Pebble Beach "salutes" military, showcases economic disparity
by Kevin_Foley
 Politics Progressive
February 11, 2013 03:15 PM | 2006 views | 11 11 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Over-the-top patriotic demonstrations at sporting events reached a new low this weekend, when servicemen and women were on exhibit at Pebble Beach during the PGA tour stop there.

There was something vaguely obscene about watching an enlisted person earning a little more than the poverty level standing at attention while a bunch of rich kids played golf for a $6.5 million purse.

We're supposed to feel humbled by these young people who "protect our freedom" on the sunny shores of the Monterrey Bay, where some of the nation's wealthiest 1 percent enjoy undisturbed splendor in their heavily guarded and gated enclaves.

We're supposed to pay homage to the sacrifice and dedication of those service personnel while, at the same time, we watch people named named Brandt, Keegan and Tag smack a little white ball around for the entertainment of corporate swells ensconced in their hospitality pavilions swilling fine wine while whining about paying a few percentage points more on their income taxes.

We all know how these guys really feel.

Mitt Romney gave voice to their disdain of the 47% who don't pay taxes. That number includes, by the way, most of the same enlisted men and women they were "honoring" at Pebble Beach.

As long as he breathes, CBS seems determined to trot out the doddering Clint Eastwood as the face of the tournament, who eclipsed his performance as the Man With No Name with his shamefully embarrassing Obama chair-talking shtick during the Republican National Convention last summer.

Like Romney, Clint evidently has it in for the president and those working poor and disabled folks who don't make enough to pay income taxes, let alone afford the price of admission to cruise 17 Mile Drive through Pebble Beach.

I wonder how those enlisted men and women felt about being used as props by a giant TV network making a pile of advertising dollars, or if the sad irony ever occurred to any of them.

Maybe they should have asked for a slice of that CBS pie, but that's not how it works in Carmel, where such uniformed folk are perceived the same way the gardener or delivery man are regarded, hired help to be seen but not heard.

Those servicemen and women, you see, have an important role to play in the CBS show when the camera cuts away and we see them, naively unaware of being exploited, shaking hands with a series of millionaire golf pros who were instructed to recognize them, look grateful, and then move on to the next tee. Thus, the PGA, CBS and the viewer all bask in the reflected glow of their selflessness and heroism. Meantime, their commanding officers and entourages enjoy free admission to the shindig.

Ostentatious military displays have become de rigueur at televised sporting events. We used to sing the Star Spangled Banner and let it go at that.

Now, we must have fighter jet fly overs, American flags the size of the field, the singing of God Bless America at half time, and, of course, soldiers, sailors and marines in uniform to remind us that "freedom isn't free," never mind that all the jingoistic showboating renders real patriotism cheap and real courage meaningless.

But the offensive travesty at Pebble Beach gets first prize for its naked hypocrisy not to mention its showcasing of the symbolic economic wall between the have mores and have almost nothings.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
Lib in Cobb
February 15, 2013
@DA: In order to have an opinion, one need not serve in the military. My brother served in the military and he doesn't have the sense to have a opinion. Others have served in the military because no one else wanted them. What's your excuse DA? You have mentioned your military service a number of times and not once did I ever feel that we were safer because of it.

USMC sister
February 12, 2013
Somethnig "vaguely obscene" about the troops attendence? Did it occur to you that the troops do what they do so the golfers can do what THEY do?

Soldiers and Marines don't join for the money, but they do sign up to fight to keep our way of life which includes golf or any other sport. Get a clue.
Laura Armstrong
February 12, 2013
@Foley Even though many military families and professionals will admit the DoD budget became bloated in some of the wrong places since 2001, and the Congressional Budget Office proposed increasing Tricare premiums significantly as early as 2007 (I wrote about it then) it takes a real jerk of an administration to actually cut those services completely for hundreds of thousands who were promised care, including war widows and orphans who will either lose their PRIME altogether or see their regular Tricare premiums increase as much as $128 per month on fixed incomes. Just think how many Obamaphones that will buy your mooching 47%!!!

Benghazi, cover up. Obama failure. Hilary failure. State Dept. people everywhere have no faith any more.

And let's not forget Ft. Hood. Obama says that was "workplace violence." NO Benefits for the families of the terrorist's victims. No purple hearts. Talk about hypocrisy. He had those people with him at his past SOTU speeches. Talk about props.

Hmmm. re Tricare. This isn't about Gates or research. I've lived Tricare, caring for my children and previously my dying husband, and have navigated Tricare for the last 25 years. Just sayin. Your Pebble Beach nitpick is nothing but more class warfare.
Kevin Foley
February 12, 2013
@ Armstrong - I already explained to you that Republican DefSec Robert Gates is the one who said Tricare was killing the Department. Aren't you curious as to why he said that? Why don't you do some research?

