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The Edge

Who Cares?

   
Bob Mace
   

The Edge isn’t really sure when the symbolic representation of caring about something became more important than the actual care. Yet undeniably, it is a fact of American culture that such is the case.

Some will recall the popularity of the nickel or copper POW/MIA bracelets during the Vietnam Conflict. Those indicated the wearer cared about the soldiers. Each bracelet was engraved with the name of an American missing in action or taken prisoner. According to one of the veterans’ organizations, about 3,000 Americans were either missing or captured during hostilities. The bracelet company sold roughly five million bracelets, originally for $2.50 and later for $3; nearly $14 million worth of caring!

Late in that conflict, it became Tony Orlandovogue for families to tie the yellow ribbon when awaiting the return of a serviceman or woman. Ribbons and bracelets are popular talismans for declaring to the world at large that a particular individual cares about something.

The Edge worries that there may be too much testosterone in a world that makes big business from what ostensibly is a child’s pastime. Lance Armstrong rode a bicycle quickly, something many six-year-olds master without a lot of fanfare. He later became the poster child of performance-enhancing drugs. Before he admitted his chemically enriched prowess on the velocipede, he’d fought cancer (chemo of course) and convinced a large group of Americans to dress themselves with a yellow rubber wristband that symbolized “live strong.”

Wristbands are popular items sold as indications of caring. There are websites that can print any message on any color. For friends who rhetorically ask for advice, ordering a couple of dozen blue bands with yellow message asking, “What would Bob do?” seems appropriate. It’s worth noting that, as a society we appear to care more about breast cancer than any other topic. It’s incredibly caring to show concern for a disease that one can’t contract. NFL players wearing pink shoes, add to symbolic caring tokens that include pink AA batteries, pink donuts and pink rolling garbage receptacles.

 

Finally consider the looped lapel ribbon symbols. There’s a website that lists 41 different color combinations to display caring and concern for an equal number of causes. If there’s a human on the face of the earth who is the token of feigned caring and concern, we twice elected him governor of Missouri. Ever since the shooting in Ferguson, the governor has tried to embody the caring, albeit by plodding in political pooh-pooh with every stride. Thinking he’d found the perfect symbolic caring response, Mr. Nixon waited until a Department of Justice report accused Ferguson of discriminatory practices in dealing with its citizenry and, in effect, of supporting municipal services on the contributions of traffic offenders.

And so Nixon appoints a Missouri appellate court judge to take over the municipal Ferguson court and put the judicial house in order. No person, regardless of race should feel less than fairly treated. Nixon’s choice, from all we know is a good judge, one who attended a Springfield institution of higher learning.

What could go wrong?

The appointed adjudicator, while attending the higher learning institution in Springfield belonged to a fraternity known for celebrating its Dixie origins. Members there typically wore Confederate officer uniforms to formal dances, had Confederate flags on the back of blue work shirts for more casual occasions and were known to participate in intramural sporting events while displaying their “Stars and Bars,” the Confederate battle flag. Perhaps the “Hands up, don’t shoot” organizers never lay eyes on a copy of any vintage yearbook photos. Who cares?


E-mail Bob Mace: bmace@cfpmidweek.com.

 

 


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