Story and By Ken Krayeske • 10:00 AM EST
Okay, life has been a little packed with finishing law school and studying for the bar, but I have to follow up on the previous post about rJo Winch.
Kevin Brookman over at Wethepeople picked it up, and subsequently discussed multiple other campaigns (1, 2) that do not know how to use a dictionary, or stretch the truth like Dick Blumenthal. Brookman noted that rJo's misspelling pales in comparison to Blumenthal's military service exaggerations.
Some anonymous ranter sent me an e-mail telling me I was big-headed and egotistical for critiquing rJo on this. I dismiss this because it is from an anonymous person. But lo and behold, when I opened my e-mail last Friday afternoon, I found this from rJo herself:
Thanks for saying you will never vote for me. Isn't America wonderful? This represents the voice of a person who shares the democracy that I spent 23+ years of my life defending while serving in the United States Air Force or various assignments. Thank you for participating in our democratic system. Your comments also confirm that this is a country that is for the people, of the people and by the people. There is hope for a better tomorrow.
At first blush, rJo and I agree seem to agree on basic tenets of this American representative democracy - the need for gratitude, the right to free speech, and the right to vote.
While I am not sure what her "various assignments" were, (did she serve in another branch?), I am concerned about the subtext of rJo's e-mail: that military service elevates her opinion, and lessens mine to the point . Perhaps this is why Blumenthal felt the need to lie about his military service.
By coupling my critique of her ambition with reference to her ilitary service, rJo forces the reader to take my opinon in context of military service. Her time served protecting the Constitution makes her more of a citizen than myself, and she is more worthy of free speech than myself.
In an imperialitic, hierarchical society like that in the United States, members of the military can hold themselves above reproach. Americans defer to persons in uniform because that cloth allegedly represents the currency of liberty. This is why people get so angry about Blumenthal and his stolen valor, because military service is sacrosanct.
It is sort of an inverse of Mao's edict that power comes from the barrell of a gun. We have democracy because good men and women wear the uniform and carry guns and put their lives on the line. That, to me, is not the full measure of why we have a vital, thriving democracy.
Perhaps I tread on heresy if I contend that the military, at least right now, does not protect our vital interests in democracy and freedom, but instead endangers these liberties. I remain wary of those hoisting the flag in an attempt to burnish their bona fides as public servants. There are many other ways to serve humanity.
I elevate the human race above country, because nationhood is an interest that can be manipulated and controlled by forces of evil and profit. If Vietnam wasn't a sufficient example of colonialism, then Iraq and Afghanistan should surely show us that wars can be fought for private interests.
I see it as more of a badge of honor that someone would have been a conscientious objector during Vietnam, than having recieved and sought draft deferments. I see even more valor in those who put their lives on the line protesting policies they know harm their community's interests. I will not criticize those who donned the uniform out of economic necessity, as it may have been the best way out of a bad situation.
But to use the uniform as insulate against criticism, and to pretend that wearing colors makes you superior to others whose service to their people may not be in that arena, cheapens the debate. It has been said that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, and loyalty to country, when used as evidence for love of freedom, damages our humanity.
In summary, rJo, I disagree. I would be prouder of your service, and you would earn my vote for representative if you would stand up and say: "I understand what serving our country means, but to use servicemembers to fight an illegal, immoral invasion of a soveriegn nation harms our national security. The current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are destroying our city and state. And we need to stop them."
But since you have yet to make a public stand against the war. Instead, you utilize your status as a veteran to protect against your own frailties (many of which I share since we are both imperfect people), I'd sooner cast a blank ballot than vote for you.