Diary Of A Fool

It would seem now that the only people who ever supported Joe McCarthy were John Birchers and other rightwing loons far out of touch with sanity.  Somehow Tailgunner Joe not only got elected himself but struck terror in the heart of liberals.  A recent book described the ability of Joe McCarthy to destroy Democratic politicians who opposed him.  Oddly it was a Republican, Eisenhower, who really did Joe in.

I was young and foolish once, instead of old and foolish as I am now.  I believed.  I believed in Joe McCarthy, the virgin birth, heaven and hell, everlasting fire and torment for sinners.  And then I volunteered for Vietnam.

Most Americans probably didn’t know there was a Vietnam at the time.  Eisenhower was president.  Ike was resisting the efforts of Dick Nixon and John Foster Dulles to expand the war in order to stop the Communist monolith from capturing the entire world.

There was one private, me, and three generals in Vietnam when I arrived.  Wasn’t bad those days overall.  In fact it was very good duty compared to most any duty elsewhere.  It wasn’t until my second year in Vietnam that the Viet Cong started bombing and shooting Americans.  Somewhat unpleasant to get bombed, as I was.  One sergeant was later to become the first American to make it onto the Wall.  

I visited that memorial once.  Maybe it was something that got in my eye so that I couldn’t find the name of that long forgotten soldier.  Bad scene.  An old fool standing by a wall full of names of long deceased soldiers, who needed the help of his bride of 40 years to get away from that place with all the smoke or whatever it was.

That Viet Cong bomb didn’t do nearly the damage to this old fool, who was then a young fool, that a JFK fan later did. I told him that the nomination of a friend of Joe McCarthy, who was beating the war drums even harder than Dick Nixon, would lead to a worthless war for this country and the waste of numerous lives.

There is an everlasting flame across the way in D.C. to the two brothers who once loved old Joe McCarthy like I had and almost no one else, it seems these days, had.  It is a much more splendid memorial than the simple wall sunken into the ground where there is smoke or something that can get in an old fool’s eyes.

You progressives here want this ancient liberal to vote for another hawk who wants to continue another war to win the hearts and minds of people by killing, maiming, torturing and displacing them?

Sorry.  Can’t do it.  Something about my eyes I think.

Best,  Terry


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  1. Who are these progressives who want you to vote for a hawk?

    I am also not confident that everybody here would self label themselves progressives. It means different things to different people.

    Speaking for myself, I don’t have a candidate…

    • Zwoof on December 2, 2007 at 16:09

    and your words here. Yes, Vietnam lifted the veil for many of us.  Some saw the machine behind it and remember.  Others have chosen to forget that war, trying to forget the physical and mental pain it has caused.

    But in an attempt to put that pain behind us, we must never forget what put us there to start with.  The Military Industrial Complex is alive and doing quite well according to the Dow Jones.  The fear mongers continue to scream of constant danger if we do not follow the hawks. But the hawks are not leading us into battle.  They are behind the troops.  Well behind them, thousands of miles behind, safely sitting in their plush office chairs.  A flock of chickens nursing their wounds from college football, anal cysts and yellow jaundice.

    Any candidate that states they want to continue this administration’s policy for “x” number of years will lose my vote as well as the general election in my opinion.

    Peace NOW!

    Impeach NOW!

  2. I want you to vote for who you want to vote for.

  3. I’m on the fairly far left.  I’m left of liberal.  I’m probably some kind of democratic socialist.  I don’t mind being called a progressive.  I do mind being called a “liberal” because that sounds too centrist, too wishy washy, too moderate to my ear. Being called a radical seems too ’60’s to mean anything any more.  Others may have other definitions.

    You write:

    You progressives here want this ancient liberal to vote for another hawk who wants to continue another war to win the hearts and minds of people by killing, maiming, torturing and displacing them?

    Well, no.  I want you to vote for somebody who will end the killing, maiming and torturing, somebody who will restore the Constitution, end signing statements, end renditions, restore habeas corpus, provide free medical care to everyone, rejoin the international community, and tax the richest.  And if you cannot find somebody who will do those and other important things, I want you to raise hell about it.  

  4. but I must say i am somewhat mystified with how you arrived at believing in Joe McCarthy and presumably approved of the HUAC witchhunts to the political ositions you seem to hold today. An ‘ancient liberal’ but not a ‘progressive’ and certainly it appears not a hawk.

    Can you explain succinctly what exactly it was that caused you to believe in Congressman McCarthy?  Can’t quite wrap my head around that one.  

  5. think the unthinkable. It is not Senator Obama’s politics that many will fear. It is the essence of his being.  I spend quite a lot of my time in the South and have recenly written a 600 page biography spanning three centuries from Scottish emigration to Georgia, slavery, the expulsion of the Choctaw and Cherokees, through the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Civil War and reconstruction, up to the onset of WW1. That is history, people say.

    I then think of the images from only last month, the noose swinging from the poplar tree – strange fruit as Billie Holiday sang. I think of the Jena 6.

    The deep seated race hatred exists not only in the South, it exists in the mountain west, the desert Southwest, it permeates our society. It is being fanned from the embers into a roaring fire by the hatred of the rabid right, fueled this time by America’s irrational fear and loathing of the Muslim nation.  This goes way beyond the rational, this is America’s Armageddon.

    You are thinking  with your head, i am feeling a dreadful fear in my gut. I would not let this fear prevent me from  voting for Obama if I feel he is truly the one who can pull this fractured and fearful nation back into some semblance of shape. But, I am truly fearful, because I don’t think we would ever recover.

  6. You went to Vietnam about the time that I became aware that there was something there involving Americans.

    Now when I go to the wall I look for friends’ names, and Navajo names, because I processed them through the AFEES where I worked.  I never get to the end being able to see as well as I did to start.

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