Nature photography, political rants, and Martyman laughs from the ten-time award-winning author of "Cool Creatures, Hot Planet," "Endangered Edens," and "Time Is Irreverent."

Microphallic compensation tools & fetish patriotism

This year, my two favorite terms are “microphallic compensation tools,” for assault rifles, and “fetish patriotism,” for the hyper-patriotism that both the military and the far-right generate to keep the cash flowing for new military toys. With today being Veterans Day, fetish patriotism will be at an all-time high.

It’s quite possible to be a good, patriotic American without worshiping the military. In fact, I would argue that those who are in favor of a smaller, defensive-only military are far more patriotic than those who wish to continue shoveling billions toward our bloated armed forces. We already spend more on our military than the next seven highest spending countries combined. If we really need to do that to be “safe,” perhaps we should take a long hard look at why so many people (supposedly) want to kill us.

Today Facebook, restaurant signs, and even the daily comic strips are chock full of “Thank You for Fighting for Our Freedom” messages. On that I have two comments:

First, we have not had a war that even remotely threatened our freedom since World War II. Since that war ended in 1945, realistically the youngest person who actually fought for our freedom would be 89 years old. So by all means, pay a visit to a nursing home to thank those veterans. Otherwise, a more accurate phrase would be “Thank you for protecting American interests.”

Second, the best thing we can do for veterans on Veterans Day is not make more of them than we actually need. If Trump is so determined to protect us from “invading Mexican rapists and drug dealers,” how about we bring home all but the most necessary service men and women and put them on the Mexican border? It will save us billions and also keep the military jobs program going. Surely, if protecting our borders is as important as Donald Trump and his cult of followers say it is, the men and women of the armed forces are needed there much more than they are needed on some far-flung military base, in a country few Americans have ever heard of.

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