I really detest those "tug at your heart strings" soldier-homecoming viral videos. We've all seen them. Dad--it's almost always men--comes home early and unannounced to his kids and shows up at their school or jumps out of a box or something. It's tough not to be moved by these. The kids invariably sob and embrace their father. That's love, and it's beautiful--but the context of that emotional display is quite ugly. As a nation, we require young men to leave their families to go work for the rest of us, endangering their lives so we don't have to. We do not, however, require all men to do this, only a few, and these few do so "voluntarily." Their "choice," though, is usually a rational one made because they have few other productive options (e.g. gainful employment or a college education). We often see these videos and interpret the mood as joyous when the actual sentiment is probably more akin to existential relief, which may look happy but is actually rooted in deep anxiety. We should see them for what they are.
Post a Comment