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 Guard.
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 16 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 16. At 16, 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, Internet message boards. In between arguments over which Enterprise captain was better, Kirk or Picard, I started to engage 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 a typical example (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 last year 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 as “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. My ship was a backup to the hospital ships in the region; at one time, we were expecting over 10,000 casualties.
I’ve cemented my position as a rabid left-winger by attending a Michael Moore rally a couple of years ago. But, being your typical outdoor-fearing introvert, I have to rely on the written word to express myself, for the most part.
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.