Peter Brookes holds up the mirror with a cartoon so simple that I almost passed it by as obvious.
But sometimes “obvious” is the best message, the clearest possible image, and Trump makes it obvious himself, and not only by adopting the “America First” slogan that our bund leaders and isolationists used when they were sympathizing with the Nazis or, at least, holding back from joining the rest of the civilized world in actively opposing them.
But, as Jimmy Margulies points out, he was a draft dodger, one, perhaps the most clear, of his behaviors in a pattern of self-indulgent selfishness that is ingrained within his personality (I almost said “within his character”).
For those who were not there, let me explain the options for those who were drafted in the Vietnam era:
- You could, of course, head down to the induction center and take the oath. I had many friends, mostly from high school, who did this, though several others enlisted on their own.
- You could also, between the time you got the letter and the time you were required to report, enlist in a different branch of service where the odds of ending up in the mud were less. A more common action by my college friends, particularly if you include the National Guard, which was considered more of a cheat than an actual dodge, since it was far less of a commitment than the Air Force or Navy.
- You could claim Conscientious Objector status, though you were required to prove a deep religious conviction. The people I knew who achieved this had a long-established presence in their church. It was harder, particularly as the war went on, to simply show up and claim a religious objection.
- You could leave the country. At one point, I had a terrific Canadian girlfriend whose father was in provincial government, and it would have been a slam dunk, except that I didn’t feel okay with doing it. (Since I was never drafted, I don’t know what I would have done.)
- One thing I wouldn’t have done was to go underground. I knew a couple of people who did this and it sounds a lot more romantic than it was. If resisters and ex-pats had not been pardoned, I don’t think this life could have sustained much longer.
- You could resist. I had two friends with the cojones to refuse induction and serve jail time, and one of them could easily, easily have been a CO, except that he considered that a cop-out, a way of cooperating with and thus endorsing an immoral system.
- You could use your Daddy’s connections to dodge your way out, or find some way to sabotage your physical. Exploiting a disability you weren’t required to claim was considered relatively honorable, but inventing one or otherwise lying your way out was draft dodging and nobody of any character accepted it.
And as long as I’m waxing historical, let me add one more thing:
Taking a II-S (student) deferment was absolutely honorable and hundreds of thousands of young men did that, including many, many who then served with honor in Vietnam.
Donald Trump took “five deferments” but nearly every officer who served — except for those who went to service academies or were on ROTC scholarships — took four.
Stop using “five deferments” as a symbol of Trump’s cowardice; it was only the fifth that showed his utter, contemptible lack of character.
Where were we?
Ah, yes, on the shores of Normandy, where Patrick Chappatte depicts him hearing a French official say, “By their sacrifice, they vanquished the Atlantic Wall,” to which Trump responds, “Eh? What? A wall?”
Not that Trump didn’t honor those who died on June 6, 1944, though, as Dave Brown suggests, his heart may not have been entirely with only one side of the conflict.
Brown isn’t the only cartoonist to contrast Trump’s sympathy with white supremacists with the spirit of the day, but by showing the actual wreath-laying with active duty personnel in the background, he steps over and above. (The weasel being, perhaps, gilding the lily a bit, but within the traditional insult-flinging tradition of British cartoons.)
Jason Chatfield offers another example of Trump’s blinkered view of reality, in light of his bizarre claim that there were no demonstrations against him despite the clear, obvious evidence that protesters turned out in massive numbers to decry his visit.
Of course, aside from lying over 10,000 times since he took the oath of office, Trump also recently denied calling Meghan Markle, aka the Duchess of Sussex, “nasty,” with his followers putting out, in certainly the most bizarre defense of Dear Leader yet, a recording of the interview in which he specifically refers to her as nasty.
The “Official Trump War Room” put out that bizarre non-explanation, but such a tough-guy stance representing such an abject coward makes it sound like “Gandhi’s House of Ribs” or “Dahmer’s Uber Service.”
In any case, as the Rock Man said to Oblio, “You see what you want to see, and you hear what you want to hear.”
