I think it is no secret I love the work of Russel Brand. I admire how in his use of celebrity he brings attention to cultural and societal issues instead of just himself. I don’t always agree with him but I feel that it is important to remember he is nothing more than a fellow activist, not a guru whose words should be taken as prophetic doctrine. Those who view voices of progess like that are no better than the reactionaries who make deities of Sean Hannity or Meghan Kelly.
What does make Brand better than the rest however are his attempts to reconcile the blatant victims of the state with the silent victims of the state. The silent victims of the state are those who maintain a system that does not serve them out of fear of losing what little they already have, in the UK and US one group like this is the police.
I admire Brand’s use of love to reconcile the public with the UK police, and I feel the same can be done in the US. However there are different issues in the US we need to address with our police as well, mainly their continued militarization. The militarization of both US and UK police forces is one of the things that is creating a sense of seperation between our police forces and the public they are supposed to be protecting, not to mention the horrible racialization of policing all over the western world, especially the US.
Yet as Brand stated, we must reach out to those good policemen and women who are not racist and do want to protect and serve the public and we must do so by reminding them they are loved for putting themselves at risk to serve something they see greater as themselves, the community. That is not to say there is not a problem with our racialized criminal justice system, but there are those who exist within this system that want to stop perpetuating this evil and reform it, it is those people we must call into action.
All that being said, the same also needs to be done with our soldiers, I have no idea how much of an issue this is within the UK, but in the US those in our military suffer the same divide from the public. What is even worse is that they like the police volunteer their service in order to serve something they see as greater than themselves, their country. While I am not in any way a patriot I do admire the quality of our soldiers to want to protect a community greater than themselves. However these very same people are used by the system they wish to serve.
They are sent to die needlessly under false pretenses so that weapons manufacturers and oil companies can profit off of the American tax dollar. Our soldiers then return to us with either a bitter sense of cynical right wing patriotism to convice themselves what they did was right, or they completely foresake their time in the service while dedicating themselves to new progressive causes. This however is only talking about the ones who are lucky enough to be taken care of when they return.
Unlike the police, it is our Veterans who make up a majority of the homeless. Our financial and health benefits for our soldiers is insulting to what we put them through, and it is no wonder how many either become hateful of American Government or ashamed of their past service.
I am in no way pro war, and our military industrial complex is overwrought with mysoginy and corruption. However the individuals who are in our military in order to serve a community which they see as more important than themselves are people to be recognized and through that we can reconcile and begin to take proper care of our soldiers and veterans who can then help us in our revolt of the system that has used them like disposable pawns.
So, in addition to Brand’s #lovethepolice campaign, I propose a similar one in solidarity, #loveoursoldiers, not love our military, but our soldiers. We must always express love and gratitude to the people who want to serve something greater than themselves and when they see our gratitude a majority will realize they dont want to perpetuate a system that turns them against the people they are infact protecants of.
Spread the word, true progressives and revolutionaries love all, #lovethepolice #LoveOurSoldiers!