I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong. No VietCong Ever Called Me Nigger.
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07-06-2016, 04:58 PM (This post was last modified: 07-06-2016 07:47 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong. No VietCong Ever Called Me Nigger.
(07-06-2016 04:29 PM)yakherder Wrote:  http://www.oafnation.com/hitter-feed/201...nao5dh280n

Quote:Muhammad Ali is dead—but the internet, Oh our precious internet, is full of life. Countering the heart-felt remembrance for Ali has been some criticism coming from places very close to and inside the military community.

Not all, of course, but generally speaking it comes from the usual suspects.

Don't get me wrong, the red side of the aisle gets it 'right' on a lot of things. But that said, there is no denying the Far Right, mooching tumor clung to the side of American military culture. The type isn't hard to find; the ones that refuse to believe Pat Tillman was an atheist, and think life was perfect in Appleton, Wisconsin in 1958. From this mass we now see, somewhat predictably, cries that Ali shouldn't be praised, but rather scorned. The criticism; Ali = Draft Dodger.

But before getting into anything else, one thing has to be included; strangely, some figures seem to be exempt from this same condemnation.

Now I love Ted Nugent (although Pantera's version of “Cat Scratch Fever” is way better), but if getting an idea of how a Far Right icon avoided the draft sounds interesting, I highly suggest checking out this Military.com video (I also highly suggest making some popcorn first). Snopes puts a wet blanket on a little of the video-fire, but nowhere close to all of it.

Once past the lively video, hunker back down to the issue—Muhammad Ali the draft dodger.

The reality is though, the accusation is a (very) well-documented truth. Ali refused his draft induction. They are right.

A closer look at why, however, lends to the defense that the acidity behind the criticism is off base. It boils down to the claim that by Ali refusing to go to Vietnam he acted in a selfish, cowardly, unpatriotic manner.

But he didn't.

Rewind to 1960-61. Ali wins a gold medal for the USA. Soon after he is denied service at a diner for being black. I bet many (if not all) who will remain steadfast against Ali won't take the time or energy required to step back, drop the Mayberry-tinted glasses, and actually react to how they'd view their country if such an insane juxtaposition was the norm for them in their own day-to-day.

And maybe that is a part of it, people are condemning Ali based on the good and bad of the present. But the present is some weak sauce compared to the '60s. That era is a hell of a lot different than some spoiled black college student in 2016 demanding Huckleberry Finn be pulled from every campus due to its racial "triggers." Ali, the diner, that almost unbelievable irony really happened— its not just a few paragraphs to gloss over in some moldy history book. Every service member or veteran whose ever been blatantly disrespected should find some real common ground in this case. Sweat for your country and get shit on.

No country or time-period is perfect, of course, and if that would have been a freak incident then this piece would read very different. But whereas anti-military bullshit is sporadic pockets of limp-wristisms, what happened to Ali was just one example of a social reality plaguing the USA during the era so many of Ali's nay-sayers are so nostalgic about.

Inch forward a bit to 1967. Ali refused his draft call on the stated grounds of both personal belief and aiding in the ongoing civil rights movement (yeah he did it with loud, pimp-hat delivery—but if that’s why they dislike him. . . well, maybe this is more their speed). In doing so he did nothing short of stand up to the U.S. government.

“I ain’t draft dodging. I ain’t burning no flag. I ain’t running to Canada. I’m staying right here. You want to send me to jail? Fine, you go right ahead. I’ve been in jail for 400 years. I could be there for 4 or 5 more, but I ain’t going no 10,000 miles to help murder and kill other poor people. If I want to die, I’ll die right here, right now, fightin’ you, if I want to die. You my enemy, not no Chinese, no Vietcong, no Japanese. You my opposer when I want freedom. You my opposer when I want justice. You my opposer when I want equality. Want me to go somewhere and fight for you? You won’t even stand up for me right here in America, for my rights and my religious beliefs. You won’t even stand up for my right here at home."



