Monday, April 16, 2007

Empty Gesture Vista

[Scene: Kosmo Kramer in an AIDS walk during a Seinfeld episode]

WALKER #1: Hey, where's your ribbon?

KRAMER: Oh, I don't wear the ribbon.

WALKER #2: Oh, you don't wear the ribbon? Aren't you against AIDS?

KRAMER: Yeah, I'm against AIDS. I mean, I'm walking, aren't I? I just don't wear the ribbon.

WALKER #3: Who do you think you are?

WALKER #1: Put the ribbon on!

WALKER #2: Hey, Cedric! Bob! This guy won't wear a ribbon! [Cedric and Bob turn around and glare at Kramer.]

BOB: Who?! Who does not want to wear the ribbon?!
I believe it was WKRN's blogger Brittney Gilbert who once referred to those ubiquitous yellow-ribbon, I-support-the-troops car magnets as "Empty Gesture 2.0." That made perfect sense, because a car magnet is quite superficial, it requires no sacrifice (if any effort) and it functions merely to make the owner feel self-satisfied regardless of its uselessness for the troops caught in a civil war that our President failed to anticipate.

Now comes a memorializing resolution on tomorrow night's Metro Council agenda that asks Metro to place yellow ribbons on Public Square lamp posts to show support the troops. It is the Council's product upgrade of the self-serving car magnet: a weak attempt to slap ourselves on the back in a hollow civic piety devoid of any real civilian or councilmanic sacrifice to help the troops get the hell out of Iraq, sooner rather than later.

If they want to lay it on the line for the troops, then the Council should vote (recorded roll call) to ask the Bush Administration to take our troops out of the Shiite-Sunni shoot-'em-up, to provide proper medical care for our casualties and financial support for the families of fallen soldiers, and to commit to re-building our military for future challenges. At least they would be staking their reputations and political aspirations on moral imperatives that reach higher than the top of a lamp post.

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