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View Diary: Many Republicans Aren't Racist: What does that have to do with veterans? (244 comments)

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  •  Keeping in mind *whose* stories . . . (18+ / 0-)

    such experiences as these are to tell, and the fact that they deserve to be considered on their own, untethered to other agendas:

    I have to say some things, and by the time I'm done, I have no doubt everyone will be unhappy.

    This is why some of us continually push back on the notion of "progressivism" or "liberalism" or "Democratic Party values" as defined by certain of those involved with Netroots Nation and other endeavors.  It is not a progressive value, nor a liberal value, to heap abuse on people whose experiences one has been privileged never to have to endure.

    How many of those making "babykiller"-like comments have ever served?  How many have ever done what their country told them was required for its defense? Alternatively, how many went willingly to prison for refusing to do so on moral grounds?  How many grew up in impoverished environments with the knowledge that their sole way out was through military service?  How many were wounded, maimed physically and spiritually, by bullets or IEDs or other ordnance, by seeing slaughter on a scale most Americans cannot and won't try to comprehend, by being forced to do that which flayed their very souls or seeing it done by others or having it done to them?  How many live every single day with the sure and certain knowledge that wrong trigger can send one back into that place, with the stench of blood and entrails and the deafening sights and sounds of death?

    DaNang65 is my brother.  We have not [yet] met in person, but he is my brother as surely as if he were blood.  Indeed, he might as well be:  My own blood brother was in-country in VietNam two years later, in 1967; his [mercifully short] tour left burned in his brain things that to this day he doesn't discuss.  But as to DaNang65, I know this man, I know his spirit, I know his essential goodness and humanity, despite this country's best efforts to rob him of both.  And anyone who would deny him that - who would deny him and his brothers and sisters a shot at life in all its fullness, including redemption, if that word suits your opinions of military service - anyone who would do that is not a progressive, not a liberal, and frankly, not a decent person.  No, it's someone who needs to check to see where his/her own humanity got lost, because it's certainly gone.

    I could say much more - too much more.  But I'll close with two things:

    I owe a debt of gratitude to those who were with him, including my sisters at this site who were there to do what I could not be there to do.  You know who you are, and now I do, too.

    To my brother DaNang65:  I do hope that, at some point, this site and the entities associated with it grow and evolve sufficiently that you feel that you can return.  If not, I understand that, and I fully respect your decision.  And I want you to know, in as public a way possible, how many of us here love you and are fully behind you - in this, and in so much else.

    Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

    by Aji on Sat Jun 29, 2013 at 11:59:12 AM PDT

    •  Aji, (10+ / 0-)

      I would like to share your last paragraph with Danang... if I have your permission. It gives him a reason to return after we have changed sufficiently. It might be enough.

      Thank you. Just thank you.

    •  {{{Aji}}} - I am so grateful for your comment (7+ / 0-)

      you speak my heart. I have not the gift of words you have, So I am so thankful you come to the rescue and I hope your words reach DaNang65's heart.

    •  Thank you. I came to this diary too late to jump (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Avilyn, llbear, Vetwife, kj in missouri

      in, but I did start a comment or two before I thought better of it.

      Those who would be cruel to a vet have no understanding of your comment. They have never sat and talked to a vet who had tears in his eyes. In that respect there is something lacking in their souls. That isn't their fault. They just haven't been there and therefore they have no right to judge.

      I'm very glad I wasn't at NN13. If I had seen that I'd likely still be in jail.

      Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

      by Just Bob on Sat Jun 29, 2013 at 09:09:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Tipping with one quibble. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Avilyn, llbear

      I continue to disagree with the semi-religious notion that one has to suffer personally to attain knowledge or understanding.

      Will I go 'willingly' to jail if I refuse service?  No - to do so would serve no particular purpose, other than for me to be 'punished' by people who believe I should do what they want.  I might indeed wind up in jail, but certainly not 'willingly'.

      On the other hand, I certainly would have no problem serving as a nurse in the military, with the understanding that I would never lift a weapon against another human being, and that I would do what I could to medically help any injured human, whether military, civilian, or 'enemy'.

      I hope DaNang decides to stay or come back.  Anyone making 'babykiller' comments is ignorant in the extreme.

      •  With great difficulty and all due respect... (3+ / 0-)

        I suffer from that guy thing. At times I have trouble wrapping words around strong emotions. That makes this difficult. That leads me to an anger that has a component of frustration at times.

        We're talking about soul rending and existential threatening experiences. I guess that's where the "semi-religious notion" comes in. The soul rending is a shorthand that I think most of us understand. To put it into other terms might require a Ph.D in psychology. The existential threat comes not from an armed enemy but from surviving the external threat while others have not. I think the suicide rate among vets is connected to both.

        As to empathy, I'll allow the possibility that some may be born with such a capacity but I'm not certain that's true in the context of this discussion. The experience doesn't have to be the same but I think those who share a soul rending and existential threat have something in common that others do not. There are some people who will never sit and listen to a vet speak of his experience or his thoughts and emotions that bring tears to his eyes simply because it's highly unlikely the necessary level of trust that would lead to such a discussion would never be established.

        Some of the comments to this diary have been very painful and I have lost all respect for those who have been so judgmental without any knowledge or experience in the matter at hand.

        Damn, I wish I were a wordsmith.

        Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

        by Just Bob on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 12:41:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  correction (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kj in missouri
          highly unlikely the necessary level of trust that would lead to such a discussion would never be established.
          highly unlikely the necessary level of trust that would lead to such a discussion would ever be established.

          Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

          by Just Bob on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 02:14:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I think you expressed it well enough, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Just Bob

          although in reality, the 'suffering' part of my comment was aimed at the notion of going to jail for refusing to take up arms, not at understanding PTSD or other trauma-related issues.  

          I noticed the same sense being expressed in various 'Snowden' diaries, that unless he would willingly throw himself into the arms of the US 'justice' system, that it somehow diminished the worth of his actions, or made him less credible.  And although I understand that that is a tactic that was used by civil rights crusaders, I'm not sure I agree with the 'willing' part, because that, to me, actually seems to bolster the notion that you're doing something that is wrong, rather than being penalized for trying to do what you feel is right.

          Being willing to risk jail, and even going to jail, to me, is distinct from saying you are 'willingly' going to jail.  I think I would say I am willing to stand up for what I believe, but that even if jailed, I would maintain that it was an injustice that served no purpose other than to punish me for daring to disagree with whatever law was 'broken'.  It would neither undo whatever I had done, nor change my stance on such a law, so it would be purposeless imprisonment.  And as such, I certainly don't see why Snowden, or anyone else, should want go to jail for breaking such laws if other options are open to them.

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