Two recent guest columns seem to me to need discussion. One expressed the belief that men who went to Canada during the Vietnam War to avoid the drafts should be tried and executed for their actions. Well I guess we should also include men who avoided the drafts and Vietnam service by volunteering for the National Guard and Reserve in these mass executions. And also men who applied for and received college draft deferments and of course the ones who quickly married when Uncle Sam wasn’t drafting married men. But if we added all these men to our list of “traitors,” Bill Clinton and George Bush would never have been elected to be president of the United States. Dick Cheney and the vast majority of our present Congress would now be dead, along with more than 90 percent of the sons of the well to do and wealthy in this country.
The fact is the Vietnam War was fought largely by the sons of this nation’s poor and lower middle class. The people who did the dying were almost all Army and Marine Corps. The 58,000 men killed in that war and the quarter million maimed for life were not the sons of the rich, powerful and educated — or even the sons of the well off. The men too smart to be used as cannon fodder used the system to accomplish the exact same results as the men who went to Canada.
Who is less patriotic — the men who supported the war and avoided combat service or the men who didn’t support the war and avoided service? It’s the hypocrisy of the war supporters that gives me the most heart burn.
I don’t exclude myself from combat avoidance. The threat of the draft was one of the reasons I joined the Air Force in 1963. I have cousins who joined the Navy for the same reason. With the exception of a hand full of aviators and river boat crewmen, we in the Air Force and Navy were safe. It’s pretty easy to condemn others when you spent the war on some safe base or ship.
The other column I reference is the one supporting voter ID laws. I completely agree that voting should be restricted to citizens who have not lost their right to vote due to a felony conviction. The problem with voter ID laws is that there is absolutely no evidence that non-citizens and felons are attempting to vote. The cases of voter fraud in this country are limited to a few dozen in the entire country over the last 10 years. And almost all of these cases involved absentee voting. The total number of fraudulent votes wouldn’t affect the outcome of a single dog catcher.
In a nation that can’t get its legal voters to the polls, the idea that people who avoid contact with government for any reason have suddenly developed an intense interest in politics is too ridiculous to discuss further.
But these laws are not harmless, about 10 percent of legal voters do not have a picture ID. These voters are overwhelming elderly, female, poor, young or minorities. These laws are really aimed at making voting more difficult for people who usually vote Democrat. These laws are just another example of the moral corruption of the Republican Party in their quest to achieve and maintain political power; I remember when laws were passed to encourage voting.
Dennis Tilly is a guest columnist and resident of Weatherford. He is double retired from the Air Force and insurance business.