A Galling Affair

The lows just never get low enough for Donald Trump. He has proven himself a grifter, racist, sexual predator and xenophobe. Now he seeks honorarium which consists of a parade of tanks, missiles and armored cars, preceded by perhaps a division of soldiers in dress uniform passing in review.

Traditionally, passing in review amounts to a show of respect to an honored leader by saluting the guest as each rank of soldiers pass the reviewing stand. Our Commander-in-Chief deserves no such respect; he is a five-deferment draft dodger. If there is any decency left in America, a parade that serves to honor Donald Trump should be scuttled. Furthermore, it is my sincere desire that Donald Trump’s picture appears next the entry “white trash” in any future edition of the Dictionary for Slang.

There is a deep reverence in the military for offering a hand salute to a superior officer. Whatever the actual origin of today’s hand salute, clearly in the tradition of the US Army it has always been used to indicate a sign of respect―further recognition that in the profession of arms,  military courtesy is both a right and a responsibility of every soldier.

I was raised in a small, close-knit community. There were no strangers. The local paper reported who hosted whom for dinner on any given night. There were only 265 students in our school system the year I graduated from high school. Four of the 265, all volunteers, perished in a conflict our government had labeled as a “war against the spread of communism.”

One of the casualties lived right around the corner-a mile away-from my family farm. His father was the man who came to fix our water well when things went wrong. Dan is still remembered by those who were around at that time for dressing up like Abe Lincoln-top hat and all- and giving a stirring rendition of the Gettysburg Address before a large and appreciative crowd at a local fair. He died in a rice paddy and joined 58,000 other men and boys on a wall in Washington, D.C.

I was an athlete in high school, so I never rode the bus home. But every morning, Ted sat next to me on the bus ride to school. He was some kind of fun-loving cut up, and really enjoyed good natured pranks. He died on an offshore hospital ship one day after being shot in a rice paddy; another name on the wall.

Ollie sat next to me in World History class. He was a polite young man who thought of himself as an aspiring Elvis. He was often seen serenading his female classmates with the guitar he always carried around.  He quit high school to join the military and died in a jungle. His name is on several of the memorial walls.

I was living in a tent on the Korean DMZ, 250 yards from the single strand of barbed wire that separated North Korea from South Korea when President Johnson put out the call for a massive in Vietnam. I volunteered, and three days later the paperwork was approved. I had layovers in Okinawa and the Philippines. After exiting the plane, the first thing I passed was a row of body bags, a grim reminder of what might lay in wait. After returning to the states 15 months later, I found out that one of the bodies I passed that day was Bud, who played next to me on the line for our high school football team four years earlier. He loved Chubby Checker, and I can still see Bud “twisting the night away” at the dances which followed our home football games.

The “Trump” problem is not just treasonous scum like House of Representative members Devin Nunes, Jim Jordan and Matt Gaetz, who are laboring mightily to overthrow our constitutional republic. Nor is it the farcical conspiracy theories offered by the idiot Senator from Wisconsin, one Ron Johnson.  Rather, it is that man on the street American who says they don’t like the tweets, language or conduct by the President, but they like his policies because they are receiving some benefit. The best analogy for this clear hypocrisy is the “upstanding citizen” looking away while armed robbers take down a bank, and then meeting at some distant location for a share of the plunder.

Too often it has been a source of pain and tears for a grown man to remember boys who gave the last full measure of devotion in service to their country, so an obese, cowardly draft dodger could step off a helicopter on the White House lawn and return a salute to a smartly dressed Marine. Such a display of “respect” is an oxymoron for the ages.

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