Regurgitation for Fun and Profit...
I checked the calendar this morning to make sure that it was, in fact, 2004. This may seem, at first blush, to be strange behavior, but it was necessitated by the continuing references to the Vietnam War. When I went to school, I was assured that American involvement in that conflict ended sometime in 1975. I have a vague memory of helicopters taking people off the roof of a building and an airline pilot, bendishing pistol, beating oriental-like men over the head in a vain attempt to keep them from storming his airplane, but that is all I can formally remember about the end of the war.
Apparently, I'm mistaken, and the war IS NOT over, at least not for some of us. A certain Senator from Massachusetts keeps reminding us about it. The problem with his reminders, however, is that it seems that his own memories are somewhat flawed and imperfect with regards to what actually happened in Vietnam, what he actually DID in Vietnam, and with what he did AFTER he left Vietnam.
As for this certain Senator (who shall remain nameless, as I really do not need to waste valuable bandwidth typing his name), who sorta-kinda looks like a cross between Droopy the cartoon dog and a cigar store wooden Indian, and who, it appears, would be quite comfortable in a beret, the war is the only event in his life worth talking about. Eighteen years in the United States Senate garners nary a mention. Being married to two fabulously wealthy heiresses, merits no discussion at all. This Senator cannot point to any interesting biographical point or achievement for the last 35 years, BUT, we're told that four months of service in Vietnam qualifies him, unquestionably, for the office of President of the United States.
Now, naturally, since this certain Senator is a democrat (small 'd' intentional), we have to take anything he says with a grain of salt, especially when it comes to four months of service in a war that supposedly ended 35 years ago but is all the man can find to talk about.
This certain Senator kept meticulous reords of his four months of duty: he had a diary, a movie camera, and of course, the military keeps records on everything in an anal-retentive fashion and keeps the paperwork stored in various warehouses for centuries on end. However, despite all of this easily-referenced documentation, the man can never seem to remember anything at all about those four months, and what he does remember, is often incorrect.
The Senator claimed to have been in Cambodia during a time when the President of the United States denied that American trooops were anywhere near Cambodia. Not only does the Senator get the dates incorrect, he claims it was 1968, but he also gets the President incorrect. He claims Richard Nixon was the President, when according to all the other history books, it was Lyndon Baines Johnson. He claims to have been in combat in Cambodia when there were no American troops in Cambodia at that time. It furthermore emerges that the Senator was more than 50 miles from Cambodia. He claims that such memories are SEARED into his memory. No problem, the Senator MIGHT have been mistaken, but we all know what he meant. Wink- wink, nudge- nudge.
The Sentaor claimed to have been wounded in combat against the enemy on a certain date, and yet his journal recalls no hostile action on that particular date. No problem, the Senator MIGHT have been mistaken, but the actual event happened sometime (within 365 days) of the date in question, but we all know what he meant. Wink-wink, nudge-nudge.
The Senator, before he was a Senator, could go before a joint-session of Congress and claim first-hand knowledge of American war atrocities, and even admit to having taken part in such attrocities, but it was everyone ELSE who was a war criminal, not the soon-to-be-Senator. Hypocricy, apparently, is a disease democrats are immune to, especially when we all know what he meant. It's not the allegations or the admission that's important, it was the reason why he came forward, that matters. Just for that, he should be given a free pass. Wink-wink, nudge-nudge.
The Senator can also not remember having his statements passed around by the Viet Cong to American POW's, even though many of those POW's claim to have had them thrust in their faces every day. He also cannot recall being part of a group that plotted the assasination of various members of the American government, not even being present at the actual meeting where the discussion took place, despite the recollections of about 84 other people, who were also present. But that's okay, we know what he meant. Wink-wink, nudge-nudge.
Vietnam is over. The 60's are over. And 35 years have passed and the historical record is clear and available to anyone with half a brain and the ability to read. This Senator is full of shyte, but, it's okay, we're supposed to just believe that we all knew what he really meant. He would have you, the public, trust him to run the country, to protect the country from it's real and active enemies, and to have your best interests at heart. He makes this claim based on four months of his life, the datils of which are either fuzzy, fabricated, concrete, nuanced, complicated, obfuscatory, or otherwise contradictory, as needed or dictated by the political wind, depsite documentary evidence compiled by the United States Navy, the press, and his own journals and film records. That four months was then overshadowed by several years of anti-Vietnam war activities, some bordering on treason, and are supposed to be swept under the rug, because his heart was in the right place?
Only a Baby Boomer could come up with that sort of reasoning. Baby Boomers, as a group, are a narcissistic lot, quick to avoid responsibility, quick to attach blame, who move rapidly to attach the most noble of motives to their own selfish and self-serving behavior. Bill Clinton did it for eight years, live, on television. Countless others have done it for decades in books, articles, documentaries, etc, etc, that are all designed to make it appear as if their generation actually accomplished something other than turning Bob Dylan into an international success.
The 60's have been dead and buried for quite a long time, and the verdict of history is that the 60's should be a collective embarrasment to Americans. A generation of youth that believes they "spoke truth to power" managed to do nothing of the sort. The war dragged on until the mid 1970's, and their protests did nothing ot ameliorate the fact that conflict in Vietnam was centuries old to begin with. How many millions were saved by the "Summer of Love"? None. How many American boys were saved by the protest movement? None. How many Vietnamese and Cambodians lived to enjoy the luxury, of a rich, self-centered, democratic country that could debate it's own policies to the detriment of it's own interests while riding high on a cloud of pot smoke? None. How many Cambodians and Vietnamese could enjoy a slew of social programs running the gauntlet from Affirmative Action to Judicial Activism to Social Security? None.
The 60's generation accomplished nothing. It did not stop the killing, it did not save one damned life and it fractured the landscape of America for the next two generations with it's idiocy and it's selfishness. But they meant well.
And we're supposed to believe that a product of that generation, who spent four months of his entire life engaged in what his generation calls a "lost cause" and then his subsequent time trumpeting his service during it, and who obscures even the most easily verifiable parts of that four months, has the fiber to be President of the United States? That Generation ran Nixon out on a rail for being a two-faced liar. It considers it's own lying a qualification for office.
We live in 2004 (I checked) and the events of 35 years ago bear little relevance to the world of today, except as far as what the intervening decades tell us about the people who lived then. It tells me that we have a bunch of folks who live in a fantasy world in which they believe that only they have a right to objectivity, truth, morality, history, and to be heard, and that what they think about anything is the only correct version. Of course, all of this is subject to the whims of the individual and what he/she requires, needs or feels at any given moment.
So, if the Senator says he was in Cambodia, when all other records indicate he was not, then it must be true for AT LEAST HIM, and the rest of us are obliged to believe it because, somehow, we mystically "know" what he's really talking about. If the Senator says he FELT that his protests against a war he himself fought in are morally correct, then we are obliged to believe it too. If the Senator has faulty memories, we're obliged to join with him in sharing them. If the Senator can admit to committing war crimes, we're obliged to forgive him because he only brought them to light in the name of "justice" or for some self-centered reason that only he can explain. The facts can be made to fit the truth or they can be stretched fit any truth you wish to fit them to. This is the essence of the 60's generation. This is also, apparently, a qualification for the Presidency: don't listen to what we say, try to divine the hidden meaning of what we MEANT.
Personally, I prefer a leader who can be counted upon to say what he/she really MEANS, and then has the guts to stand behind it or the audacity to defend it, when required. Even if he speaks in incomplete sentences and has a bad grasp of the English language because in the end, I don't have to expend braincells on translating vague and subjective concepts into reality.
The 60's generation should get over itself. We live in a new era.