? For me a clear warning sign is when we start to see products like the ones in this Washington Post article.
It seems that there is money to be made by selling all things military, from Tough and Tiny backpacks (holds your child’s treasures in military style, don’t ya know) to Devil Dog the official licensed sent of the USMC.
Let’s be clear, I have a lot of respect for those who serve or have served. My Dad and all his brothers were Army vets, two of my Uncles on the other side served in Vietnam (though it should be said they were both drafted) one being pretty severely wounded there.
For all of that second hand association with the military, I don’t see the need to have military branded products to declare my respect for them or pride in their service. That might be a little different if they were active members serving overseas right now, but it still would not extend to buying cologne to smell like a Marine.
Maybe I am just being a grump about this but I think it is a dangerous thing for a society to over hype pride in the military. There is nothing wrong with giving respect to those who serve but there is something troubling to me about treating that respect as a consumer marketing opportunity.
The issue is that marketing always goes the extra mile. To some wearing a branded product like a Coca Cola tee-shirt might be just a fashion statement. But it is also a not so subtle endorsement of the product itself. When we are talking about a choice of beverage, who cares? But a nation’s military is not a brand to be pushed.
The United States spends more on its military than any other nation in the world. In fact we spend more than the next ten biggest spending countries, combined. For all of that we have been able to resist militarization of our nation as a whole, but that has been changing for a while.
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