Chris Hayes Was Just Being
Honest - But It Doesn't
"Oh hey, I apologize for insulting the fallen heroes
the rest of you don't care that much about anyway."
You may have heard about the flap caused by MSNBC host Chris Hayes over the Memorial Day Weekend when during a commentary segment of his show he opined that he was troubled by the idea of calling America's fallen military service members 'heroes'.
On Sunday, in discussing the uses of the word "hero" to describe those members of the armed forces who have given their lives, I don't think I lived up to the standards of rigor, respect and empathy for those affected by the issues we discuss that I've set for myself. I am deeply sorry for that.
As many have rightly pointed out, it's very easy for me, a TV host, to opine about the people who fight our wars, having never dodged a bullet or guarded a post or walked a mile in their boots. Of course, that is true of the overwhelming majority of our nation's citizens as a whole. One of the points made during Sunday's show was just how removed most Americans are from the wars we fight, how small a percentage of our population is asked to shoulder the entire burden and how easy it becomes to never read the names of those who are wounded and fight and die, to not ask questions about the direction of our strategy in Afghanistan, and to assuage our own collective guilt about this disconnect with a pro-forma ritual that we observe briefly before returning to our barbecues.
But in seeking to discuss the civilian-military divide and the social distance between those who fight and those who don't, I ended up reinforcing it, conforming to a stereotype of a removed pundit whose views are not anchored in the very real and very wrenching experience of this long decade of war. And for that I am truly sorry.Here's my problem with what Hayes did: he was being perfectly honest in his original commentary. It's his apology in which he commits a greater offense.
Let me explain.
In the original comment, he managed to insult America's fallen troops from the Revolutionary War all the way up to the last soldier to die in Afghanistan the other day. It looks to me like he did indeed apologize for doing that, albeit in a smarmy condescending way. Liberals have been quite open about opposing the Iraq & Afghan wars; you have to go all the way back to WWII to find an American War in which Liberals give their whole-hearted support to it - and some of the wackier ones don't even do that.
Stretching back to Korea, then through Vietnam, Grenada, El Salvador, the First Gulf War, and finally the current War on Terror, it is true the Left has derided & decried the use of the American military, the strategy it was given to pursue, and if there was ever anything to be fighting over in the first place.
One of the favorite cries of the Left the past few conflicts is that America's wars are all about oil now, so how can you really call a guy a 'hero' if all he ended was doing was dying to ensure the oil flowed? 9-11 was just a pretext or something for a new War For Oil. Or they go with the Christopher Hedges line, that War Is A Drug & America is a War Addict, just looking for a reason to start one somewhere to get it's fix.
Battle of Normandy, 1944
It certainly does make many Progressives deeply uncomfortable that since 9-11 2001, plenty of the fallen heroes being honored in our yearly Memorial Day observances aren't from faded pictures shot back in the 1960's or the 1950's or 1940's.
Battle of Fallujah, 2004
These new fallen soldiers have all made their sacrifice for their country in the past decade. They were right here still with us just a few years ago. This makes Memorial Day more real and meaningful than ever to most Americans.
But not to the Left.
These fallen heroes are close, they are immediate and they are from wars the Left vehemently protested against, called lost causes from the beginning, and it infuriates them to see how seriously other Americans are taking Memorial Day now.
Lt. David Rylander of Stow, Ohio was killed in action in
Afghanistan on May 2nd, 2012
This is what drove Chris Hayes to say what he did. And after the huge backlash, he did seem to back off his original assertion.
But during that apology he decided to insult the rest of America outside the military by claiming our 'collective guilt' through a 'civilian-military divide' leads us to engage in this useless 'pro-forma ritual' of paying meaningless lip service to fallen heroes before we turn around and get back to the really important part of Memorial Day - grilling steaks.
Hayes went from insulting the fallen to insulting the living. Many of the living observing Memorial Day this year lost someone in the field of battle in just the last 10 years. Useless pro-forma ritual my ass.
In a true classic case of liberal projection, because Memorial Day is essentially a meaningless pro-forma ritual in his mind, he assumes it must be the same for every one else. He didn't really care about America's fallen soldiers so nobody else really does either. It's all a show, a sham, a kabuki theater.
You know why the Left is so pathetic? They keep talking about how awesome their empathy for others is. They supposedly have this amazing ability to empathize. And it's complete BS. People who spend a lot of their time bragging to you about how empathetic they are end up being like Mark Twain's Honorable Man:
"The more he shouted & protested about his honor, the faster we counted our spoons."
The Marxists & Socialists that make up much of the intelligentsia of the Left disdain America's actual founding, it's governing philosophy, and rail against the traditions & ceremonies that teach each new generation a shared collective memory of appreciation for what makes America exceptional.
Where Chris Hayes sees only a pro-forma ritual institutionalizing 'collective guilt', the rest of America sees a time-honored, honorable tradition that instills a valuable collective MEMORY.
Because the Left wants to rip out the actual foundations of this country & replace it with something foreign and un-American - socialist & marxist BS brought over the Atlantic in the early 19th century - they seek to lessen the influence of anything that binds Americans together as Americans to their honorable and exceptional past. Like remembering their hallowed dead.
The Progressive Left is deeply suspicious of the military and the uses to which it is put. We get that. God knows they whine about it enough. But to project their creepy distrust & disdain for the military onto the rest of us & pontificate that Memorial Day observances are just empty rituals where all the people just stand around saying things about 'heroes' that they don't really mean.................
This apology is worse than the offense that originated it.