Distrust of and challenging the government are forces that has flowed down our cultural umbilical-cord since our nation's founding (kinda what motivates the 2A). Pretty darn ‘Merikan, actually—challenging the most powerful of institutions, and at a time when athletes financial security was nothing like it is today. There was no free agency, multi-million dollar endorsements, no cuddly logos to help build their brand. And that is the important thing to take away here, Ali refused his draft induction at significant personal risk. Not as risky as a punji stick, no doubt, but grave consequences on the horizon were things he was aware of. And the consequences came; including being stripped of his passport, threatened with prison, and booted from boxing while still in his athletic prime. Considering all of this, it doesn't seem intuitive that being frightened by the simultaneous threat of war and the loss of comfort is what motivated him. Anyone who has ever watched a YouTube video of him back then, blasting out at a camera crew, knows he was motivated by something else.

So then was his motivation unpatriotic?

Ultimately, this depends on one's definition of Patriotism. Some would say patriotism doesn't always have to equate to blind and instant obedience. This is especially true if the nation in question needs some serious inner-fixing. Certainly some of Ali's critics would agree it would have been nice if many German boys refused to snap-to in the 1940s.

Ali floating-like-a-butterfly away from the draft did a lot of things. One of those was cast a fresher, more critical light on the nature of men being called to war.

Here we can look at the criticism against him. Essentially the cries are “He should have gone. No excuses.”

Okay, then why? And I'm not just asking merely because of the freekin' diner thing.

Why is it noble to go to war for one's country? Fair question to ask. Seems obvious, but it actually requires a little elaboration—and quit it already with the "for the guy to my left and to my right" gunk. That is post-facto to a war itself. If there is a guy to one's left and right, then there is a reason the three of them are standing there in the first place. That answer is a corny, heart-string puller with little weight and even less explanatory power. So dig deeper, and be honest. If one went to bust heads, god-damn-right and more power to them, but many many more claim they did/do it for "higher" purposes.

One commonly held belief is citizens who don the military uniform deserve genuine praise because they're fighting to defend the ideals found in their country.

With that in mind—whether they like it or not, whether the Nuge approves of it or not—Ali fought for many American ideals that were underdeveloped in his time. Due to his unique celebrity status, his ultra-vocal opposition to the nature of the draft was used as a platform to shed light on many undemocratic realities of who was eligible and who was exempt, as well as the massive fault-line of racial inequality yet equal obligation to the armed services.

Ali, loud-mouthedly and flashy as all hell, helped bring about positive change.

Borrowing from the political philosopher John Rawls, if one were stripped—right now—of their race and gender . . . and were about to go through a machine where the chances of coming out the other end a white man, black man, white woman, black woman were all the same. . . and they were given the choices of 1966 and 2016, which one do you think the Ali-critics would really want to be 25 years old in?

If they believe defense of a nation deserves the utmost respect, then hopefully they take a moment to reflect on those who have sought to improve not only the nation but the world through other, often-controversial means—and with personal costs, sometimes great.



—Mr. Blonde

That was brilliant Mr. Blonde. - Mr. White.

There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide. -Camus
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07-06-2016, 05:22 PM
RE: I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong. No VietCong Ever Called Me Nigger.
(07-06-2016 09:02 AM)Einharjar Wrote:  Seems to be a back n' forth debate over what's acceptable as a hero.

I've only got to say this - America seems some what fine with Trump being their new hero. So don't take any one else's opinion of what qualifies for a champ. It seems best to judge for yourself.

For me, personally - never found JFK that great, Einstein was an awesome visionary but I wouldn't say he was a hero, FDR only did what he did because he was threatened by the Socialist, Communist and Worker Union coalition, and George Washington believed in class separation between the Elite rich vs middle class and poor; Elitism.

