About Sergeant Bergdahl, our president has said, “The American people understand that this is somebody’s child and that we don’t condition whether or not we make the effort to try to get them back.” Now, it’s true that everybody is somebody’s child — even Grandma Moses. But one of my hopes for the next commander-in-chief is that he try to avoid referring to our servicemen as “children.” The infantilization of our country is now an established fact — just the other day, I heard a strapping 25-year-old refer to himself quite seriously as a “child” — and the infantilization of our military is well-nigh inevitable. But we should try to maintain some dignity.
I don’t oppose the yellow-ribbon culture wholesale. There is room for sentiment in culture, indeed a demand for it. (This is different from sentimentalism, mind you.) But the yellow-ribbon element ought not to be the whole of our culture. Maybe we could have something halfway between Sparta and Oprah?
Do you know what I mean?