You may not know the name Kit Cabello, but if you listen to Chicago radio you have likely heard the name Dan Proft. Some might call him a pampered rich boy elitist brat, like the sort I saw in tuxedos throwing job applications at Occupy protesters a few years ago. I call him a hero and an American patriot who has sacrificed so much for this great country. I’ll get to Kit Cabello in a moment.
This Memorial day weekend, in which we remember the nation’s war dead, is special to Dan Proft. So special, in fact that he, along with rightwing radio contemporaries, will spend the weekend and holiday luxuriating. Proft proudly proclaimed on Thursday that he was even starting the weekend early to play golf! Oh, by the way, did I mention that Proft never served in the military. Handsomely paid as a talk show host for a few hours “work” each day, Proft has never been in harms way or risked anything as an American. But he knows that those young men who died on the beaches of Normandy, or who took the war ever more personally after liberating the death camps in Germany, the young men and women who paid the ultimate price in Vietnam, in Iraq and Afghanistan did so precisely for his luxuriant golf outing at excusive clubs. Four wonderful days of excess, lazy mornings, gold tees and privilege for Dan Proft, and it only cost a few hundred thousand lives. Rock on, Dan!
As for Kit Cabello, well, after serving two tours in Iraq as a Marine combat infantryman, he was lucky to return home to not a cushy radio job. Unlike Dan Proft, Kit put himself through school and wasn’t privileged with a pampered upbringing and a ride to Northwestern University to learn a skill that would prevent him from ever getting dirt under manicured nails. Unlike Proft, Kit doesn’t have the guilt-borne chip on his shoulder to argue against luxuries such as affordable education, healthcare, decent housing and a secure retirement like Proft does. In fact, while Proft was waving a hand in laconic Marie Antoinette-like tokenism to trailer trash dead soldiers as he prepared to tee off Kit Cabello and millions of other veterans who had served and sacrificed were working.
Here is the rub, doubtless some of those veterans would be satisfied that Americans feel secure and content in making the day a bit of a celebration. They would only wish to know that people truly understand the importance of the day. Having been in combat and under fire and faced with imminent death in war I can tell you that most found the ultimate injustice in their “sacrifice.” If asked, in retrospect, I venture those lost veterans, after decrying the waste of war, would talk of unity and community, and that the America they fought and died for was an America free and just for all. Their community is one that includes all, from the poorest and most oppressed to affluent social parasites like Dan Proft and Rush Limbaugh, Mark Stein, Mark Levin, Joe Walsh, Rahm Emmanuel, and others like them who treat wealth and opportunity like the country clubs they once kept exclusive to rich white men.
Those veteran’s country is an America that extolls peace and justice and eschews elitism, hierarchy and greedy opportunism. They would see education as a fundamental necessity rather than treat knowledge and the access to knowledge like a private country club, or worse, a spigot from which some may beg for drips while a few bathe and swim and urinate in excess. They would recognize the value of a dollar not because it might be stuffed into their own personal financial portfolio to one day build a fence against the riff-raff, but because it might buy a cup of coffee for someone in need, and in doing so strengthen the fabric and weave of the ultimate investment in humanity.