Tuesday, July 21, 2015
Trump and the draft: should people of my generation be judged on old notions of cowardice, that younger adults don't get?
GOP candidate Donald Trump added to emotional outrage, within his own party particularly, when he said about John McCain “he’s not a war hero”. The New York Post account is here. Politico has a more detailed account here.
John McCain was shot down in 1967 and held as a war prisoner until 1973, and often tortured. But he refused release until his own men were set free first.
Furthermore, Trump made some odd remark about liking captives.
Trump also says he had a high draft number when the lottery was implemented in 1969. Previously he had enjoyed student deferments.
Note the video below uses the word “coward” in its old context.
Curiously, his draft record shows a 1-Y in 1968 and that he took a physical in 1972 and was classified 4-F. The Smoking Gun has a copy of his Selective Service record here. He has said that he had bone spurs in his heel. Maybe he couldn't have marched, done drill and ceremonies (the very first class in Basic at Fort Jackson for me in 1968).
It’s interesting that we judge people of Trump’s generation on their draft-related behavior. We did so with Bill Clinton (and Newt Gingrich). That could be done with me. Yet, many young adults today have no concept of what dealing with the draft and the deferment system was like. They need to. The draft created a major part of my own narrative. “I’ve not dying for some politician’s war.”