Saturday, November 25, 2017

A Small Thing? A Big Thing?

On Thanksgiving Day 2017, Donald Trump was golfing. Someone pointed out how presidents, more commonly in recent years, spent the day somewhere in Iraq or Afghanistan, thanking U.S. military personnel for their sacrifice. (I saw posts with photos of Bush 2, Obama, and Clinton, for instance.)

Then, in Friday's paper, there was this:

It seems Trump managed to go thank a few members of the armed forces on Thanksgiving after all. The guys in the blue jumpsuits are members of the Coast Guard, stationed near Mar-a-Lago, in Florida.

None of that is what I really want to talk about here, though. I want to discuss the headline that accompanies the photo and long caption.

Trump pays tribute to our troops.

Does that seem like a mainstream newspaper headline to you? It doesn't to me.

"Our troops" is a loaded phrase at this point. "Trump pays tribute to the troops" or "Trump pays tribute to American troops"... either of those, I wouldn't have even noticed. But our troops twists the narrative in a way that I can feel in my gut but not quite express.

Remember when George W. Bush created a new department after September 11th, and named it the Department of Homeland Security? I reacted to that, too. Homeland. Not a word we used in this country to describe ourselves, up until that point. It sounded too much like Nazi Germany, right?

Was I the only one who thought that? Our troops is not a phrase I would have ever seen in a mainstream newspaper during my lifetime, I believe, unless it was in a quote, and especially not in a headline. Maybe during World War II, or even during the Korean conflict. But it's not a journalistic phrase: it's evidence of jingoism, and not appropriate.

Is this just a small thing, or part of a big thing, more evidence of the change slowly overtaking our country?

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