by adam mathes
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Back In Nam

Do you know what I remember about the Vietnam war?

Nothing. I wasn’t born until 1980.

That the question as to whether John Kerry was under small arms fire or not under small arms fire when he pulled a man overboard onto his swiftboat over thirty years ago is becoming a central issue in the Presidential race is more than just sad. Anybody with half a brain can figure out that more than anything these are veterans who are still upset that Kerry had the balls to come back from Vietnam and say what by then was obvious: it was a mistake. A horrible, terrible mistake that innocent people were both killing and dying for.

But people my age didn’t live through Vietnam. And we were too young to be taught about it in school – it was still too fresh in the 1980’s and 1990’s to warrant discussion in most history classes. It occupies an odd place – part of the ever expanding perpetual present.

I don’t think my generation cares about what did or did not happen thirty years ago in Vietnam to earn John Kerry medals.

I don’t think think my generation cares whether John Kerry served with honor in Vietnam or not. My generation doesn’t care whether Bush used his family connections to get a safe spot in the National Guard or not. (Well, maybe they do, a little, but at this point if that is deciding someone’s vote, they have weird priorities.)

The point is – what the fuck? Are the baby boomers going to continue to be living in the 1960’s forever? Am I going to be in my 30’s, and still have to hear arguments about Vietnam during Presidential elections? Am I still going to have to stomach talk about how important the Beatles were? Converse, a wholly owned subsidiary of Nike, makes “John Lennon” shoes now… isn’t that enough to convince you people it’s over?

It was a stupid campaign strategy to focus on Kerry’s service in Vietnam in the first place. The convention should have been focused on positive directions for the future of this country. If Kerry was willing to talk about his service in Vietnam as well as his anti-war activism after it – which of course would have been much riskier – then maybe it would have been shrewd. In comparison to the current President not only did he serve in war rather than using privilege and power to avoid it, but then had the courage and gall to tell those in power that it was a wrongful and shameful endeavor.

The current soldier-shtick is not any different than when Bob Dole used to talk in the third person about his war service. It doesn’t feel right, and it certainly didn’t help him win the election.

More Americans are poor and without health insurance. Bush is on track to be the first President to report a net job loss during his time in office since Hoover. These are facts. Quantitatively verifiable facts. As any student of science knows, correlation does not imply causation, but anyone who is a student of reality would also conclude that this is probably at least partially, if not mostly a result of the administration’s domestic policies.

Our foreign policy is almost beyond comprehension, and whether you agree with it or not it’s definitely the President’s responsibility.

Anybody remember civil liberties?


That anyone would even consider focusing on Vietnam service in an election year like this is pathetic. Whether the public is swayed by Kerry or his seemingly slanderous opponents on Vietnam is a moot point. The very fact that we’re talking about it is Kerry’s loss and has been from the start. Reporting for duty indeed.

PS - Oh yeah, vote Kerry. Rah rah. Dems in 2004!!!

PPS - Fuck you Iowa. Fuck you so much for this. And you too other primaries that counted. What the hell were you guys thinking?

PPPS - No, seriously, vote Kerry, that Bush guy is nuts.

PPPPS - This is what happens when I write daily updates while drunk.

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