Vol. 3, Issue #6 March 21st - April 3rd, 2008

Tiger Bear From Hell at NONzine.com

By: Wilhelm Murg

Do We Want a Vietnam Vet for President?

(In case you start wondering what this column has to do with music, we mention the PMRC and Vietnam was rock’n’roll’s war.)

Okay, I’m not a nonpartisan journalist anymore. I vote for the candidate, not the party, and ironically I always find myself voting a straight Democratic ticket. The exception was when I abstained from voting in 2000 because I could not bring myself to put Tipper Gore in the White House, due to her creation of the Parents Music Resource Coalition (PMRC) in the 1980s. She apparently nagged her husband, then Senator Al Gore, to hold hearings on censoring rock music if the Record Industry Association of America (RIAA,) the mafia that protects the major labels, didn’t censor the industry itself,. Thius is why we have parental warnings on CD - and boy, wasn’t that a good idea! That way children would know, with one glance, which CDs were the good’n’dirty ones. The RIAA went along because they would benefit from a blank tape tax that the senate passed -which was the association’s first battle to get money from people trading music. Of course, we can all see how well that program is going today with all the peer-2-peer sights that are up and running 27/7.

Though I agreed with Al Gore on a lot of things, I felt Tipper would have started the whole stink all over again as first lady. I’m very pro-Freedom of speech, it’s what separates us from the barbarians. I thought George W. Bush was simply a moron who got in because his father was president. It was the only time I felt like I really couldn’t decide which candidate was the lesser of two evils.

Second, in airing where I stand, I grew up watching Vietnam on television as a child and it made me very anti-war. I have no problem going in and wiping out some sadistic asshole like Saddam Hussein and his family and getting out fast- and personally, I’m glad he was taunted in his final minutes. It’s when the bodies pile up with no objective in sight and we continue the shooting that I get worried. Yes, if you keep shooting at someone, they will keep shooting back at you.

With that said, I still have a respect for our men and women who go into the service because there are times when we REALLY need them - like attacking Hussein. I come from a family that goes into service for the shortest time possible, if they happen to be drafted, then leave as soon as they can get out. I was a sole surviving son, so I never had much of a chance of being drafted, even if the draft had been reinstated during my youth.

With all of that said, it’s really amazing to me that we may never have a Vietnam veteran for president. Yes, I realize it’s early yet, and Senator John McCain, a Vietnam Prisoner of War, no less, could get elected, but at this point, it seems like a hard sell. Personally, as a liberal Democrat, I think McCain would be a vast improvement over our current president, but at this time, where youth is more valuable than talent, I just cannot see a seventy year old man invigorating the consciousness of America.

Until Vice-President Dan Quail, it seemed that you needed to have a military background in order to even be thought of as presidential or vice-presidential material, but from that point forward, we have been ran by the draft dodgers, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. This is mind blowing to me! A military man like John Kerry had the rug pulled out from under him by someone whose service in the Texas National Guard during Vietnam has come under question? And please note, back during the Vietnam War, National Guardsmen were seen as very lucky buggers. So what does that tell you about our opinions on Vietnam?

Okay, maybe we don’t want someone prone to war flashbacks to have their finger on the button, or snapping and going back into commando mode if they visit Vietnam. Since the early 1980s we’ve had this sanctimonious crap about how the country has come together and really does accept the Vietnam Veterans as American Heroes. It all started when Hanoi Jane Fonda starred in the film “Coming Home” as a Vietnam soldier’s wife, this came a few years after she broadcast anti-American propaganda to our soldiers while she was visiting North Vietnam. Even Oliver Stone, who I generally like as a filmmaker, ended Ron Kovic’s story “Born on the Forth of July” like he was accepted as a respected key note speaker at the 1976 Democratic convention. I remember that night; no one seemed to pay attention to him, aside from a few Veterans who were waving their hands back and forth like somebody farted. Kovic’s speech was not a great moment in history - Yes, it was historical, but he was there to nominate draft dodger Fritz Efaw as the Vice-Presidential Candidate. Remember Efaw? He’s not even listed in Wikipedia!

For all of the “healing” we’ve gone through, when we think of Vietnam in pop culture I think the majority of people take their cues from surrealism, such as “Apocalypse Now,” where everyone in the military was crazed or dropping acid on the battlefield, or even Christopher Walken keeping the gold watch up his ass for years as a P.O.W. in “Pulp Fiction.”

If no Vietnam veteran ever makes it to the presidency it will be a historic spit wad in the face. After all the crap the Vietnam vets have been through, not only in the war, but here at home once they returned, just goes to show that it really was a mess that we would rather forget, and it will show how cheap all the big talk of acceptance is worth.

This column is dedicated to my old friend, Sgt. Jim Tyner, of the 101st Airborne Division. He was one of the coolest guys you could ever hope to meet and a friend to everyone. He died of multiple fragmentation wounds April 15th, 1970, less than a year after he was stationed in Vietnam. One day we’ll all have a drink with him in Valhalla.

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