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A Poor Analogy!

"Remember when 'gay' used to mean 'happy'?" commented my friend Greg when we were in high school (1977 - 1981).

Greg was surprised when I told him I'd heard a recording by Bob Seger in one of his first bands: a 1966 parody of the patriotic anthem, "The Ballad of the Green Berets," only attacking the peace activists and draft-dodgers as cowards, entitled "The Ballad of the Yellow Berets":

"Paint a yellow streak on my son's back
"Tell him to be weak, tell him not to fight back
"And when they come to draft him
"Tell 'em he's gay
"Have him wear a yellow beret"

Greg didn't know the word 'gay' referred to homosexuals as early as 1966!

By the early '70s, the draft was unpopular. Shirley Jackson's short story, "The Lottery" was written about the lottery system which had replaced the draft, and concerned a small town in the heartland of America, where a lottery system (abolished in some towns, but still considered patriotic in this particular town) decides which citizen gets stoned to death: indirectly taking a stand against the draft AND capital punishment. "The Lottery" was made into a short film, which I first saw in high school in the late '70s.

Pro-life literature from the early '70s tried to compare girls and women facing unplanned pregnancies but being required to carry a child to term with young men being asked to heroically serve their country in the draft. This was a poor analogy for conservative pro-lifers to make, at a time when the draft was extremely unpopular!

(In the decades which followed, even Bob Seger would go on to perform Credence Clearwater Revival's 1969 anti-war song "Fortunate Son" in concert!)

On the other hand, there was an anthology of pro-life essays circa 1972, which included an essay by respected pro-life physician Dr. Thomas Hilgers. Frances Moore Lappe's 1971 book, Diet for a Small Planet, advocating eating lower on the food chain (lacto-ovo-vegetarianism) to make resources available to feed everyone was already a bestseller. And in response to abortion advocates warning about "overpopulation," one of the pro-life essayists in the anthology said if it comes down to it, we'll live as vegetarians, rather than take the lives of the unborn!

(This was at a time when vegetarian art-rock bands, consisting of classically-trained musicians, like Yes were hitting the charts as well. And the Krishna Conscious band Quintessence, out of England, sounded like a cross between the Moody Blues and Jethro Tull.)

George McGovern said:

“I'm fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in.”

And, “The highest patriotism is not a blind acceptance of official policy, but a love of one's country deep enough to call her to a higher standard.”

A Democratic Party fundraising letter from the mid-'00s similarly referred to Bush, Cheney, etc. as "chicken-hawks," having evaded the draft themselves, but starting wars while demanding others serve.

Go on to: A Tool of Oppression
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