Third Party & Independents Archives

Making the Troops Laugh

What Robin Williams meant to each of us and all of us is likely impossible to define. What is very clear and easy to define was his support for US troops in the fight against terrorism. He saw with clarity what 9/11 meant and the enormous task at hand facing the free world as a result of the emergence of international terrorist groups like Al Qaeda and the Taliban. While Hollywood divides along political lines like anywhere else, Robin Williams unqualified support for the men and women who place themselves in harm’s way was perhaps more unusual among his colleagues than it should have been. This was not always the case.

Hollywood's role in supporting troops but, more importantly, in providing a narrative that the public could use and unify around in WW II, was vital. From cartoons to classics like Casablanca, Hollywood provided touching, defiant, and even funny material as the world hung in balance between the Axis and the Allied forces. To a lesser extent, one can argue that the Korean War brought out a similar sense of purpose.

What changed? Vietnam is the quick answer but the longer answer is Vietnam in the context of the Cold War and the radical student groups and other left wing movements at home and around the western world. Direct Soviet influence over such radical groups can be debated, but they were literally reading from the same book. How important was this to undermining America's War effort in Southeast Asia? It most certainly played a part in forging domestic opposition to the war. What Vietnam would mean to the future of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union, however, is another matter. But the sacrifices made in that conflict played a part in the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. nearly 20 years later.

It is hard to say how Robin Williams politics evolved as he went from success to success and gave us a backdrop of wonderful stories against which we all lived our lives. What we can deeply appreciate is his clear understanding of how much troops matter to the freedom that allows such marvelous creations to be forged for the world's benefit. God Bless Robin Williams.

Posted by AllardK at August 13, 2014 6:59 PM
Comment #381869

As a member of the American Legion, I salute Robin Williams and all the entertainment he provided our armed forces around the world.

Posted by: Royal Flush at August 14, 2014 3:36 PM
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