My dad has always been a super smart dude. When he kept seeing men his age getting drafted and shipped off to Vietnam only to get shot on the front lines, he said “fuck that shit!” But instead of fleeing to Canada, he enlisted in the navy since they were always on ships and in the water and not on land in the jungle. From what I understand, he asked if he could do what he’s best at, accounting, and they let him become a “paper pusher” as he called it, whatever that means. So he never had to shoot anyone or be shot at and he came home alive and that’s why me and my sister are even here today.
He was a republican for a long time because he thought they appreciated vets more and he was really pissed off when he came home from the war to find protesters. It really messed him up and he was really bitter about that for a long time. But after he saw that the republicans kept sending our boys into new barrels unnecessarily, he realized they weren’t at all looking out for military men. The breaking point was John Kerry. Finally there was a famous war vet openly against war. So my dad started volunteering for veterans for peace. He took so much pride in his work with them. And he made friends and felt less alone in his frustrations. He’s never been a volunteer type person, more a watch-tv-and-bitch-about-the-world-from-his-chair kind of guy, so to see him get such a sense of purpose and a passion for life out of this work made all of us so happy.
Now he doesn’t remember anything about the war and he was no idea the most dangerous politician in our history has the nuclear codes. Thank god for that. He can spend the last yeas of his life in relative peace instead of pissed off.
I’m proud that he has been a “freethinker” all along and did what he could with the choices he had. Maybe we should all think about that in the coming days and four years. How can we turn our shitty choices into something that gives us a sense of purpose and connects us with our fellow and makes us feel less powerless instead of being afraid and pissed off about it all from behind our tv screens and smart phones.
PS, this is the same man who was raised by a KKK Father but enthusiastically voted for Obama.