The 60's are an important era that shaped much of who I am. My mother was very young when she had me so I really was very close to her growing up. I sometimes say that we grew up together. She was barely over 30 when I went off to boot camp. She was HUGE in the anti-war movement.
I've told this story before, but I actually lead the very first Peace March in New York City in 1966. My mother pushed me in a stroller at the head of the parade. There is a New York Times picture of it somewhere. She worked with the underground railroad getting people up to Canada who dodged the draft.
Yes, you're quite right in thinking she must have had a HUGE shit when I told her I wanted to enlist. Of course, over time, and being during peacetime, she understood my motivations and the missions of the U.S. Coast Guard. I wanted to work every day saving lives and not training to maybe take a life for no reason than someone told me that "they" were the "enemy."
You really cannot look at the 60's youth without understanding THE DRAFT. Every male was subject to being pulled off the street and shipped off to a war that really didn't matter to us. Some political know-it-alls told us that we were fighting for "something." Propaganda. Simple. Propaganda.
And now we're in the same mess. There is a "war" going on in which we really have no real business being there. I am a 24 year veteran of the United States Coast Guard, and am still serving as an Auxiliary Officer with the equivalence of a Full Commander or Lt. Col. I have served my country and my fellow human beings my entire adult life.
FUCK "WINNING" this war. It's not a war, and there will not be any winners, only losers.
There is one candidate who says he will end the war responsibly, in accordance with the wishes of the current democratically elected sovereign leadership of said country. He will surround himself with the best and most knowledgeable advisers. In fact, it is my guess that Sen. Webb of Virginia will be tapped to be Secretary of Defense. He is a graduate of Annapolis and a retired Marine Officer. He has written some incredible and thoughtful books.
The other is more interested in "winning" that he has clouded his judgment on what the purpose is. He was a POW for five years. He should KNOW BETTER!
Oh, and there is another war, by the way. One many have forgotten. The one against the people who attacked us. The one in which we were supposed to bring the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks to justice. Sen McCain said he would follow Bin Laden to the gates of Hell, but he won't bother to go to the cave he is living in right now! Oh, and the Bush administration has already committed the troops to Afghanistan in 2009. Um... WHAT troops??? We don't have any left over. The ones we have now are already on their fourth or fifth tour through the sandbox.
During the RNC I kept seeing the sign "COUNTRY FIRST." Um, Senator... WHICH COUNTRY???? And if I recall correctly, the very first words that THIS COUNTRY uttered in it's Constitution was: "WE, THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA." The very same Constitution I swore to protect and defend. The very same Constitution you are asking to allow you to stand on the steps of the Capital, place your hand on YOUR bible and swear to protect and defend it...
Yeah... THAT CONSTITUTION.
WE, THE PEOPLE are this country. I agree with you, Senator, you should put the country: WE, THE PEOPLE, first.
And take your self described pit bull in lipstick with you. What a disgrace you won't allow her to be interviewed by the press that represents WE, THE PEOPLE. Your campaign has said they will only allow her to do interviews that promote your campaign. In essence, only allow interviews that YOU control.
Oh, and if you haven't noticed, she has given TWO speeches that other people wrote for her, and THAT IS ALL WE'VE HEARD FROM HER!!! She just keeps repeating the same lines day in and day out on the campaign trail.
Well, you are smart about that. Gov. Palin is a compelling person. I do admire her for going from the PTA to the City Council and being Mayor, then Governor. She has more executive experience than YOU do, Senator McCain.
You are smart to not let her talk for herself, to express her OWN ideas of the super conservative right wing of your party. Ideas such that the Religious Doctrine of Creationism should be taught in schools. Oh and how is that Pre-Marital Sex is a Sin holding up? Oh, sorry... That is a family matter... Yes, and you right, you do have the choice for yourself as to keep the baby. Hey, wait... What a great idea... Let's let the families decide for themselves what to do about unexpected pregnancies... Where have I heard that before??? Anyone???
What I really believe is that the Republicans knew, just like they did in 1996 that they will LOOSE!!! Back then they put out another old war hero and a terrific and effective legislator to run. Sacrificial Lamb anyone?
Yeah, and if you do win, we'll end up with the first woman president before we knew it, because you will be sworn in as the oldest man to ever enter the office of President. And to demonstrate you capacity for well thought out decisions, you chose a woman MY age, who is the governor of a state with less than a million people, and who two years ago was mayor of a town of less than 9000. It is well known you wanted Joe Lieberman, but your party wouldn't allow it. You showed how much of a maverick you are by doing exactly what your party and handlers told you to do. THAT is "leadership?"
And as Arlo said, but that's not what I am hear to talk about. I am hear to talk about The Draft.
The only difference between now and Viet Nam was that now we don't have the draft.
Our all volunteer military, of which I am one, does our very best to follow the orders of the constitutionally assigned civilian authority. I do like this system. I do think that the military should have to answer to a representative of WE, THE PEOPLE.
And what makes America a super power is our ability to back up our policies with the might of the finest Armed Forces ever to be assembled, but wait... They are depleted. What are we going to do? What if we did go to war with Iran? What if the peace process in Israel broke down? What if North Korea did come across the demilitarized zone? What if Russia does decide to rebuild it's empire and start re-swallowing up former Soviet republics? What if the fragile peace between Pakistan and India ruptures over something as so delicate as Kashmir? Oh, and what about if we actually noticed the many genocides occurring in Africa?
And worse yet, what about the attacks we NEVER see coming?
Sen. McCain, you speak as if you wish to place our security above all else. That is a noble idea, but your plans do not call for a strengthening of our military to support the saber rattling you are doing with Iran and Russia.
No where WILL he turn for the resources to strengthen our military to match his war mongering???
Oh, look over here... It's the Selective Service database. I had to register, as all the male citizens of the US upon turning 18.
It is funny, though, that with Viet Nam, it was the Dems who started it. Our beloved JFK handed the Matchstick to LBJ, and Johnson lite it! And yeah... The war ended during Nixon's time.
SO yeah... One candidate who wants America to Be Strong, and wants to put the Country First, and pins his hops on the economy on Reagonomics. During the RNC, I heard McCain being introduced as one of the first "foot soldiers of the Reagan revolution."
AND the other candidate who wants America to Be Strong, by making sure Americans are Strong. Who wants to put Country First by fixing the mess of the last eight years, by putting people back to work, and keeping them in their (only) homes.
By Your God, Senators. The choice is so obvious, I really can't believe anyone could even think of voting for the Republican ticket this time around.
In 2000, I would have crossed over and voted for McCain. Now, not even the McCain of 2000 would vote for the McCain of 2008.