Printer friendly version

July 31, 2004

Quietly Accepting the Opposition's Received Wisdom

Over in the miniblog in the left-hand column, Into the Ether, I noted that Al Sharpton may very well be the first black Democrat whom I've heard speak in support of Clarence Thomas's position on the Supreme Court (albeit it, in a backhanded way). This quiet acceptance of previously rejected emphases to make politically expedient points seems to have been in the air at the Democrats' convention. Lileks caught John Kerry tapping into it:

"I defended this country as a young man, and I will defend it as President."

This really intrigues me. I agree that Vietnam was a defense of the United States, inasmuch as we were trying to blunt the advance of Communism. So: only Nixon can go to China. (Only Kirk can go to Chronos, for you Star Trek geeks.) Only Kerry can confirm that Vietnam was a just war. This completely upends conventional wisdom about the Vietnamese war, and requires a certain amount of historical amnesia. Why does this get glossed over? The illegitimacy of the Vietnam war (non-UN approved, after all) is a key doctrine of the Church of the Boomers; to say that service in Vietnam was done in defense of the United States is like announcing that Judas Ischariot was the most faithful of the disciples. Imagine if you were a preacher who attempted such a revision. Imagine your private thrill when everyone in the congregation nodded assent. The past was more malleable than you had ever expected.

Posted by Justin Katz at July 31, 2004 2:26 AM

Really, the only person that doesn't have the authority to declare Vietnam in any catagory is Lt. Koward. USNR 65-67

Posted by: Mike H. at August 1, 2004 7:08 PM

Apology, -*category*-

Posted by: Mike H. at August 1, 2004 7:11 PM