Photo credit: @julesdwit.
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Belinda Luscombe, Time magazine senior editor, talks about the results of the recent Time/Pew survey on marriage that show opinions sharply divided by age and class.
Sorry, on a tangent, but, this is something that crops up regularly on your show.
You said to the military caller from Staten Island: "Thank you for your service". I'd like to ask you to reflect on whether that veers dangerously close to the shallowness of wearing a flag pin, or using the word "patriot".
We have a volunteer military force. I don't think I've ever heard you use this rote phrase for, say, a social worker calling in, or a teacher, or sanitation workers, etc. What makes this phrase more appropriate for military service?
"Thank you for your service", when used exclusively in reference to the military, which I believe is the way this phrase is coded and generally used, implies that this service is in some way privileged and of greater value to society than the work of the professions mentioned above.
Yet, being a teacher or an EMT has not involved us in debilitating and draining wars, which could ruin the nation, as well as the lives of the soldiers sent to fight them. I respect your right to express your genuine thanks for military service, if that's the way you feel, but in your role as host and journalist I would encourage you to think more critically about the selective use of this phrase and what it implies in terms of valuing militarism in society over other forms of service.
Similar phrases in wide currency today are things like "wounded warriors", "patriot", etc.My remarks are in no way intended to minimize the tragedy of young people sustaining injuries in their military service. My own feeling is that these are doubly tragic because they are often sustained in the prosecution of unnecessary, unjust, foolish, and wasteful wars. But their situation is their own choice and their contribution is not automatically of greater value to society than that of teachers, firefighters, EMTs, social workers, and sanitation workers - and arguably of less value to society.
May I respectfully suggest that you explore this use of language on a segment some time? And in fact this is more directed to society at large than you in particular, but as host, you are the focal point for the use of language.
Belinda Luscombe erroneously suggests that a caller's religious beliefs and ties to the church will help to strengthen and support his marriage. A review of Pew's own statistics shows that this is not necessarily true. Christians have the same or higher divorce rates than those who don't have any religious affiliation at all. Evangelicals have the highest divorce rate among Christian sects. The power of this cultural myth -- that religion strengthens marriage -- is demonstrated by Luscombe's statement. She should know better.
Has your guest heard of the Marriage Strike? If so, can she please comment. I read about this trend a few years ago.
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Brian Lehrer leads the conversation about what matters most now in local and national politics, our own communities and our lives.
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