Truly, the only man for American history I have the utmost admiration for and it's party because of his faults, was Ben Franklin. Dude was smart, scientific, visionary, wise, a bit of asshole and one hell of a pimp.
Not the man you'd make a great family figure, but one to look up to. One who if he boasted, it was eloquently, One who called it as it is, one who wasn't afraid to enjoy the pleasures the world had to bring him and one who knew that it was possible to live with Fundementalism, understanding that eventually, Reason would root it out. He had a very unique sense of humility, one that Ali did not have at all.

Ali was great, but a measure of man is far more complicated. I found him a great champion, but never agreed how he supported racism from his POV - he hated whites enough to justify segregation from a BLACK perspective. I'm sorry, but two wrongs do not equal one right. He failed, where many did, to see what the light really was. Fundamentalism and Dogma. He only saw the surface.

Non the less, even he said that if you had the same views at 50 that you did at 20, you didn't live - that tells me that perhaps he did see the truth more clearly; eventually.

RIP Ali. If there ever was a heaven, you'd give it a beat down.

I don't need to agree with a man's every viewpoint, or ignore his every foible, in order to regard him as great. I don't hold Ali as a her, myself. but those whom I do regard in that high esteem were surely equally flawed by my lights -- Churchill, Lincoln, Dr King.

All giants have feet of clay. Even at fifty (I can speak to flawed and fifty myself), and probably at 75, or 110.
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07-06-2016, 05:24 PM
RE: I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong. No VietCong Ever Called Me Nigger.
(07-06-2016 01:46 PM)Stevil Wrote:  Because he didn't consider himself an American. He was first and foremost Black and secondly Muslim. He considered the American - Vietnam war to be the white mans war.

(07-06-2016 10:30 AM)Deesse23 Wrote:  and didnt give a fuck about the consequences (his career was on hold and his title lost during his best years).
He didn't want to die fighting for the white man.

It seems you say that with derision. The fact is that black people at that time were hardly treated as Americans by their own country, so why should they have considered themselves as part of the society? They were, at best, second class citizens and at worst people with no rights and zero protection from the authorities.

He is a hero because he took a stand against injustice and was willing to pay a personal price for it. He could have left the US and lived elsewhere. He didn't. He remained and faced his accusers and their right and morality to send him to kill people who did nothing to him in the alleged defense of a way of life his government denied him. Personal sacrifice for a just cause is the definition of heroic. Your interpretation of his actions at that time could not be more wrong.

Regarding the KKK thing, I had never heard that until this week, but let's say it's true. So what? No one has said he was a perfect person, only that he was heroic. And, why wouldn't he want to be segregated from a race of people who treated him less than. But, whatever his sins were for that, I think he went on more than atone for him.

Finally, infidelity, while never a positive quality, is not a defining characteristic of the man and is a ridiculous reason to judge his overall actions. Martin Luther King Jr. fought for civil rights at great personal cost for 20 years. He was murdered for it. Before that he was beaten, threatened, and jailed. He also cheated on his wife. Are you going to make the argument he was less heroic because of it.

All these men we hoist up as heroes we hoist up and rever all ultimately just men (and women) with the same human failings and feet of clay that all of us suffer from. To say "well, he wasn't perfect, so there!" is just moronic.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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07-06-2016, 05:32 PM
RE: I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong. No VietCong Ever Called Me Nigger.
(07-06-2016 01:46 PM)Stevil Wrote:  He didn't want to die fighting for the white man.

Can't say I blame him. If you think of the era he grew up in, he had black veterans who'd fought racism in Europe with bullets coming home to be told they couldn't drink from this or that water fountain.

I would never want to die for my antagonist. Who would?

Ali, however, was smart enough to use his cultural position as a soapbox, and brave enough as well. When he said, "No Vietcong ever called me nigger", he was cutting to the core of that issue at a time when America wasn't ready for such blunt speech.

