Right to Left: the Adventures of a Liberal Veteran
By Scott C. Smith
The first time I voted in a presidential election was in
1988. I'm ashamed to admit that I voted for George Herbert
Walker Bush. I don't even have a good defense for my actions.
Like most members of the armed forces, I voted Republican.
It's my shame.
I joined Reagan's military machine in 1986 at the age of
17. I did not do a lot of research in making this decision.
I remember seeing a pamphlet for the U.S. Navy at my high
school's career center, and as I leafed through the pamphlet,
I saw that the Navy had journalists! As a budding journalist
(I wrote for my high school paper) I thought enlisting in
the Navy was a great idea.
I didn't realize the other branches of the armed forces also
had journalists. If I had known that I would have gone with
the Air Force; they have better uniforms and call their barracks
'dorms.' Also, they were very generous in allowing members
to take time off to work on political campaigns. Oh wait,
that's wrong, sorry. I'm thinking of the Texas Air National
My first duty station was at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. As I
was land-based I have no good excuse as to why I didn't educate
myself about politics. Although, and I'm a little embarrassed
to say, I was drunk most of the time. Just kidding. Some
of the time.
I don't even remember if I registered to vote when I turned
18. It was a different time, I guess, and without the benefit
of information sources like the Internet, I had no easy way
to learn more about the candidates or collect pornography.
Today's children are more politically savvy than I was at
that age. Case in point: World Net Daily columnist Kyle Williams.
The kid is 15 and already he's writing a column and has even
published a book. Although his style is a watered-down version
of Sean Hannity's philosophy, still, he knows more about politics
than I did when I was 15. At 15, if you had asked me what
the line of succession was, I surely would have brought up
Disney Land. Hell, even grown adults who are supposed to know
what it is get confused. I'm looking at you, Alexander Haig.
So, I voted Republican. And my horrible shame - my vote
for Bush/Quayle - resulted in a victory for Bush, and a symbolic
kick in the groin for Dukakis. I should point out that the
Willie Horton ads did NOT influence my vote. In fact, I actually
thought Willie Horton was Dukakis' running mate, that's how
ignorant I was.
In 1990 it was time for me to pick my next duty station.
I picked the USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19), which was based out
of Yokosuka, Japan, so I was pretty jazzed about getting to
visit Tokyo. Until Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and really
screwed up my travel plans. I ended up serving for Operation
Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and by that time I was not
very happy with the Bush administration. That war was a defining
moment for me in my transformation to a liberal Democrat.
I left the Navy in 1992, and cast my very first vote for
a Democrat when I voted for Bill Clinton.
I wasn't any more politically savvy in the 1990s than I
was in the 1980s. But the Internet changed that, when I first
had access to it in 1995, and discovered the world of Usenet.
In between arguments over which Enterprise captain was better,
Kirk or Picard, I started to develop an interest in political
discussions. And, of course, easy access to porn.
In 2001 I finally got around to registering a domain. Now
I'd have a venue to write anything I wanted on any topic I
wanted! I was so excited I did nothing with it for two years.
By September 2003 I was very much against the war in Iraq,
and I started my web site, What's In Scott's Head. At my site,
I write about politics, and most of all, I write in an effort
to slam Republicans and every pungent idea they stand for.
Oh, and conservatives hate a liberal who is also a veteran
and who opposes the war in Iraq. Hate mongers began to take
opportunities to write to me and express their opinions about
me being a veteran. I haven't received a lot of e-mails, but
the ones I do get are not friendly. Here's an example from
last November (and I'll leave any typos intact, as they add
to the overall tone of the mail. Well, it's really just an
excuse to make fun of them):
For you to include yourself in the group of
military heros called 'vets' is an insult to them and the
country they served so grandly. While you 'toiled' on a
ship in a non-combat position, other real 'vets' were out
there flying combat missions, walking in hostile territory
with an infantry unit, or other such real combat scenarios.
You have the audacity to criticize our President for not
attending individual Vet Day observances? How many places
can he be at one time you idiot? What exactly did you do
to observe Vets Day, submit more treasonous postings to
your web page?
I and other past members of our great military
know what a real vet is; and you Mr. Smith are no real vet,
despite what you keep telling yourself and your readers.
You can just feel the love. And no, I did not observe Veteran's
Day with more "treasonous" postings to my web site. I did
write an article encouraging people to make donations to veteran
charities, which I suppose can be confused with "treason"
if you're stupid.
The war in Iraq has really energized my writing, and with
it came a very real hatred of the Bush administration and
hypocritical right-wingers who dare to tell me that I'm not
a "real" veteran. Believe me, serving on board a ship does
not guarantee safety. Ships can be taken out with missiles,
or they can run into mines. And my "non-combat" role during
the war was to provide first aid to battle casualties, should
any be brought to my ship.
I've cemented my position as a rabid left-winger by attending
a Michael Moore rally last year. But, being your typical outdoor-fearing
introvert, I have to rely on the written word to express myself,
for the most part. And I'll support the Democratic nominee
at my web site.
I try to fight the good fight with endless insults against
people like Sean Hannity and George W. Bush at my web site.
It's not easy to come up with insults all the time. My wife
wants me to be more positive, but I don't see a change in
my attitude anytime soon. There's just not enough sarcasm
in the world, and I see it as my divine duty to spread the
happiness and joy I feel in my heart.
Oh, and Sean Hannity sucks.