Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Denzel Washington {GASP!} Supports The Troops

Denzel Washington recently visited the troops at Brook Army Medical Center (BAMC) in San Antonio,Texas to little to no fanfare (the only story I could find was an outdated link to a local paper.) The forwarded e-mail I received from my conservative uncle on the subject tells the story:

BAMC is where soldiers that have been evacuated from Germany come to be hospitalized in the States, especially burn victims. They have buildings there called Fisher Houses. The Fisher House is a hotel where soldiers' families can stay, for little or no charge, while their soldier is staying in the hospital. BAMC has quite a few of these houses on base but as you can imagine, they are almost completely filled most of the time.

While Denzel Washington was visiting BAMC, they gave him a tour of one of the Fisher Houses. He asked how much one of them would cost to build. He took his check book out and wrote a check for the full amount right there on the spot. The soldiers overseas were amazed to hear this story and want to get the word out to the American public, because it warmed their hearts to hear it.
After a series of attached photos, there is a caption:

A true American and friend to all in uniform!

Sound too good to be true? Maybe it is. Snopes deconstructs the urban legend aspect to the story HERE.

OK, so maybe he didn't whip out his checkbook right then and there but the gist of it is still a great story, one that's gone unreported in the media. I'm glad this got to my uncle whose instinct it is to think Hollywood hates the administration, hates the war and by extension hates the troops. It chips away a little bit at the generality that is unfortunately reinforced by the media when they report on Sean Penn's inevitably ill-fated trips abroad or Alec Baldwin or Susan Sarandon's controversial activism that usually ends up sounding radical once the media gets through with it. This idea that lack of support of the administration or the war by definition equals lack of support for the troops is outrageous and has been a frustration of us all since this war began.

Why doesn't the media do more to undo this canard? Why doesn't the media pick up on Denzel Washington's simple act of kindness? Why is it a surprise to anyone that Michael Moore's website has the most comprehensive list of links to actually support the troops that I've ever seen. Yes, people, there is more you can do for the soldiers beyond driving around with a magnet on your car.

The fact is that portraying any celebrity as pro-soldier would shatter the narrative they love to perpetuate and add a level of complexity to the issue that is beyond them. Some of the media's greatest hits: Al Gore was an exaggerator, John Kerry was aloof and George Bush is a strong leader. The fact is that Denzel Washington's actual politics are irrelevant. The story of his expressing support for the military is symbolic of "Hollywood" expressing support for the military and it would be refreshing if the mainstream media would acknowledge it.

Denzel Washington Visits Troops at Brook Army Medical Center


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