…And a racist and a redneck.
Perhaps I should preface this post by adding a background clip. It seems our Department of Homeland Security is afraid that our troops will come home as rabid RIGHT WING EXTREMISTS:
Since I have become a conservative never have I noticed that the left has so much dislike for servicemen until now. Was it there all the time and I did not notice? Or did I somehow inactively participate in bashing without giving it a second thought?
My family has quite a few military men. My brother served in the army as well as my two uncles. I was proud when my brother went off in uniform. He is 15 years older than I and at the time I was only six years old when he left for training at Fort Sill. Looking at the dark green uniform and the flag pins made me believe that he was keeping me safe. For my mother the Army meant that America was keeping him safe too. Away from the gang ridden streets of Chicago. He had already got into trouble with the law and joined the Disciples, one of the most notorious street gangs in Chicago. During the summer of 1976, it was the bicentennial Chicago had the usual summer celebrations in Grant Park. My brother and a friend stopped the car for him to get a drink. When my brother exited the store his friend was dead in the driver’s seat with a bullet in his head. That would be the last summer my brother would spend in Chicago. Gone would be the days of him taking me to the corner for a snow cone, riding on the “L” to catch a downtown movie, playing the guitar on the apartment stoop because it was too hot to stay inside. My big brother would never live under the same roof with me again. He joined the army the next month and was in Germany within two years.
There were times when I resented the military for taking him away from us. I was also afraid. Afraid of the stories I would hear about “shell shocked” veterans from the Vietnam War. Images from movies like Coming Home and The Deer Hunter
. I would hear stories too. Stories that they would tell in the kitchen when they thought I was sleeping. One in which a soldier came home without legs. Another had a cheating wife and a soldier gone “crazy”. Would my brother come home like that? Mother also told me that no one wanted the war. The soldiers were blamed for the killing and never received a proper welcome. I always thought that was unfair.
Still, I knew that he was doing something constructive with his life and not out on the streets. Not dead in the streets. School was not for him. A lack of intelligence was hardly an obstacle for him, he just didn’t have the patience for the classroom.
“College is the only way for you Afrocity”, mom would say. “Some people are just better at school than others. The service is no place for a woman, especially not a black one.”
Yeah, I know she was being sexist and racist but truthfully I would never make it through military training. I am a girly girl and my joining the military would be akin to the misadventures of Private Benjamin chocolate style.
In 1979, my brother and I would visit for the first time since he left. My mother packed a huge suitcase and off to O’hare airport on my first plane ride ever bound for Frankfort, Germany. When I saw him at the airport, he was unfamiliar to me. Stronger, smarter but that boy in Chicago popping fire hydrants and playing dice was gone. He was now fluent in German had interesting friends, knew everything about artillery, a sergeant, a better man than the boy that left. He drove me across the autobahn to Italy and Holland. I saw windmills and castles, ate fancy food I had never seen. My first James Bond movie Moonraker was in Amsterdam (I am a huge Bond fan to this day thanks to my brother). Towards the end of the trip I realized that his experience was helping me. I forgave the army.
The military has definitely had a positive effect on the life of my brother. Today he still lives in Europe and has two wonderful children. He came to Chicago last month to visit me. We went to dinner. He did not at any point show signs of being a RIGHT WING EXTREMIST. In fact he voted for your treasured Barack Obama. Absentee ballot no less. He voted for him despite having serious reservations about Barry’s leadership abilities. My brother grew up during the Black Pride Movement so understand that it was awkward for me to tell him that I voted for John McCain. Thankfully, he was not angry with me. He was silent for awhile and said “But Afrocity right now Obama is all Black people have”. Golly Gee Janet isn’t that exactly what you Democrats want to hear an African American say. (Smile throw on an Obama tee-shirt and have a KODAK MOMENT).
Does my brother sound like a RIGHT WING EXTREMIST TO YOU???
MY ANSWER IS:
Autographed Letter Signed,