This Is How We Support The Troops?

by Victor D. Sandiego ● Created: May 10, 2014 ● Word count: 318

This morning, when I logged in to LinkedIn, I came across a photo of a U.S. Army soldier holding a cardboard sign that reads: “If you support the troops please ‘like’ this picture. We need your support”. When I saw it, there were more than 43,000 ‘likes’ and more than 2,400 comments. Many of the comments were of the “Thank you” or “God bless you for your service” variety, although some comments appropriately pointed out that the whole idea of supporting the troops by clicking a ‘like’ icon from the comfort of your chair is not only ineffective but absurd and lazy as well.

This is the sort of thing in which people participate as a feel-good exercise. It’s nothing more than jumping on some quasi-popular craze to collect intangible bonus points on a social media site. It’s yellow-ribbon bumper stickers without the need to get up and go to the garage.

If you really want to support the troops, do something real. Give some money to a veterans organization. Volunteer your time to work with returning vets. Write letters to your representatives. Bring some chocolates to a hospital. Or – if you’re of the right age – get out of your chair and join the military.

Better yet: put your time and energy towards efforts to reduce the need for so many troops. Work for the cause of peace. Organize events. Speak out at events. Do what you can to reduce the number of men and women coming home mangled or dead.

These sorts of things go a lot farther in demonstrating “support for troops” than mindlessly hopping on some patriotic-click-me bandwagon. It’s not mandatory to support troops, but if you really do, then quit faking it on LinkedIn or Facebook. Get out and do something.

2 comments refresh

By Ehh on May 26, 2014 09:45 (UTC)

Not everyone "liking" and commenting on pictures like this are mindless, lazy "patriots" that show support only if it's convenient to click a button. Its one way as a feel good for someone in the field to see positive feedback, so what's wrong with that? And, you can't be this nieve to think every one of those people on social media don't do something to show support. Come on.

By Victor David on May 26, 2014 10:19 (UTC)

You're right. Not everyone fits that description. And I applaud those who are out there DOING something because they're putting their actions where their hearts are.

But most probably haven't looked beyond the fact that it’s pure symbolism without any action to back it up. And frankly, if a soldier in the field needs “likes” on social media to feel good about what he's doing, maybe he needs to take a look at what he's doing.

I do understand what you're saying and it's nice to know that people support what you're up to, but none of this adds up to actually DOING something. As I mentioned above, it's is the social media equivalent of yellow ribbon bumper stickers.