He had balls outside the ring as well as in it. Being willing to give up the prime of his career for his convictions commands my admiration, no matter how I feel about his views -- in this case I agree, but even if I didn't, I can still admire the chutzpah it takes to speak truth to power.
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08-06-2016, 01:44 PM
RE: I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong. No VietCong Ever Called Me Nigger.
(07-06-2016 05:24 PM)BnW Wrote:  [quote='Stevil' pid='1009001' dateline='1465328795']

He didn't want to die fighting for the white man.
It seems you say that with derision.
[/quote]
No, not derision. I have no problems with people not wanting to fight wars.
I'm certainly in no hurry for my govt to put a gun in my hand and send me off to shoot strangers.

My point though is that Ali isn't an American hero for merely not wanting to fight.
Ali wasn't necessarily against the Vietnam war or against war in general. He just didn't consider the war to be a black issue. He was completely caught up in his Black Muslim thing. He segregated himself from the country and the government, which is the reason why he didn't want to fight. It wasn't his fight, he had nothing against the Viet Com.
There is nothing evil "wrong" about the above, if I were in his shoes perhaps I too would be avoiding the draft.
BUT, I'm personally very unclear how that makes him a national hero? We have some activist Maori in NZ, we have some political Maori parties who are only interested in Maori issues and perhaps who want seperatism in the country rather than unity. They are not heros.
(07-06-2016 05:24 PM)BnW Wrote:  The fact is that black people at that time were hardly treated as Americans by their own country, so why should they have considered themselves as part of the society? They were, at best, second class citizens and at worst people with no rights and zero protection from the authorities.
Sure, I understand America has a horrible history of being cruel to the native Indians and to blacks. I understand this may have influenced Ali's political position and draft dogging.
(07-06-2016 05:24 PM)BnW Wrote:  He is a hero because he took a stand against injustice and was willing to pay a personal price for it.
It seems that many people dodged the draft. Ali is one of many.
(07-06-2016 05:24 PM)BnW Wrote:  He could have left the US and lived elsewhere. He didn't. He remained and faced his accusers and their right and morality to send him to kill people who did nothing to him in the alleged defense of a way of life his government denied him. Personal sacrifice for a just cause is the definition of heroic. Your interpretation of his actions at that time could not be more wrong.
The guy was anit establishment, anti white. It's not hero material. Doging the draft isn't hero material it is self preservation. Fair enough for him, but it isn't hero material.
(07-06-2016 05:24 PM)BnW Wrote:  Regarding the KKK thing, I had never heard that until this week, but let's say it's true.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAEVt8P9MJc
[quote='BnW' pid='1009101' dateline='1465341846']
So what? No one has said he was a perfect person, only that he was heroic.
Members and supporters of KKK aren't heros. They are the cause of conflict, they are bigots, they are haters.
(07-06-2016 05:24 PM)BnW Wrote:  And, why wouldn't he want to be segregated from a race of people who treated him less than.
Sure, good on him, but it doesn't make him a hero.
(07-06-2016 05:24 PM)BnW Wrote:  Finally, infidelity, while never a positive quality, is not a defining characteristic of the man and is a ridiculous reason to judge his overall actions.
I personally find it hard to respect someone who shits on their own family.
(07-06-2016 05:24 PM)BnW Wrote:  Martin Luther King Jr. fought for civil rights at great personal cost for 20 years. He was murdered for it. Before that he was beaten, threatened, and jailed. He also cheated on his wife. Are you going to make the argument he was less heroic because of it.
Sure, why not.
(07-06-2016 05:24 PM)BnW Wrote:  All these men we hoist up as heroes we hoist up and rever all ultimately just men (and women) with the same human failings and feet of clay that all of us suffer from. To say "well, he wasn't perfect, so there!" is just moronic.
I personally, can't see anything that Ali has done that is hero worthy.
But, of course, we are all entitled to our own opinions.
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08-06-2016, 01:51 PM
RE: I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong. No VietCong Ever Called Me Nigger.
(08-06-2016 01:44 PM)Stevil Wrote:  It seems that many people dodged the draft. Ali is one of many.

