Dr. Warren J. Blumenfeld wrote in an Op-Ed for LGBTQ Nation published Saturday that it’s time to expand the definition of veteran to include the practitioners of non-violent resistance in the face of tyranny and oppression.
Blumenfeld is co-editor of “Readings for Diversity and Social Justice” and “Investigating Christian Privilege and Religious Oppression in the United States.” He also travels to schools and college campuses facilitating workshops on social justice.
Although he claims to have been pondering the idea for a while, a recent outing (where he overheard the military veteran in line ahead of him was receiving a 10 percent discount for having served) prompted him to launch his current effort.
Blumenfeld says he has given serious thought about “whom our country includes in its socially-constructed category of veteran.”
While Blumenfeld praised our brave men and women in uniform as patriots deserving of the highest honor — “defenders of the country’s security should be given an even greater discount,” he argued — he wrote that others were deserving of similar recognition.
“But true patriots and veterans are also those who speak out, stand up, and put their lives on the line by actively advocating for justice, freedom, and liberty through peaceful means,” Blumenfeld wrote.
He also ascribed symbolic meaning to our nation’s capital, where all the war monuments are located, claiming, “this represents an important, though incomplete, story primarily about white male leaders with armed conflict as the organizing principle.”
Blumenfeld stressed throughout his Op-Ed how valuable the peacekeepers are, how crucial and yet much-maligned are the defenders of conflict and the importance of ever-evolving social justice.
“Can we as a nation begin now to consider expanding the category of ‘veteran’ to include the diplomats and the mediators?” he asked.
Blow back was harsh and swift from U.S. Marine Corps veteran Joey Jones:
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) October 1, 2018
Jones, a retired bomb technician and actual veteran who lost both of his legs in an explosion while serving in Afghanistan, said on “Fox & Friends” Monday that Blumenfeld’s proposition was “pretty laughable.”
“To say this term applies to everyone who might get upset and hold up a sign somewhere, that doesn’t make any sense at all,” Jones argued.
“This term ‘veteran’ is something that’s small, but it’s a big sentiment and it’s something we choose to do as a country,” he added.
Many comments on the article itself expressed similar sentiments.
“Want to be veterans, go join the military,” wrote a reader identified as Mike Day. “You don’t get special recognition for needing safe spaces, trigger warnings, and blankies to get through everyday life.”
“Whether you wrote this as an act of provocation, or because your argument was poorly thought out, this isn’t going to encourage discussion, consideration, or greater support,” added another reader, Matthew Colin Franklin. “It will only reinforce confirmation bias and stereotypes of ‘liberals’ as insular, detached twits.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.