by Dr. Mom
Clash Daily Guest Contributor
November 11 is, of course, Veterans’ Day. Once upon a time, it was Armistice Day, dated to the end of World War II. Its purpose is to commemorate the sacrifices made by those who have been part of the Armed Services of the United States, now and throughout our history.
In China, however, it is Singles Day. And, apparently, for some Internet retailers—specifically one that starts with an “O”—Singles Day is more important than Veterans’ Day.
Yes, you heard me. The day we consider a day of reverence for those who volunteered to lay down their lives if need be for the benefit and protection of others dawned this day in my inbox with an email from an Internet retailer beginning with “O”–who shall remain nameless–subject-lined “I [Heart] Me—Singles Day Is 11/11.”
Not to me, it’s not.
I can’t think of a more inappropriate day (well, maybe Christmas or Easter?) to turn into a day designed to celebrate the lack of a long-term commitment to another person.
Moreover, Singles Day was invented by Internet retailer AliBaba in 2009 as a sort of response to Valentine’s Day and a more explicitly commerce-focused version of a Chinese holiday called Bachelor’s Day. Young people have parties with their single friends, and Chinese media discuss various issues related to being single. Due to the size of the Chinese consumer base, it is the biggest shopping day in the world.
But this is America, and we already have a purpose for November 11.
Even if I were single (which I’m not—sorry, guys), I would still find this choice of date offensive. It annoys me that my children have to go to school that day, despite the fact that it is a Federal holiday. It ticked me off that I turned on a morning show Tuesday and saw Bill Nye, the anti-Creationism guy, being interviewed as to how dumb he thinks Christians must be, instead of veterans being honored. To have an American Internet retailer–headquartered in one of the reddest of red states, which does its billion-dollar business in U.S. dollars–to greet this day as “Singles’ Day” really spoiled my breakfast.
Now, at first I thought, well, it is a retailer. Maybe they don’t even know that it’s Veterans’ Day—which would, of course, be bad enough, but at least semi-forgivable.
But, no. Way up at the tippy-top of the email, in teeny-tiny letters, it says “Proud to Support Our Nation’s Veterans.” If you click that, it takes you to another page, where they brag about helping our Wounded Warriors and offer free club membership and free shipping for military personnel.
I’m not saying it’s not great that they offer free membership for veterans. And, yes, there are few charities as worthy as the Wounded Warrior Project.
But it was Veterans’ Day. And if you blinked or squinted, you’d miss that “Proud to Support” link. And maybe it’s just me, but I just don’t think Veterans’ Day should have to share its glory with any other moment. I don’t think you understand Veterans’ Day if you think it’s just being even-handed to put “Singles Day” on an equal footing with it.
Look, retailer. I know you didn’t invent this phony holiday. I’m sure you thought recognizing it would help your bottom line. And I’m sure you thought following like a puppy-dog after megabucks retailer Alibaba would make you look all cool and global and all.
But it doesn’t. It makes you look un-American, and greedy, and callous.
November 11 in America isn’t about being single. It’s about men and women who banded together in cohesive units, in barracks and foxholes, in deserts and jungles. Men and women who put on our nation’s uniform and laid down their individuality to become part of a team. It’s not about Karaoke parties and mindless consumption; it’s about parades and mindful gratitude.
So here’s my Veterans’ Day message to the Internet Retailer that starts with an “O” and polluted my inbox on Tuesday with its cavalier attitude toward the men and women our nation depends on to keep evil at bay: “Dear Retailer: Today was Veterans’ Day. Instead of properly setting it aside to honor our veterans, you chose primarily to consider it ‘Singles Day’, a made-up Chinese holiday that celebrates being disconnected from others, rather than sacrificing for them. More egregiously, you sent out emails on this day of honor containing the heading “’I [Heart] Me.” You’ve lost not just my business, but my respect. Take your discount shoes and bags and shove them in your foxhole. Because in my country, it’s not Singles Day. It’s Veterans’ Day.”
And you have a nice day.
Dr. Mom is a married mother of three boys and the author of Souls, Bodies, Spirits: The Drive to Abolish Abortion Since 1973. The hills she chooses to die on are the Bible and the Constitution, in that order. In addition to her American Studies doctorate, she also holds a Master’s degree in Forensic Psychology and is, therefore, perfectly equipped to interpret the current Administration. She also tweets as DrKC4.