You keep talking about Bengahzi. Read the independent and unclassified report before you spout off and sound ignorant. Just sayin'

B D Lane
February 12, 2013
When my father was stationed at Fort Ord many years ago, I attended this tournament. Clint Eastwood was, indeed, there. As an Army brat, I can tell you, we were very happy to go to the tournament. It is a cherished childhood memory. But I'm pretty certain my father didn't resent anyone else's success. He was protecting a country in which he believed success for anyone was possible. And, by the way, he didn't measure his own success by his paycheck.

HOWEVER, in the spirit of fairness, I will also say that I understand your point that men and women in the military are too often used as props at events. As the sequestration hearings that chronicle exactly how much the government cares about those people drones on, I won't disagree that there is something... wrong... about pretending to care about the military through ceremony only. But this was not a political event, and therefore I know from experience that those armed forces invited to the event were most likely happy to be there.
Devlin Adams
February 12, 2013
Foely, since you never wore a uniform, how dare you preseume to tell anyone what real partiotic American defenders feel.

You don't have a remote clue.
Kevin Foley
February 12, 2013
Cobb Co Guy - you understand this a blog, right? Just a conversation. I point out here the hypocrisy, as I typically do, because hypocrisy is par for the course with conservatives.

They hate the 47% (check pay grades for enlisted personnel and you'll see many ranks don't earn eough to pay income taes) except when they show up in a military uniform. Then they love them until it's time to shoo them off.
February 12, 2013
Economic disparity: Obama's lush Hawaiin vacays vs. typical Marine living in Kaneohe Bay on the economy because Obama has decimated military budget.

Disparity: John Kerry, John Edwards, Nancy Pelosi's multi-million digs vs. Major General's modest housing.

Disparity: Senate/Congress free healthcare for life vs. broken promise to combat vets with multiple deployments re phase out of Tricare health benefits.

Disparity: attitude of liberals like Kevin Foley towards stupid little things vs. quality of life failures and increased military death in combat rates due to Obama's incompetent foreign policy decisions and/or decision makers.

Disparity: General's recommendations on allowing gays to serve openly vs. Obama's pandering to the homosexual community and declaring the services an open display of sexual agitators.
Samuel Adams
February 12, 2013
You assume that none of the troops so "traumatized" at Pebble Beach is from the top 1 percent. You might be surprised to know that some of their families are among those successful people you and your fellow liberals despise.

Check out the number of masters degrees in the ranks these days. Check the number of troops invested in the stock market. Check the number of enlisted troops that play golf in their spare time. You don't know what you're talking about.
Laura Armstrong
February 12, 2013
I'm pretty sure the enlisted men and women were happy to be invited to the golf tournament. At least they weren't disarmed and told to cram in behind an Obama fake hangar photo op, where they have to listen to him talk about himself, how he got Bin Laden, all of Michelle's caring for them and all the golf HE plays. Do you think they know how his SecState believes nothing that happened to their SEAL brethren in Benghazi "matters?"

Foley, talk a bit about how Obama's admin is disassembling military health insurance, cutting Tricare Prime completely by this fall and raising premiums on war widows and orphans under the remaining program? Talk about how he diddled around before the surge, not meeting with the generals and neglecting Afghanistan while casualties rose exponentially.

I'd especially like your take on how Obama has set up the RINO Republican and embarassment Chuck Hagel (who Nebraskans can't stand, by the way) to take the fall as SecDef during the coming decimation of our forces under Sequestration. Interesting that he believes our troops deserve this clown... Democrats are like jihadis, they are looking five, ten years down the road at the time they can say, "It wasn't Obama who ruined the military, it was Republican Chuck Hagel."

By the way, you are a typical lib. For you, military men and women, volunteers during this decade of war, are either victims (to be infantilized by politicians) or (as the new SecState John Kerry says) "Terrorizing women and children in the middle of the night." Even if you don't believe that about them, the politicians you support do. Most troops are not fooled, and they know which party doesn't want their votes counted (and goes to great lengths to prevent them voting).
February 11, 2013
Well, I dunno.

Allow me to speculate as you have done.

I'm going to speculate that the service men and women in attendance didn't feel the same stomach-wrenching, nauseating, disgust, revulsion and repugnance that YOU are feeling...on THEIR behalf.

I'm going to speculate that the service men and women in attendance love this country and understand that anyone who works hard, who has the drive and will, who makes good decisions, can work their way up the socio-economic ladder and become and achieve whatever they want.

I'm going to speculate that the service men and women in attendance see this great country as a melting pot and not a stratified society of caste.

But, what do I know.

By the way, five of the participants were named "Kevin."
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