Nov. 11th, 2010

tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
Oh I marched to the battle of New Orleans
At the end of the early British war
The young land started growing
The young blood started flowing
But I ain't marchin' anymore

For I've killed my share of Indians
In a thousand different fights
I was there at the Little Big Horn
I heard many men lying I saw many more dying
But I ain't marchin' anymore

It's always the old to lead us to the war
It's always the young to fall
Now look at all we've won with the saber and the gun
Tell me is it worth it all

For I stole California from the Mexican land
Fought in the bloody Civil War
Yes I even killed my brothers
And so many others
But I ain't marchin' anymore

For I marched to the battles of the German trench
In a war that was bound to end all wars
Oh I must have killed a million men
And now they want me back again
But I ain't marchin' anymore

It's always the old to lead us to the war
It's always the young to fall
Now look at all we've won with the saber and the gun
Tell me is it worth it all

For I flew the final mission in the Japanese sky
Set off the mighty mushroom roar
When I saw the cities burning I knew that I was learning
That I ain't marchin' anymore

Now the labor leader's screamin'
when they close the missile plants,
United Fruit screams at the Cuban shore,
Call it "Peace" or call it "Treason,"
Call it "Love" or call it "Reason,"
But I ain't marchin' any more,
No I ain't marchin' any more

-- Phil Ochs, 1964
tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
A friend on Facebook posted this text:
A Veteran is someone, who at one point in their life, wrote a blank check payable to the United States of America for an amount up to and including their life. That is beyond honor; there are far too many people in this country who no longer remember this fact.

If there were a way in which I could serve my country by writing a blank check payable for an amount up to and including my own life, but not including someone else's life -- the life of someone who did not consent to sacrifice their life for my country, and for whom the basic circumstances of survival might be incompatible with my country's agenda -- I would do it. But my moral beliefs do not allow me to swear that I would be willing to take a life -- because I would not. I cannot conceive of being able to look at myself in the mirror in the morning as a person who believes that I am sufficiently wise, sufficiently far-seeing to make the decision that taking another person's life is the right thing to do in the long run, that taking that life might save the life of someone else who I'll never see, or at least that the probability of saving that other person's life is sufficiently high to justify extinguishing this one. To me, being an actor in a system wherein we do those kinds of calculations on each other's right to exist would be immoral. I could never be sufficiently sure that I was killing for... justice? Freedom? Whatever it was, not to advance the economic interests of the power elite of my country. Given how many people have killed a human being believing, or hoping, that they were killing for freedom and justice, but who were actually killing in order to keep a defense contractor in Cristal -- I would not be able to say, straight-faced, that I was the one exception, that I wasn't like all those other killers. What would make me so different?

This is all kind of abstract, as I'm nearly 30, transsexual, and flat-footed; I may not be the last person who would get drafted if the de facto, economically propelled draft that's in effect in this country stopped providing enough cannon fodder, but I'd be pretty close to the last boy picked for the team. Even so, I hope you'll believe me when I say that if there was an obvious way to serve that didn't require me to promise to hurt anyone else, that didn't require me to be taught how to hurt other people without feeling bad about it, I would do it. But the shops don't close for Peace Corps Day.

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tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
Tim Chevalier

September 2017

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