Yesterday, a relative of mine challenged me to write this blog post: Does being a solider automatically make one a hero?
The question itself is rigged to explode, doubly so because of how the Right loves to say that Liberals Hate Troops. My instinct is to say, automatically that anyone who puts their life on the line for someone else, they become a hero. By their very nature, soldiers are, by default, “genetically heroes.”
A hero works in service for others, and one would think that this is universally respected. It isn’t. We have the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth smear campaign. We have the attack on McCain’s service–which may not have been as vehement as the Swift Boaters–and the attack ads that went after Max Cleland. For a country that allegedly loves its veterans, we don’t hold them in universal respect.
I hold people who serve their country with utmost respect and gratitude. I do think that people who put their lives on the line for our country are genetic heroes. That does not mean, however, that they are beyond reproach. While veterans deserve our respect, they are not infallible. They are not perfect. Serving our country does not, by default, make the superior citizens.
In addition to defending the citizenry of our nation, our soldiers defend the idea that all Americans are equal in the eyes of the law. They’ve earned our respect, but that does not mean we have to always agree with them.