Thoughts on war, frugality and patriotism.

Author: Vintagified / Labels:

To most of us now, patriotism and supporting the war mean sticking a flag on our car, or putting a yellow ribbon up somewhere. We support it in a very generalized vague way, with no real connection or feeling of connection unless a relative is in the military.

This was not always so in our country. I am not a historian so I cannot say for sure when the switch from 'We are all in this together' to 'Well thats the government's job' took place, but it most assuredly has. Maybe it is part and parcel of the 'America is the wealthiest and greatest place on earth' myth. The idea that we should have to ask our citizens to sacrifice any of their comforts while we are at war, might indicate that things are not as rosy here as all that. Or maybe people just got out of practice in doing things to support our country after the general disapproval of Vietnam.

Either way...I have been thinking and noticing this more as I read old magazines. Sure, everyone knows that WWII had a huge amount of 'Do your part' stuff to it. But looking back further, so did WWI, and I am only now seeing it in periodicals of the time.

For me this is a very chicken-egg question.

Did Americans become more self centered materialist because they stopped being asked to sacrifice and support war efforts? Or did our emerging self centered materialism cause us to stop listening and making the sorts of sacrifices our grandparents did?

What would happen if we really were at the breaking point, and had to stop being able to buy new clothes due to wool shortages, and only light and heat one room due to coal conservation efforts?

Would the average citizen stomp like a 2 year old in a tantrum, or do we still have some kernel of the grit and determination of our ancestors, deep down, and would be buckle down and cope?

I don't think I will get to find out, but I would really love it if I did get to see it.