Draft-dodging—a wise decision
Kerry lately has had to defend himself against flimsy charges made by some veterans who say Kerry lied about his wounds in ’Nam and didn’t deserve his purple heart or his scarlet letter or his silver doughnut or whatever it was, and that they felt compelled to “set the record straight.” Well, hey, wrench-wielding swift boat crabs, I don’t give a bleep about you “setting the record straight!” Just like, honestly, I don’t give a bleep about President Bush’s phantasmic career in the National Guard.
There are some important things to remember about that particular time in American history. One is that anybody with half a brain back in 1970 worked with the loopholes that were available in the Selective Service System to do whatever he could to not go to Vietnam. By 1970, it was obvious that the war positively sucked and that the intelligent thing for any young man to do was whatever it took to make sure you did not go to Vietnam. In fact, not only was “dodging the draft” a sign of intelligence, it was also pretty darn cool. Yes, one was cool if one found a suitable loophole by which one would not get sucked into the military meat grinder. (A point of semantics here. You only really “dodged the draft” if you motated across the border to Vancouver or Saskatoon. If you played the game to avoid time in ’Nam, you didn’t dodge the draft, you just played the game, and you could win at the game in a variety of legal and socially acceptable ways—with a physical 4-F deferment, a student deferment or a Guard deferment, to cite some of the more popular examples.)
So if you’re gonna call Bill Clinton a “draft dodger,” you damned well better call George W. Bush one, too, because they both yanked on some serious strings to get the job done, the job being the all-important not go to Vietnam. I don’t call either of them “draft dodgers.” It’s a moot point, considering the social context of the time.
In fact, if one guy looks kind of like a ding-dong in this whole mess, it’s Kerry! I mean, here’s a young man, coming from an upper-class background, who could have pulled off a completely legal sidestep around the system, à la Bush and Clinton, and he … gulp … signed up to go to ’Nam? Good lord, what exactly was he thinkin’ back then?
In the end, then, we have John Kerry, with a solid career in the service, and Dubya, with more of a, shall we say, slacker effort. Big deal. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is all that has gone down since November of 2000. If, in that time, George Bush hasn’t given you at least nine rock-solid reasons to vote his jug-eared ass back to the ranch, you must be … well, you must be a Republican.