Opinion: “Reunion Porn” Or Military Sacrifice Awareness Tool?

There is a meme going around on facebook now regarding “reunion porn.” The name actually comes from an article published in Military.Com, written by Military Wife and writer, Amy Bushatz.

https://www.facebook.com/219835711370632/posts/2931111720243004?sfns=mo

Mrs. Bushatz writes,

“Please stop with the reunion porn, please just stop.”

Read: Here’s the Problem With Military Reunion Porn

This is a shame and she should know better. Although her article makes some very good points, her strident harping is more likely to alienate the very folks whose help we are trying to obtain. Moreover, I strongly disagree that simple awareness doesn’t have some value in and of itself.

These two paragraphs are telling

We’ve seen it (and gotten a little misty-eyed). Unsuspecting family attends football game (or some other event like the State of the Union address). Football game officials surprise family with presence of long-absent service member. Everyone is thrilled. People cheer. Warm fuzzy feelings abound. We are all happy. The end.

Except for the rest of us, those of us who know what military support needs to be to really mean something because we are living it day in and day out, the truth behind the reunion porn can feel like a slap in the face. By watching it civilians and the corporations that are showing it feel like they’ve been a part of our lives.

”Slap in the face?” That’s more than a little harsh. Then a possible ulterior motive becomes apparent.

An Army spouse and her two small children invited by President Donald Trump to the 2020 State of the Union address was surprised when the president veered off the transcript distributed to lawmakers and members of the press, and welcomed her husband home mid-speech.

“Tonight we have a very special surprise,” he said. “I am thrilled to inform you that your husband is back from deployment, he is here with us tonight and we couldn’t keep him waiting any longer.”
Insert standing ovation and misty eyes in the room and a shocked and stunned looking spouse seated next to First Lady Melania Trump, trying to keep her little ones quiet. (We didn’t include her name or photo with this story because we don’t want to forever tie her to “military reunion porn.”) 

Mrs. Bushatz couldn’t just simply make her points without taking a shot at President Trump. CNN, being a long time, solid member of the anti Trump resistance, helped that along by interviewing her and promoting her article.

See: Why military spouse calls viral homecoming videos ‘reunion porn’

Here is the real shame. Close to the end of her vitriolic screed, Mrs. Bushatz actually provides a “solution” that might be worth exploring.

What I would like to see is this: the NFL (or President of the United States) hosts a surprise homecoming … and then runs a PSA about how viewers can reach out to military veteran neighbors. Or the NFL hosts a surprise homecoming … and then gives a military nonprofit a spot to ask for donations.

Great idea! It ties into what these public reunions are really about, fostering awareness, recognizing and supporting our valiant warriors. It actually promotes a way to make these events more meaningful. Now Mrs. Bushatz, couldn’t you have found a better way to articulate that?

What if I came to you and badmouthed you for your actions, actions which accrue to your benefit, but also benefit me? What if I then, tried browbeat you into an additional action for my benefit? How much traction do you think I would get?

Your idea is a decent one. However, it is surrounded by so much vitriol, harping and denigration of other folks’ motives, not to mention the unnecessary shot at The President, that your message is lost. Why don’t you try a do over in a nicer tone…a tone that recognizes that although there is always a profit motive with businesses, that doesn’t necessarily make their motives and actions evil.