Lying has become a social condition. We are growing a lot of people who take the easy way out.
So Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal bragged he was a Marine in Vietnam, but his record shows he never left the U.S.A. Hello?
He’s not the only one who convinced himself he served in a war. The brags build around Memorial Day.
The Marines had to be tough on Blumenthal. He was a reservist, but imagine being in the blood-and-guts U.S.M.C. and missing the fight. He took the political way out — lie.
That is a character flaw not corrected by the common mea culpa press conference. Kleenex, please.
The military makes the lies easy. You could fake heroism in service and when you got home. Some guys I knew simply headed to the base exchange, where they could buy patches and badges for everything, from Vietnam service to the Medal of Honor.
The most important pin in the Army was the Combat Infantryman’s Badge. Without that on your chest, you were going nowhere. Two-fifty bought one at the PX.
This causes me to wonder about any chest full of “lettuce and steel.” I saw idiots who were just out of basic training wearing Vietnam heroism medals.
The same happened after World War II and probably all wars. Heroism was claimed, not won, and that continues today. It’s an insult to all those who really did serve.
On the other side, there is pain for those who did not serve. My dad shattered his leg playing college football. It eventually kept him out of the draft during WW II. He always regretted that. All of his friends went. A man his age without military service was an anomaly, some said shameful.
Not that he didn’t serve. He volunteered for a federal job prosecuting war fraud. He never mentioned it, until one day in downtown Cleveland. Dad stopped at a street corner.
“Look at that door. That’s where I got Nicky Ward, counterfeiter.”
I was shocked. He never showed us his badge or his commendation. He kept those in the bottom of his sock drawer. He never said he carried a gun. Rats. I could have used that on the playground.
Dad could have continued in the FBI, but decided to come home and raise a family (lucky for me).
Lying has become a social condition. We are growing a lot of people who take the easy way out. That is, until a reporter at the New York Times puts two and two together and it equals zero.
Contact Jim Hillibish at firstname.lastname@example.org.