Though Mike Luckovich gives Dear Leader credit for being bright enough to know when he’s been dissed, even if he’s not smart enough to come up with a sensible response.
And as long as we’re back on this side of the Atlantic and talking about Trump’s bizarre, self-defeating economic adventurism, RJ Matson adds one of the more encouraging developments, the Republicans’ growing skepticism over such foolish policies and the chance that they will finally stand up to Dear Leader and do their jobs as legislators.
Well, one can hope.
Meanwhile, lest we forget, many young men stepped up and served, 75 years ago, and they didn’t all come home.
One who died shortly after D-Day was George Rarey, a cartoonist and commercial artist who kept a graphic journal of his time in the Army Air Corps, including some of the nose art he created for his buddies.
His son posted it online.
Go there, poke around and get the taste of Trumpery out of your mouth.
8 thoughts on “CSotD: D-Day Plus One”
Trump thinks it’s all about him. Since avoiding VD was his personal Vietnam (per his appearance on Howard Stern’s show), we should honor him appropriately on VD-Day.
There was an 8th option, if you were willing to go down that road. A friend of mine, whose draft number was something like 11 or 12, reported and told them — quite honestly — that he was gay. They didnt take him one step further in the process; he was immediately shown the door.
– it seems opportune to tell of Family involved with those events of 75 years ago. Grandfather, an army Chaplain, served in WWI and WWII, wounded in action. Father and Uncle served in the Pacific and Korea, and Uncle was a Green Beret in ‘Nam. My Mom and most of my aunts joined as nurses, two of which were the first women on the Beach on D-Day +1. I have a photo of them marching through a gap in the berm from a landing craft onto the beachhead, head to toe in uniform, helmets, flack jackets and packs. All came back, more or less in one piece. G’pa had taken a couple rounds of .50 caliber in one leg, Dad had a scratch requiring stitches but turned down the offered Purple Heart: too many around him had Earned theirs the hard way.
This August, I am burying both Mom and Dad in Arlington Nat’l Cemetery, having lost them both recently. They will be honored. They were the last of our Greatest Generation.
The family had all been life-long Republicans, until 2016. Dad quit them in disgust. The only ones who still are are trumpers, climate change deniers and anti-vaxxers. What happened to us??
Sean, I’d include that in “exploiting a disability you weren’t required to claim.” I knew plenty of people who planned to falsely claim it, as it was a well-known out, but I also strongly suspect that a lot of people who were gay but did not object to serving kept it to themselves.
Richard, your mention of chaplaincy reminds me that another way to avoid doing any of the shooting was the I-A-O status, which meant you were willing to be drafted but wouldn’t carry a weapon. This largely meant either a medic or a chaplain, but I’m told that, once medics found out a Red Cross on your helmet was no protection, their objection to being armed frequently evaporated. I think chaplains braved it out for the most part. Different sense of having God on your side.
Mike, the one story where Superman went to Vietnam, he had Clark Kent go as a medic.
Only lasted one issue and he didn’t win the war for us.
Mike, a lot of us who were _deeply_ in the closet in the ’60s faced an existential question on draft day: Come out to the draft board and later in the day come out to (hopefully surprised) family members or stay in the closet in the Army. During my two-year stint I never met another gay man, but I’m sure there were plenty serving as best they could.
Famously, when Clark Kent was called up for the draft in WWII, he absent-mindedly used his Supermanish x-ray vision and thus read the eye chart in the adjoining room, through the wall — which caused his own examiner to flunk him, since he got everything wrong. (At least that’s the legend I’ve read about several times; I don’t think I ever saw the actual story.)
To my own surprise, my eyesight proved so bad that I got a 1-Y (or “let’s hope the war never gets so intense that we have to scrape the bottom of the barrel for you”) classification. I knew I was very near-sighted (I’d worn glasses since the middle of first grade), but didn’t know it was *that* bad. Not that I complained.
One more technique: the one used by Trump supporter Ted Nugent.
Comments are closed.