Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Wal-Martizing the War: Unbelievable Story

Did you know that non-existent Wal-Marts are saving soldiers lives in Iraq?

If not, it's probably because you don't listen to enough conservative talk radio. I don't listen to it much either, but yesterday morning, on my way back from Crisp County, I tuned into AM 940 hoping to catch the news. Instead (yes, I said instead), I caught Paul Harvey, who must be 150 years old because I can remember listening to him as a child. Anyway, you know how he weaves commercials into his script, almost as if it is a news item? Well, he did such a commercial for Wal-Mart.

Paul, with great passion, told the story of a group of marines going house to house in Iraq on an extremely hot day, digging out those insurgents. As several of the marines staggered back toward their post, one was so hot and dehydrated that he was desperate for water and near death. Paul says that this young marine credited something that was not even there that day with saving his life. Yes, it was a vision of a (nonexistent) Wal-Mart on a distant hill that gave him the courage to keep on going. Wal-Mart saved his life. Unbelievable!!

I would say that Wal-Mart should be ashamed of itself, but I doubt their capacity for self-examination. I am stunned by the stark commercialization of the sacrifices soldiers make to serve. We ought to object, and loudly, and, in particular with our pocketbooks.

This commercial, and it's placement is a lesson for Democrats. For three decades, the Republican message machine has successfully married patriotism, piety and profit. This neo-conservative threesome has patriots and people of faith stuffing money in the pockets of the old Republican establishment. When we wonder about why Democrats have trouble winning, it would be wise to remember that millions of listeners every day get a steady diet of this garbage.

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