Wednesday, July 04, 2007
This is a photo of me in boot camp. Those were the days of 3-masted schooners and whaling dinghies and leaving Bedford, Mass on year-long cruises...
Oh, alright, it was 1968 and pre-dentistry. I was 20 and skinny as a rail (well, I was 6'5" and weighed about 175 pounds). I've gained a few pounds and gotten the teeth fixed since then.
Notice the "farmer's tan" on the face. They've removed my spectacl... er, eyeglasses, which had served to shield my eyes from the harsh San Diego sun from July to September through grueling days of hour upon hour of physical drill on the "grinder" at the Recruit Training Center. The rest of my face is burnt to a crisp. I had a matching tan on the backs of my hands. The rest of me looked like the underside of a freshly caught fluke.
I was not a gung-ho American. Had I been I would've been finishing up Army bootcamp and eagerly anticipating being shipped out to 'Nam, where I could've killed gooks and eaten dead, burnt, babies.
When the draft notice arrived in the mail, just after the 1st of the year in 1968, I upheld a fine old family tradition of cowardice and followed in my daddy and granddaddy's footsteps and enlisted in the Navy instead.
Like I said, I was not a "gung-ho" American and, in fact, harbored deep anti-war feelings regarding the fiasco in Viet Nam. In my few, short years in the service I came across many men and women who felt as I did. They loved their country and hated the war. It was there, then, that I realized that:
I could support the troops without supporting the policies of the government or the President.
I saw lifers (career people) happily join me and other 1-termers in anti-war demonstrations in Washington, DC many, many times. I also saw them being torn apart coming to terms with the implications of that sentence I stated above. That it WAS possible to love one's country, to support it's military, and YET have zero respect and support for the civilian government and it's insane policies.
I had no such problem then. I still don't. I never once disobeyed a direct order from a superior officer, nor did I ever shy away from constitutionally protected expression of my beliefs.
Today more than ever it is evident that the current Administration mocks the law, spits on the Constitution and has nothing but contempt for the electorate.
Now is the time for true patriots to speak out loudly and clearly in defiance of the Executive Branch and to do everything we can to light a fire under the Legislative to bring the gang of thugs running the White House to heel and to justice.
Let us not be afraid to yell "TREASON" when we see it.
Happy July 4th, everyone!