It seems that the Ken Burn’s doc about Vietnam has stirred the patriotic fervor of some of the trolls who write to this blog.
I have received a few like this from the usual chicken hawks: “Watching the Ken Burn’s series makes me have to ask, where did you serve, Fred? Or did you?”
I assume these anonymous trolls were chicken hawks because the men and women I know who went to Vietnam don’t hide behind anonymity when they talk about their experience.
Like my friend Barry Romo. Barry went to Vietnam and came home to oppose the war as a member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War.
Barry will be on our Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers episode this Friday at 11AM on Chicago’s 105.5fm and streaming on the internet on http://www.lumpenradio.com
As for me? I registered for the draft when I turned 18 in 1966.
But the Selective Service System was set up to sort who would go to fight and who got to stay home and it was a clearly race and class based system.
Go to college and you received a deferment for as long as you stayed in school. Otherwise you were classified 1-A, which meant you were drafted.
Draftees were overwhelmingly Black, brown and working class.
Even though I was a student, I refused the privilege of a student deferment. More than that, I along with thousands of other students and non-students, organized opposition to the war.
Opposition to the draft during the Vietnam war was both a way of disrupting the war effort and exposing the unfairness of the draft itself.
In 1967 I received my notice to appear for a pre-induction physical at the Los Angeles Selective Service induction center.
My fellow members of Students for a Democratic Society came with me and caused a ruckus forcing them to lock the doors. Nobody went through the process that day.
Later that year I helped organize Stop the Draft Week in Oakland.
Tens of thousands of people surrounded the Oakland induction center preventing the buses filled with draftees from getting through.
Selective Service never asked me to show up ever again.
But I did keep showing up.
So, anonymous. That is where I served.