To me, wearing a poppy in 2011 is like thumbing my nose to a veteran, and here is why.
I like the whole “honoring the troops” stuff – no question. It needs said. I had three of my dad’s uncle’s serve in WW2, and the damage trickled down into the whole family, so it isn’t like I am scoffing.
What bugs me is, we are pretty much required to wear these plastic poppies, but we cannot grow even one real, live poppy in our backyard – even if that poppy’s sap was used to help a veteran who was injured in a war.
THINK about that. No, I mean really think about it. We can’t grow medicinal plants? Is this the “freedom” we are supposedly exporting to the rest of the world?
Yes, I know there are different species of poppy, and the Flander’s Field kind don’t produce any actual opium. But still, it is all about “symbolism”, right? I mean, it either is, or it isn’t, and since these little plastic flowers serve no direct function other than the symbolism they produce by their mere existence, then they are, indeed a symbol.
Okay – but right now, our troops are coming home in bags, and with pieces missing, and with their minds all damaged, because of things like roadside bombs, suicide bombers, and other violence that is largely financed by the illegal Afghani opium trade. That opium is only valuable because it is illegal in “The West”.
Some learned generals have said “Legalize their opium industry and the Afghan people get the money instead of the bad guys.” But if The West allowed that, Turkey and Australia would lose billions, because both those countries have vast legal opium-production industries for medical use around the world. They don’t want the Aghani opium industry legalized because then their own multi-billion dollar industries become multi-million-dollar industries.
Then there is the whole “eradication” thing that our forces engage in periodically, and all evidence shows that this policy makes the crops they don’t eradicate all the more lucrative.
So our troops are dying, and we are spending billions, pretending to stop opium and whatever else it was we went there for….. because of POPPIES. Poppies that are lucrative because they are illegal.
The whole thing is monstrous. I like irony, but even I won’t go that far.
If you want to honor the troops by wearing an archaic and outdated – and, by now, quite frankly, a sardonically ironic – symbol… fine. But I will honor the troops by pointing out the madness of the mess we stuck them in with our society’s hypocrisy.
And don’t give me this bunk about “tradition”. Just because I don’t participate in these old traditions, doesn’t mean my feelings about the troops are any less valid than anyone else’s. Lots of ridiculous and even terrible things were once “traditions”, and I think it is high time we found a new way to honor the troops on Nov. 11, because, considering the current situation, the poppy is the totally wrong symbol for it.