We have a friend who is losing 65 pounds – so that she can enlist in the Army. She has taken up jogging and calisthenics, fitting them into a busy day in which she works full-time plus, in addition to raising kids. She is successful at her job, in which she helps run an insurance business. She doesn’t need to join the Army for financial reasons. She just thinks it’s the right move, now that her kids are nearly grown. She was in the Army pre-kids. She has some idea of what she’s getting into, if she can talk the recruiter into signing her up. She let herself get matronly when she was concentrating on motherhood, but once she decided to get back in the military she sat herself down, made a list of what she needed to do, and is doing it. She is matter of fact about all this. She wants to serve, and will do what it takes. She would likely wind up as a filing clerk. She doesn’t care, as long as she’s serving. She might end up in a war zone. These days, there is a good chance of that, of course. She doesn’t care about that, either. Her kids are grown. Army offices get good protection, too, she says. But if they get attacked? She shrugs. Whatever comes, she’ll deal with it. It’s worth it to her. It’s what she thinks she ought to do. She mentions the pension plan and perks, but this is cover. She could do as well or better financially out of the Army. But she wants in, and that is that.

Sometimes I wonder if there’s anybody in Old Media who understands people like this.

I do, to some extent. I look around and most of the people I know are intent on being useful. On making something of themselves. They want to make a difference. They like the idea of helping total strangers, even at some risk to themselves. They want to be able to look in the mirror without avoiding the eyes looking out at them.

The Old Media template of Americans fighting for wealth makes no sense at all to me. The Old Media declarations about “occupation” in Iraq are just as odd. I understand the concept of helping an oppressed people break loose from a tyrant and then hanging around as back-up until they get their feet under them, and then going home again. What I don’t understand is how you can call that an occupation.

You might as well call paramedics responding to a car wreck occupiers, for all the sense that makes.

I look at media coverage and shake my head. I wish they understood.

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