Harming your country and yourself

From my Writing Room

Copyright © 2020 by Uwe Bahr

Quotation taken from: Tampa Bay Reporter, June 20, 2020:

A Supervisor of Elections in Florida said “she comes from a family dedicated to service to our country …” Her father, a veteran of the U.S. Army, “defended America from enemies that would do us harm.”

One has to savor the words slowly coming from an acting Supervisor of Elections, the more so as her father served in a war which the United States had lost – both politically and militarily. It remains an interesting question how he could have defended America from enemies in Vietnam under such circumstances and thousands of miles distant from his own homeland. And when did it ever happen that the winner of the war – North Vietnam – went to the United States to do you harm? Were it not the Americans who went to Vietnam under spurious arguments and lies, engaging themselves in a war which brutally harmed the civilian population there – children, women, and old people, who had no chance to defend themselves as it was in almost any other war? Vietnam to this day suffers the consequences of the atrocities bred by the US, to mention “Agent Orange” as just one keyword among others.

The supervisor’s words undoubtedly would have carried a useful message with them had she stated: “My father as a young man experienced the misfortune of being sent into a war that was useless for America and could have easily cost his life as it did for 58,000 of his comrades. Had he paid the ultimate price, I would not even be in existence and consequently not in a position of talking to you, let alone serving in a public function. Let’s face reality, let us never again walk the path of pseudo-patriotism.”

A statement too much to expect from a highly intelligent woman because she is trapped in a society not allowing her leeway in this highly sensitive, patriotic matter – or do her words really emanate from not more but a Republican-brainwashed conviction?

Furthermore, a conclusion like the one suggested would have been in full accordance with a more prominent insider of the Vietnam disaster and once upon a time war hawk named Robert S. McNamara, US-Secretary of Defense under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. McNamara, who later would also warn President George W. Bush of another uselessly triggered war – the one in Iraq in 2003 -, stated in 1995 in reference to the American war in Vietnam: “We were wrong – I believe, we were terribly wrong … and we owe it to future generations to explain why.”

Did this Supervisor of Elections ever hear of these explanations, has she ever learned of it, or has she just positioned herself in ignorance? Her father, who “defended America”, never told her the truth? That the fighting and dying in Vietnam was in vain and not to protect anyone from an enemy who never did you any harm?

Whatever the case, as a member of the Grand Old Party and in times of misguidance and uncertainty the Supervisor missed the exemplary opportunity to publicly articulate a pioneering message toward fellow citizens in her locality about the necessity of a general, mandatory rethinking within the American society. Instead, as a potential candidate for the political progeny, she presented herself as a diehard with words Americans have had rammed down their throat too often in the past, words out of touch with reality and history, words decidedly inept for a personal leadership claim including the ability of pointing the way into a better future. Such candidate might do for the job of Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections, but never to commend herself for higher tasks – at least not in a semi-normal society.

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