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The Missionary Equivalent of Military Service

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In a recent appearance on the popular Television program The View, host Whoopie Goldberg questioned Ann Romney regarding her "qualifications,"   should she become First Lady, for consoling the bereaved family members of the fallen given that her husband never served in the military but, rather, spent the Vietnam War as a Mormon Missionary in France. In response, Mrs. Romney equated Mormon missionary work to military service. Though I would imagine there to be some risk in proselytizing about one's beliefs, I doubt that many Mormon missionaries have been killed, or injured, or suffer from PTSD, are homeless, drug and alcohol addicted, or have committed suicide as a result of their missionary "service." While Mrs. Romney's response was less than credible, I must point out that President Obama has not served in the military, nor has George W. Bush (desertion is not service), or Ronald Reagan (making propaganda movies is not service). Nor has (or will) any of their children. But yet, this fact did not hinder them from sending thousands of other Americans, and the children of other Americans, to kill and be killed in unnecessary wars. So whose "crime" is worse? Obama's, Bush's, and Reagan's who have the blood of thousands on their hands (if not on their consciences) or Romney who fled to Paris to avoid fighting in Vietnam?

 

What Ms. Goldberg failed to realize, given the gist of her question, is that the "problem" Ann Romney would face were she to become First Lady in regard to the parents and loved ones of slain American service men and women (interestingly, no First Lady or any other American politician for that matter feels the need to comfort the parents and loved ones of slain Afghans), is no different from the problem faced by Michelle Obama, or Laura Bush, or Nancy Reagan and it has nothing to do with whether their husbands served or avoided military service. Rather, it is the problem of attempting to console the inconsolable; the problem of looking into the faces of devastated men, women, and children and of fabricating a justification for what she knows, or should know, to be policy of imperialism, militarism, and war that entailed the criminal slaughter of their children, husbands, wives, and parents. It is the problem of ignoring her husbands' culpability in these needless deaths; and the problem of feigning sincere concern and empathy while spouting meaningless rhetoric about freedom, national defense, and gratitude for their sacrifice. Such pretense, in my view, requires a profound callousness and insensitivity to the pain and suffering of other human beings. So perhaps Ms. Goldberg need not worry should Mitt Romney become President as, judging from what I've seen of Ann Romney, I believe she possesses the ability to play the role and accomplish this task as successfully and as convincingly as have Michelle, Laura, and Nancy.

 

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http://www.camillobica.com

Camillo "Mac" Bica, Ph.D., is a professor of philosophy at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, a long-time activist for peace and justice, a member of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and the coordinator of the Long Island Chapter of Veterans for Peace. His books include "Beyond PTSD: The Moral (more...)
 

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