Wednesday, February 16, 2005


I hate things that say one thing and mean another. I hate shady agendas hiding behind slogans designed to tweak the emotions, tug at heartstrings, and call for the righteous to sign on the dotted line, or risk being labeled unfeeling, unconcerned, un-American, or worse. I hate those yellow ribbon "Support Our Troops" magnets that people have stuck on their cars. Every time I see one, I want to rip it off and stomp on it.

Unfortunately, there's no way to tell if the vehicle displaying one of these little treasures belongs to the parents or family of a soldier in the war zone, or an administration zealot sending out a less-than-subtle message couched in self-righteousness.  For the latter, the phrase is actually a cop-out. Bumper stickers saying "Get Revenge For 9/11" or "Make the Rag-heads Pay" would probably at the very least get your paint job keyed in the grocery store parking lot.

I can hear the shocked gasps out there… No, I don’t believe that every non-military parent who displays a yellow magnet on his car is a wild-eyed racist bent on violence. The hidden message could be as mild as, "I stand behind our president no matter what." To tell the truth, I don’t know which is more dangerous.

If the Bush administration itself truly supported our troops, it wouldn’t be rattling its saber in the direction of Iran and other Middle Eastern nations, while our military in Iraq are endangered daily by the lack of proper equipment and manpower to do the job they were sent there to do. The president wouldn’t be playing bait and switch with the Congress about the cost of the war by omitting it from the budget. If he is so proud of the war effort and so committed to "Supporting Our Troops," why is he not going before the American people and simply and forcefully saying, "Here is what we are going to accomplish. Here is how much money we are going to need to do it." Surely his electoral "mandate" has convinced him that the American people are behind him and are ready to give him carte blanche to carry out his foreign policy objectives.

I wonder how much it would cost me to have a jillion little magnets made up that say, "Mr. Bush, why don’t you…" I could slap one right next to every yellow ribbon I encounter. Liberally slathered with super-glue.

This entry was inspired, in part, by this piece from Monday's All Things Considered on NPR.  Please click on the link to hear what the parent of a soldier who was stationed in Iraq had to say on the subject.


  1. Sometimes a show of support like that has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with love and support of a loved one that is in the military.   And it's a way for them to show that they are proud of their child.  That doesn't mean they don't want them the hell out of there either.  I understand your frustration with Bush, but don't let that create such a frenzy towards a mom that just wants to show something for her child.

  2. i agre with you 14 year old made a ribbon of her own. it says,"support our troops, bring them home"

  3. I see the yellow ones along side the pink ones and the red ones and the blue ones.  If they really wanted to bring home the troops they should have voted Bush out!  (I can't believe I'm sticking my neck out here!)

  4. I have one of those yellow ribbons on my pick-up truck.

  5. I suspect those magnets are another case of marketing over good sense. I agree, either give the grunts on the ground the tools they need to get the job done right or bring them home. And by doing the job right I mean respecting the right of Iraqi people to select "their" form of democracy even it it doesn't match ours. After all, America is still very much a Work In Progress.


  6. Every time I see one of those dreadful magnetic yellow ribbons attaching itself on the ass of a car, and worst a SUV, I cringe and think of WWII.

    The symbol that so many buy from Wal-mart for a $1.50 and spatter so carelessly on the ass of their gas guzzler says something like “Support Our Troops” but in reality, it is saying, “I am not Jewish, please do not gas me like the others.”

    I love your journal.

  7. I don't like ribbon campaigns in general,whether it's yellow ribbons for the troops, red ribbons for AIDS, pink ribbons for breast cancer or whatever color for whatever cause, and I'm not sure that I really understand why they annoy me.  I fear that too often displaying a ribbon for a cause becomes an easy way for a person to feel like they've actually done something in support of whatever cause they say they're espousing, while actions that might actually help never get done.  For some people "Support our troops"  is being used as a way of saying, if you disagree with the administration, you care nothing for the men and women in the military doing their job and implies that if you don't support the president, you're just planning to spit on a returning vet in shades of Viet Nam homecomings.  Meanwhile, there's a new horror story almost daily about how the administration is leaving our military members to twist in the wind.  I understand this entry and agree with it on many levels.

  8. Sixth try at commenting here...

    I look at the yellow ribbon magnets as a reminder to think about and pray for those who are so bravely serving our country.  I need reminders because my life is too far removed from the life they are leading and I forget.  I don't read into them any more than that.

  9. I find these yellow ribbons insulting as well.  We KNOW we ALL support our troops.  There is no cause to even question this.  The implication is obvious; "support our troops" must really mean, as you say, "support our president."  And patriotism belongs only to those who sport yellow ribbons and wave the red white and blue.  Group-think.  How democratic.  

  10. I personally don't like putting any kind of label on my car. I actually wrote an entry about it ages ago. I don't like the thought that someone will read a blip and sum me up by it. The commentator (and you) have some good points but I'd rather look at the positive aspect of these ribbons, that hopefully when someone who is serving in the military sees them they will feel that the American people in general support them and don't hold this war, or the administration's actions, against them. They have sacrificed much and are doing a job that not many would choose to do.  I might despise the concept of war and feel extreme animosity towards the Bush administration for leading us into the current crap over there. I don't think the ends justifies the means. However, I do support the troops and have great concern for their welfare. But, I refuse to read too much into what I see posted on someone's vehicle and give it that kind of weight that it is in alignment with the 'red state' mentality because it is a small blip that can't completely define the driver. :-)---Robbie

  11. Hello Lisa-
    Again, I couldn't agree with you more. Now they have the all new Tsunami Relief "ribbons" that I find just as revolting. If it's such a big concern for all and especially Bush and his jackass administration, why did it take him 4 and 1/2 days to even comment or do SOMETHING about it?? If his administration so worried about Tsunami's, why not give them the warning equipment they so deserately need instead of spending God knows how much on this stupid war in Iraq!!

    I wear one bracelett and one only, and that is a Hospice red "Remembrance" bracelett for all who are involed, patients and caregivers of Hospice patients; thats it. No bumper stickers, no signs or flags, just a bracelett. It's a reminder and support for all facing end-of-life issues, including my Mother.

    Thanks agian for another great entry Lisa and couldn't agree with you more!


  12. LOL,  those ribbons are soooo common around here.  I actually gave thought to getting one, because I really *do* want to support the troops, i.e. I don't want any more of them to die!  But I figured having the ribbon on the car was like an unspoken show of support for Bush, and that's a sentiment that I don't possess.  So I didn't get one. ;-)