Thursday, April 17, 2008

Wright or Wrong?

In 1961, a young African-American man, after hearing President John F. Kennedy's challenge to, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country," gave up his student deferment, left college in Virginia and voluntarily joined the Marines.

In 1963, this man, having completed his two years of service in the Marines, volunteered again to become a Navy corpsman. (They provide medical assistance to the Marines as well as to Navy personnel.)

The man did so well in corpsman school that he was the valedictorian and became a cardiopulmonary technician. Not surprisingly, he was assigned to the Navy's premier medical facility, Bethesda Naval Hospital, as a member of the commander in chief's medical team, and helped care for President Lyndon B. Johnson after his 1966 surgery. For his service on the team, which he left in 1967, the White House awarded him three letters of commendation. What is even more remarkable is that this man entered the Marines and Navy not many years after the two branches began to become integrated.

While this young man was serving six years on active duty, Vice President Dick Cheney, who was born the same year as the Marine/ sailor, received five deferments, four for being an undergraduate and graduate student and one for being a prospective father.

Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, both five years younger than the African-American youth, used their student deferments to stay in college until 1968. Both then avoided going on active duty through family connections.

Who is the real patriot? The young man who interrupted his studies to serve his country for six years or our three political leaders who beat the system? Are the patriots the people who actually sacrifice something or those who merely talk about their love of the country?

After leaving the service of his country, the young African-American finished his final year of college, entered the seminary, was ordained as a minister, and eventually became pastor of a large church in one of America's biggest cities.

This man is Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the retiring pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ.

thanks to Cathi for the find!


Blair said...

I've run across this one before, accompanied by a critique of the content. (I'd thought it was on Snopes, but haven't been able to find it.)

At any rate, I declare it to be a Red Herring. Or at least, as far as I know, Jeremiah Wright isn't a candidate for President, so I'm not overly concerned one way or another over his military record or much of anything else about him.

It's just not the most particularly relevant thing out there.

Here's something that might hit a bit closer to home for a number of people:

Did you know that every day 3,000 people die from cancer? That's the equivalent of the Twin Towers and it happens every day.

The budget passed by Congress for the National Cancer Institute has been the same amount of money for each of the past four years. (In fact, for FY 2008, it was slightly decreased.) During the same period, the buying power of that money has decreased by 15%.

In effect, that's a 15% decrease in the spending to fight a disease which kills 3,000 people per day (1,095,000 per year).

So I'm not to worried about Reverend Wright's past. I'm also not overly interested in the day to day stumbles each candidate makes on the campaign trail.

What interests me is this: As members of the US Senate, what have Obama, Clinton and McCain done to help fight cancer? What have they done to help with the things that affect the average American on a daily basis?

That's far more interesting.

(See what happens when you go and ask for feedback on your writing?!)

Anonymous said...

I'm not going to judge his patriotism. I'm not going to judge anyone's patriotism. But it's not fair to compare a student deferment during peacetime to a student deferment during the worst quagmire of a conflict the U.S. has ever been involved in. I don't see why Lawrence Korb (or anyone else) needs to build up this guy by tearing down others. As blair said, Jeremiah Wright isn't a candidate for anything. He knew full well what he was saying, and I'm sure he can defend himself against whatever backlash he's getting.

Luke said...

wow! Exactly! It's a red herring! usually ppl doing red herrings are not concerned with who or what they're red herring'n about.

it takes away from the real issues. of course my posting this really takes away and perpetuates this as well. thank you both for the call to the carpet.

i find it interesting more so on the HOW and the WHY this type of argument can be passed along... plus things like Obama is a muslim, etc etc. what does this say about our society? the fact that i didn't know that 3,000 ppl a day die from cancer.... we're in a culturally illiterate society. you both hit on a theme which i must now explore!

thank you both so much for your comments! i'll get to work!