Two people died last week. One of them was a hero, the other was a coward. But don't take my word for it. Take the words of these people:
Brent Rouse of Canon City wrote a letter to the editor of the Denver Post last week. Here, in part, is what he had to say, "I was saddened by the recent passing of such an incredible athlete, ambassador of goodwill and a hero to so many. I must also say how angry I was to see flags at half-staff in his honor in Louisville, Ky. Muhammad Ali was a draft dodger, period. I know the Supreme Court later reversed his conviction, but that does not change the fact that he did it. That is a real slap in the face to the real heroes who fought and died for this country. Men who died fighting to preserve his right to be a coward."
Meanwhile, in another part of the state, Prince Hickenlooper was delivering a eulogy for the Blue Angel's pilot who was killed when he crashed his jet while practicing for an upcoming air show. According to an article in the Denver Post, "Marine Captain Jeff Kuss was killed while practicing for an air show near Nashville, Tenn., on June 2....Governor John Hickenlooper ordered flags to be flown at half-staff to honor Kuss....Hickenlooper earlier praised Kuss for his Colorado values (he was from Durango, ed). 'Here is a guy who is a legitimate hero to the whole state,' Hickenlooper said Friday afternoon."
Muhammad Ali fought in the heavyweight category of boxing 61 times. He won 56 of those fights and lost the other 5. Every time Ali climbed into the ring against an opponent he faced a legitimate chance at suffering serious physical injury. His opponents had only one goal in each fight....to render him unconscious. He once fought an entire fight, against Ken Norton, with a jaw that was broken in the first round. When he fought George Foreman in the Rumble in the Jungle (1974) many fight analysts seriously thought that Foreman might kill him in the ring. Ali won that fight in a decisive fashion, knocking out Foreman. His professional career does not sound very cowardly to me.
Ali won the Olympic gold medal fighting in the light heavyweight category in 1960. After winning the medal he proudly displayed it as he paraded around his hometown of Louisville. Many stories have been told about how he would put the medal around his neck and then walk into a restaurant that would refuse to serve him because he was black. According to those tales he would simply display the medal and walk out. Messing with white folks in Kentucky in 1960 was a good way to get oneself killed. Ali did it with regularity. That does not sound like the action of a coward to me.
When Ali was drafted and expected to go to Vietnam to fight in a war of empire expansion on behalf of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika he refused to do it. Ali refused to be inducted in April of 1967 and was immediately stripped of his heavyweight title. He was also expected to go to prison as a draft dodger, although he managed to avoid serving any time. What did he have to say about his decision? "I ain’t got no quarrel with those Vietcong,” was his response. In saying that he recognized the simple truth that Amerika is an empire and that Vietnam was a war being waged for the purpose of expanding the empire. He realized that killing Vietnamese people was an act of murder and he refused to do it. He suffered serious personal and professional consequences for the stance he took. That does not sound like a coward to me.
Jeff Kuss was a celebrated and adored pilot of a theatrical fighter plane team used by the military of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika as a recruitment tool. He lived his entire professional life on the taxpayer dole. Although he died prior to his retirement date, it is highly likely he would have done what almost all military pilots do. They retire with huge taxpayer financed pensions and either dedicate themselves to playing golf or take up another career as commercial pilots, thus drawing two salaries for one job. The pilots who fly for the Thunderbirds and the Blue Angels are adored by the public. Their flyovers never cease to generate goose bumps upon the skin of patriotic Amerikans as they imagine what it must be like to fly over foreign countries dropping bombs upon stinkin foreigners who deserve to die because they do not bow down to us when we order them to. After Kuss died the people who commanded him bemoaned the fact that they had lost a powerful recruitment tool. As it turns out, the millions of taxpayer dollars spent on useless military displays generates a lot of interest in the minds of unemployed 18 year olds who want to see the world and enjoy the thrill and pleasure of legally killing someone. Try as I might, Kuss does not sound like a hero to me.
One man faced personal danger his entire professional life, eventually succumbing to an illness created by the physical blows he suffered. One man faced up to racism and lived to tell the tale. One man refused to be a slave to the state and repudiated the government's wars of imperial expansion. That man is labeled a coward.
Another man lived a life of luxury and public adoration. He rarely worked and never faced any significant danger. He knew that all he had to do was put up with public adulation for twenty years and then he could retire at taxpayer expense to a life of continued luxury and adoration. He dedicated himself to an activity designed to convince the young and impressionable graduates of SDA government schools that going into the military is a noble career path. Who knows how many young men have joined the military only to go off and either kill or be killed for the Empire as a result of his actions? That man is labeled a hero.
A hero and a coward died last week. I will leave it up to you to decide which was which.
Update: June 18, 2016
The Vietnam war is over but the war of words over the actions of Muhammad Ali when he refused induction continues in the Denver Post. Ordinarily I would not update this post to simply quote another government loving socialist but today's paper has a comment that is most illuminating, and sadly typical of the citizens who populate the SDA. Sam Hobbs of Arvada wrote, in part, "As for Muhammad Ali, he had the right to decide if he wanted to serve or not. As far as I am concerned he was a draft dodger....Whether the Vietnam War was just or not has no bearing on his refusal to serve." Did you catch that? Sam worships the Amerikan Empire and the career politicians and military commanders who lead it. Sam clearly and unequivocally states that patriotic citizens are morally required to go and fight in immoral wars. The Vietnam war was unjust. Those members of the military who killed, or attempted to kill, the Vietnamese people are murderers, attempted murderers or complicit in the act of murder. Nevertheless, Sam believes anyone who refused to participate in the murdering is behaving immorally. Talk about being blinded by state worship!