Dear Aunt Sophie,
I am having a big problem and I don’t know what to do about it. People are questioning my military service. I do not understand this.
I am a war hero running for President. My early heroics are relevant to my campaign because we are currently in a war. I didn’t think it was a proper war but I went along with it before I changed my mind. Now I’ve had second thoughts. I don’t know how I’ll feel about it tomorrow.
But this war is not the important one. I am concerned with my honorable service in Vietnam, which is being denigrated. While I was serving there with valor, my opponent, who started this current war, was AWOL. He’s produced “proof” that he wasn’t, but I don’t know anyone who believes it.
Now some of AWOL’s supporters have started running ads calling my heroics into question and I am boiling mad about it. It isn’t fair. Republicans are paying for those ads. Republicans! Campaign reform was supposed to prevent this sort of thing, but it hasn’t worked that way, even though they’re still way behind us when it comes to tactics. Just between you and me, they don’t know how to fight. If any of them had been war heroes they’d know how.
The people impugning my service weren’t even there. They were busy committing atrocities. They couldn’t possibly know whether I came under fire or whether I acted heroically. Under those circumstances I can’t blame them for not knowing what I was doing, but the least they could do is credit my reports as being the absolute truth. I would never have exaggerated anything in a report just to get myself a few medals to throw away later. And for anyone to suggest that I inflicted an injury on myself is so negative!
Actually, I don’t think it’s fair for them to be talking about Vietnam at all. It was 36 years ago. I don’t see why they keep harping on it. They must not have anything current to talk about, like the fact that most Americans are out of work and don’t have health care. You’d think a serious candidate would be talking about that instead of what I was doing thirty-six years ago. What they say about Republicans must be true - they’re stuck in the past.
These people had better stop badmouthing my heroism. If they don’t, I’ll sue. I’ve got a running mate who can sue the hell out of anybody.
By the way, besides these nasty ads, I do have one other problem and it’s a doozy. My wife, bless her lovely heart, is very outspoken. I saw her letter to you recently and I’d have to say it was pretty typical of her. She doesn’t listen to anybody. Unfortunately, she doesn’t always think before she opens her beautiful mouth and she’s stepped in it again, or rather she’s dropped me in it. She said she thinks no one is qualified to be president. Wouldn’t that happen to include me? I love her dearly, and she’s rich you know, but I’ve got to persuade her to clam up until after the election. Do you have any suggestions?
Purple Heart 3
It must be distressing indeed to see the very symbols of your manhood being challenged after all these years. What senator married to his second heiress could even conceive that his honor might someday be called into question?
How dare anyone question your heroism! After all, you did manage to squeeze in a few atrocities between death-defying feats, didn’t you?
I suppose it’s perfectly reasonable for you to insist that someone who wasn’t actually holding your hand wouldn’t be in a position to know whether you had been wounded by the very enemy fire that your own diary says didn’t occur, or whether you had cut yourself shaving. That same person who wasn’t there might also be forgiven for wondering whether you fudged an embarrassing incident on your report – personally, I’d hate to have to own up to some non-medal-level achievement like having blasted myself with debris from a stupidly aimed mortar.
But aside from trivial matters like where you spent the pre-Nixonian Christmas Eve of 1968, which is, after all, the murky past, what were you doing in 1971? Appearing before Congress to accuse your ex-brothers of war crimes while hemi-demi-semi-suggesting that you, too, were a war criminal? Of course everybody knows that when you made those statements you expected every Viet Cong with an idiot box to hear you exercising your First Amendment rights and, recognizing the superiority of our system, give up his evil ways. Too bad they didn’t get the point. For some reason they seem to have thought you meant what you said and used your words to demoralize the real heroes of the war. That pedagogical tour de force alone qualifies you to be leader of the free world.
As for your spousal problem, I’d say you’re stuck with it. Rich ladies get to say whatever they want. Next time don’t sign the pre-nup.
Good luck and God bless.