Possible Reasons for Membership Troubles in Veteran Fraternal Organizations; VFW/American Legions/Vietnam Veteans of America/DAVby Michael Patrick Brewer on Jul. 16, 2009, under Politics
In the recent confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, Senator Jeff Sessions made a comment that was modestly disturbing to me. He stated; ” to be sympathetic to one party, is to be prejudiced to another.” The disturbing aspect of this mindset is that it is delivered in such an authoritative and declarative fashion, as if it is objective truth.
This style of polarized, ‘us versus them’ mentality, that dominates most all editorial boards and certainly the mass of talk shows, has so divided the nation that I am not sure how we can put Humty Dumty back together. We seen to be in a permanent Red vs. Blue State campaign mode and have forgotten how to stop campaigning and shift to governing.
I am of the ilk that it is this new, in your face zeitgeist that has become the dominant cultural thinking style of our time, and is at the core of the waning membership in many of our venerated veterans organizations.
What returning soldier wants to place themselves in such an environment? While the Charters of organizations like the VFW and American Legion have clauses about being a bit to raucous or one sided we nevertheless have created an environment where the young men and women who need the advocacy of the group do not want to associate with such charged personalities. Especially with someone who would think that to be sympathetic begets the polar opposite of prejudicial behavior.
Is it possible that there are hidden forces in DC who would prefer to have Veteran organizations fade into the sunset? If we continue with the divisive and extreme partisan behavior that blankets our daily lives, we will see an incremental decline in the simple desire to associate for common causes, so as to avoid confrontation, and the consequent weariness it brings.
The diminished influence of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America, DAV and others, would not be a good thing, and I fault the elected leaderhip and the insatiable needs of 24/7 media with the lagging membership rolls, as they feed on the polarity they created.