Don’t be their headline, be yours!
Every day it seems there is another headline that attempts to denigrate Warfighters, belittle their service, disregard their deeds once they are out, highlight the isolated situations of those who are the exception to the general rule and cause fear in the hearts and minds of the American public for the demons they face now. “PTSd means you’ll go crazy one day”, “Because you’ve seen combat you’re a liability”, “You’ve been in the service for 10 years, so you haven’t actually been in the workforce I guess”, all of this and more is what our national media has conditioned John Q. Public to believe. Of course Warfighters, Caregivers and Patriots at heart know this not to be true, yet it happens. Why? It’s because we as a community allow it to happen.
Oh sure, when the media tries to portray every Warfighter the same as one freak situation we sit behind our keyboards and deny, deny, deny. We rant and we rave on our Facebook pages, in our groups, we hashtag, we tweet, we make angry YouTube videos and we commiserate with other Warfighters and likeminded people. Then what? For the most part it’s the sound of crickets….until the next headline and then we start the whole cycle over again. Why do we do this to ourselves? We all say we want change in our community for Warfighters everywhere but what exactly are we doing? We are allowing THEM to pull OUR strings, to use US to increase THEIR clicks and shares. We are letting them create the dialog that dictates the opinion of the general public.
Getting mad is okay, I do it too. But it’s time to do more than just get mad and be keyboard warriors (YES – that’s a warrior with a lower case ‘w’). It’s time for us to dictate the message. It’s up to us to provide the true narrative. It’s easy to do. Get out and give your community, your city and your state the REAL picture of a Warfighter. Leave the vision of honor, duty and service embedded so deep in minds that when those twisted generalizing headlines appear they know in their hearts that that is NOT what the American Warfighter is all about. Give them NO REASON to believe what they are told but give them EVERY reason to know that our nation has produced, trained and turned out its greatest assets – YOU! For every negative article and media hype make sure that the average citizen knows 10 more stories of servitude from our community. Be the face of our community to every person you meet but be the BEST face of our community possible. DON’T BE THEIR HEADLINE – WRITE THEIR HEADLINE FOR THEM! Warfighters are the conquers, never the conquered.
Originally published at Warfighter Media on Feb 5, 2015
April Dykes Linder works as an Independent Political Consultant and lives in West Des Moines, Iowa. Reprinted by Author’s permission