"Dodging the draft" would be running away (going to Canada like a lot of people did) or faking a physical infirmity. Ali didn't do any of that. He stood up and fought the draft, at the risk of his livelihood and his freedom (he could have gone to prison). That is not "dodging the draft". And yes, it seems heroic to me. Among other things, he was standing up for all American black people.
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08-06-2016, 02:06 PM
RE: I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong. No VietCong Ever Called Me Nigger.
(08-06-2016 01:51 PM)Grasshopper Wrote:  Among other things, he was standing up for all American black people.
And the KKK are standing up for all American white people, are they heroes too?
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08-06-2016, 02:17 PM (This post was last modified: 08-06-2016 02:20 PM by Grasshopper.)
RE: I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong. No VietCong Ever Called Me Nigger.
(08-06-2016 02:06 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(08-06-2016 01:51 PM)Grasshopper Wrote:  Among other things, he was standing up for all American black people.
And the KKK are standing up for all American white people, are they heroes too?

That's a different issue. I don't claim that he was a saint. I was addressing the "draft dodger" accusation only.

Also, white people have never in US history been discriminated against like black people were in the 1960s (or even now). So your analogy doesn't work.
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08-06-2016, 02:18 PM
RE: I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong. No VietCong Ever Called Me Nigger.
(07-06-2016 05:22 PM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote:  
(07-06-2016 09:02 AM)Einharjar Wrote:  Seems to be a back n' forth debate over what's acceptable as a hero.

I've only got to say this - America seems some what fine with Trump being their new hero. So don't take any one else's opinion of what qualifies for a champ. It seems best to judge for yourself.

For me, personally - never found JFK that great, Einstein was an awesome visionary but I wouldn't say he was a hero, FDR only did what he did because he was threatened by the Socialist, Communist and Worker Union coalition, and George Washington believed in class separation between the Elite rich vs middle class and poor; Elitism.

Truly, the only man for American history I have the utmost admiration for and it's party because of his faults, was Ben Franklin. Dude was smart, scientific, visionary, wise, a bit of asshole and one hell of a pimp.
Not the man you'd make a great family figure, but one to look up to. One who if he boasted, it was eloquently, One who called it as it is, one who wasn't afraid to enjoy the pleasures the world had to bring him and one who knew that it was possible to live with Fundementalism, understanding that eventually, Reason would root it out. He had a very unique sense of humility, one that Ali did not have at all.

Ali was great, but a measure of man is far more complicated. I found him a great champion, but never agreed how he supported racism from his POV - he hated whites enough to justify segregation from a BLACK perspective. I'm sorry, but two wrongs do not equal one right. He failed, where many did, to see what the light really was. Fundamentalism and Dogma. He only saw the surface.

Non the less, even he said that if you had the same views at 50 that you did at 20, you didn't live - that tells me that perhaps he did see the truth more clearly; eventually.

RIP Ali. If there ever was a heaven, you'd give it a beat down.

I don't need to agree with a man's every viewpoint, or ignore his every foible, in order to regard him as great. I don't hold Ali as a her, myself. but those whom I do regard in that high esteem were surely equally flawed by my lights -- Churchill, Lincoln, Dr King.

All giants have feet of clay. Even at fifty (I can speak to flawed and fifty myself), and probably at 75, or 110.

I wouldn't hold him as a her either. When I want to hold a her she looks a lot different than that!
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08-06-2016, 02:26 PM
RE: I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong. No VietCong Ever Called Me Nigger.
(08-06-2016 02:06 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(08-06-2016 01:51 PM)Grasshopper Wrote:  Among other things, he was standing up for all American black people.
And the KKK are standing up for all American white people, are they heroes too?

I think you need to understand more context to that particular period of American history, before you condemn Ali.


But as if to knock me down, reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch, cut me into little pieces

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