I did not serve in the military during VietNam, but rather did alternative service on a psychiatric unit of a hospital in Minneapolis. Gutter talk by a certain president notwithstanding, I honor my friends and compatriots who did serve and do serve in the armed forces, and I’m outraged by the despicable nonsense the president spewed about the service members who have given so much for their country.
I’m reminded of the Gettysburg Address, which you’ll recall was to dedicate a portion of the battle field there in honor of the soldiers who gave their lives in the cause of democracy. President Lincoln, toward the end of his very short speech, pointed out that he and the audience could not consecrate the ground, because those who died there had already made it sacred. But there is a task for us the living, he said: a task no less urgent today than it was in 1863.
“It is rather for us,” he said, “to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”If our democracy was endangered then, it is even more robustly in danger now. Please, friends, listen to President Lincoln. Vote on November 3.