Tuesday, December 20, 2016
I was going to write a different post about working with draft dodgers throughout my professional life from the mid 80s to 2015. During that time, draft dodgers who I worked with were deferential to me or avoided me. Because the men I worked with in multi-national companies, especially energy companies, did not serve, but were Conservatives. Although it was only my word, I began to think of them as NeverServatives. Some changed their political allegiance with the election of Ronald Reagan, some were always Conservatives, like Dick Cheney who famously said he had better things to do than serving in the Vietnam War.
But this evening a man driving a black Lexus like the one above parked in front of a local Starbucks in a way that blocked both the handicap ramp in the sidewalk and the fire hydrant. The arrogant SOB at the wheel of this expensive car jumped as much as a 250+pound man can from a drivers seat when I pointed out the error of his ways. He was belligerent and said he would knock me into next week, I laughed, told him to take a shot, and then called him a plus-size coward in Army language for blustering and backing off. I was wearing an Army workout jacket and jeans.
He was very well dressed and said my clothes were out of style--a very schoolyard insult for a 65-year-old rich guy. I said, "Army is out of style?" He said, "What are you some kind of local Guardsman or something?" I realized the way he said it, that he was a draft dodger and thought of the Army National Guard as a way to avoid war, the way it was during the Vietnam War. Looking in his face, I saw a look I had not seen since the Vietnam War. This draft dodger is now vindicated, at least in his own mind. When Bill Clinton was elected despite begging to get out of the draft, the Conservatives roasted him--with a huge helping of hypocrisy since they were mostly draft dodgers themselves.
But now draft dodging is "ancient history." The President Elect got elected after bragging about dodging the draft.
Draft dodgers wife returned to the car and they left.
Most of the soldiers I served with in our current wars take for granted that the public is pro-military. But now that someone who sneered at draftees will be in the White House, the military could drop in prestige. Trump has already trashed Prisoners of War. Every soldier is a government employee so cutting the size of the military would reduce spending.
When the rich, powerful men who dodged the draft are free from guilt for letting another man serve in their place, then Vietnam Veterans will be Losers again, and the veterans of our recent wars will not be far behind.