The Senator’s Legs
Of course he said it. We all know he said it. “Suckers” and “losers” echoed from the same empty soul that told us John McCain wasn’t a war hero because “he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
Our Narcissist-in-Chief thinks those who gave their lives for the nation were “suckers” because they bought into the idea of patriotism. They believed in service to ideals like freedom, liberty, and justice. Some won medals. Some cried for their mother. All died because they were “losers.”
Mary Trump’s book tells us her uncle is pathetically weak because “he knows deep down that he is nothing of what he claims to be.” He’s a faker, a sham, a coward. They broke 17 of John McCain’s bones for every “spur” on Trump’s feet, leaving John unable to raise his arms over his head. Someone had to comb his hair. And this Excuse in the White House thinks McCain suffered because he was a sucker. A loser.
Service is an American ideal. It’s rooted deep in our history. But service to others — to the neighbor, the nation, the refugee haunting our borders — is only an ideal if we can see beyond ourselves. As Fred Rogers taught us all: “Life is for service.” But only if you can care for something greater than self.
In 1974 I went to work in the White House because I felt called to serve. For the first time, an “advanceman for the President” would be, in fact, a woman. Me. The hours were long and the pay was paltry but I was honored to do the work because I was serving. And, in fact, I was also learning about service from the men I traveled with, the agents in the Secret Service.
Larry Buendorf was the presidential detail’s comedian. We’d be exhausted; he’d make us laugh. He’s also the man who, on September 5, 1975, didn’t hesitate when Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme attempted to kill President Ford. Buendort plunged through the crowd, toward — not away from — the gun to wrestle it from her hand. He then refused all interviews for fear someone might, as he told me, think he was “heroic or something.” Buendorf was just serving.
More than 1.3 million Americans are currently in “the service,” inspired by men like John McCain and women like Senator Tammy Duckworth. Donald Trump was playing with porn stars on November 12, 2004, while Tammy Duckworth was piloting her Black Hawk helicopter in Iraq. I don’t know what part of himself Donald Trump gave to his girlfriends but I know that, by day’s end, Tammy Duckworth had given her legs to her country.
Donald Trump was able to walk out on America when he saw that service meant sacrifice. He still thinks his escape from the draft is evidence of his intelligence, not proof of his cowardice. It’s his sad justification for calling those who served and died “suckers” and “losers.”
I humbly disagree. Every time I hear about Trump’s bone spurs I think about the Senator’s legs. And service.