Chickenhawk – n. – A person enthusiastic about war, provided someone else fights it; particularly when that person’s enthusiasm is undimmed by personal experience with war; most emphatically that person’s lack of came in spite of ample opportunity in that person’s youth.
It’s late and I’m angry and still hurting from a bad fall couple of days ago that didn’t just hurt my leg but resulted in broken bones (toes) in my foot so deep thought is beyond me right now. However, the President came out throwing punches at the GOP and Trump earlier and it got me to thinking. Yes, there are some veterans including combat vets in the GOP who support either Trump or the current GOP nonsense about our military or both. But for the most part the GOP has long been a Party of Chickenhawks. Since the title might have covered up the definition I included it at the top.
Watching Lawrence O’Donnell show segments of President Biden’s speech, especially parts about his friend John McCain got me more and more pissed. Hey, I had plenty of issues with McCain but he served with honor and much more expression of duty and fidelity to his country and oath of office than most who have survived war. Yet, led by draft-dodging Trump his name is now mud in the Republican Party! WTF?
So we’ve had the specter of the guy Senator Tammy Duckworth (amputee from her service as an Army helicopter pilot in war) calls Cadet Bone Spurs trashing Trump and calling veterans, even those buried in National Cemeteries “suckers and losers.” And NOT be not just called out but RIPPED by other Republicans for doing so. Or Tommy Tuberville who never served and seems to have bestowed a measure of what’s called stolen valor on his dad’s service in WWII to burnish his “I know lots and have lots of respect for the military” bullshit.
These are but a couple of examples of guys who talk the talk but, if you go back to the definition COULD have served but went out of their way to avoid doing so. I still get pissed over memories of so many GOPers (many of them in the NH Gazette’s Hall of Shame too) working themselves up to a tear down the cheek saying of President Clinton “He (sob) never served a single day in uniform.” It was it seemed all they could do not to break out in primal screams and rend their garments. The thing is however that Bill Clinton never once pretended to be a “tough, badass” dude ready to go to war. He freely (and from the get go) admitted he didn’t agree with our being in Vietnam and since there were deferments he could use he went ahead and used them.
He did NOT pretend. He did NOT play the “well, if I’d really been needed” or some other bullshit “if not for this or that” excuse. Like say former GA Senator Saxby “trick knee” Chambliss who trashed the patriotism of then Senator Max Cleland who gave up three limbs on the battlefield in Vietnam. But doing so won him election against a genuine hero and patriot. (Full disclosure, I met Cleland twice and even had the honor of sitting with him during one of Kerry’s debates with Bush 43 with a group of Democrats in Martinsburg, WV)
For those who don’t know what the title is about, the NH Gazette was a twice a month publication that had long billed itself as the nation’s oldest newspaper. I don’t think they’ve published anything for a while now, but once upon a time someone there created a page that turned into an entire section devoted to Chickenhawks which became known as the Hall of Shame. It was not exclusively, but overwhelmingly made up of conservatives. And boy was it an eye opener! Politicians, pundits, leaders of various organizations – you name it. It was quite the collection. Rush Limbaugh (anal cysts) was a favorite entry. I already mentioned my personal grudge against Chambliss. Yes, Bush 43 too.
For you young folks back during Vietnam the surest ticket NOT to wind up there was being in the National Guard or the Reserves! Waiting lists for a slot got up to years long in some places including TX and their Air National Guard but Baby Bush “magically” vaulted over almost a thousand people and got in. And then went what was then called AWOL within a year of completing his flight training and being assigned to a squadron. Never completed his tour. Others of course, especially having gotten what was then a million dollar flight education would have wound up in prison. But decades later all that, especially parties like a few I attended when I was underage for guys who’d wrangled a slot in our local Guard (celebrations) were forgotten. And with Bush 41 using Guard and Reserves for Desert Storm thirty years ago Guard and Reserve service means something very different than it did during Vietnam.
So cynical, hypocritical a-hole GOPers exploit the hell out of it!
Here’s the thing though. The Gazette website’s Hall of Shame section wasn’t widely known but known well enough. It was robust and allowed anyone to nominate a person for membership. And then it all seemed to crash. I recall years ago (when it was apparent he’d be the GOP nominee) spending a couple of hours looking up (online) all the details to complete nominating form for Trump. It didn’t “go through.” Hey, this kind of thing can happen so I went through it again, and faster since I knew just where to go for various details. Again, it wouldn’t go through. I would come to believe I wasn’t the first, and that for its reputation for being stubborn they’d been threatened with a lawsuit if Trump’s name was added. A tiny operation like that simply couldn’t fight back and they caved.
Worse, it wasn’t long before the whole Hall of Shame section was no longer available if you went to the NH Gazette website. There was a point a couple of years later when someone created a watered down, not nearly as slick version but it too went by the wayside.
I say it’s time to bring it back. Some rich Democrat or someone who at least supports our country and the troops needs to put up the money to recreate the Chickenhawk Hall of Shame it all its former glory. And then some. GOPers including and especially Trump will howl so loudly you can hear them on Pluto but there’s got to be someone rich enough and with no f**ks to give that will do it.
Yeah, I know many of you will say GOPers no longer have any sense of shame. Hell, I’ve said it myself more than once. I think for all their anti-science crap they funded creation of a pill they can take every day to suppress any feeling of shame. But some might be able to feel a little bit. More importantly, the public at-large and especially independents will learn about it, and see just how awful and shameless so many GOPers are. And also start calling or emailing GOPers in elected office asking why they are NOT standing up to their Chickenhawk Brigade!
Lots, and in fact these days most people have never served in the military. Quite different from when I was growing up as a child of the WWII generation. For decades the burden has been borne by less than two percent of Americans. But with the Republican Party meekly following the Chickenhawk in Chief Trump it’s long past time to provide the means to call them out. To make it easy to call up a website (even at work) and say “See for yourself!”
I know I’m not the most widely read author but I’m told folks at the Lincoln Project keep tabs on our little site. Perhaps they know a rich Democrat who will step up and acquire the rights to the domain name and recreate something this country increasingly needs. Hard hitting material with which to embarrass Republicans. Every vote will matter and even if it only gets one percent of people who might have voted for Republicans to if not vote for a Democrat then vote for some wackjob or write in a name then that can make all the difference all the way up to the state level when it’s time to award electoral votes.