Ben Barnes, the former Lt Gov of Texas who helped GW Bush get into the National Guard in lieu of being sent to Viet Nam apologized at a Kerry Rally in Austin.
"And I walked to the Vietnam Memorial the other day," Barnes continued, "and I looked at the names of the people that died in Vietnam, and I became more ashamed of myself than I have ever been, because it was the worst thing I ever did, was help a lot of wealthy supporters and a lot of people who had family names of importance get into the National Guard. And I'm very sorry about that, and I'm very ashamed, and I apologize to you as voters of Texas."
Barnes then condemned the Republican attacks on John Kerry's war service: "And I tell you that for the Republicans to jump on John Kerry and say that he is not a patriot after he went to Vietnam and was shot at and fought for our freedom and came back here and protested against the war, he's a flip-flopper, let me tell you: John Kerry is a 100 times better patriot than George Bush or Dick Cheney."
The unedited video is available here. It's not slickly produced, but Barnes passion to say what he has to say seems heartfelt indeed.
I don't want this election to be about a war fought over 30 yrs ago. I haven't even been following all the SBV stuff, although I've read enough refutation to think the accusations they make are suspect even if they were material.
But when I saw this item, it reminded me how many families are living with the consequences of their decisions in that war even yet.
What lesson can be learned from all this, I'm not exactly sure of. I'd like for my country not to have to repeat it if possible, though, so I'm thinking about it a lot tonight.
Perhaps about how government has a duty to even the playing field rather than extend the advantages of an already privileged class further?
What are your thoughts?