Bluegrass State Mineworker Joe Holland risked – and almost lost – his life for his country in Vietnam.
So he wants fellow vets to send a message to Ted Nugent.
“Put a lid on it,” says Holland, the Owensboro, Ky.-based AFL-CIO Southern field representative.
Holland has packed a United Mine Workers of America union card for most of his 62 years. He’s voting for President Obama again.
Nugent, the draft-evading, right-wing Republican has-been rocker, is for Mitt Romney.
Nugent, who relishes the macho handle “Motor City Madman,” was in full cry at the recent National Rifle Association convention in St. Louis .
He said Obama and members of his administration are “criminals.” A legend in his own mind, Nugent warned he’ll wind up “dead or in jail” if Obama wins another term.
Nugent challenged “patriots” and “bravehearts” to "ride into that battlefield and chop their [Democrats] heads off in November.” The NRA conventioneers who heard him grinned, nodded and clapped in approval--at least the ones I saw on TV did.
Nugent, 63, is famous for tough talk, often obscenity-laced. Oh, how he hates communists – liberals, too. But he loves guns, hunting and the military.
Nugent also favors army-style duds, including camouflage cowboy hats. He had one at the NRA conclave.
In his salad days, Nugent had a chance to put his life on the line for his country like Holland did.
Nugent, too, could have donned a real army uniform, grabbed an M-16 rifle and stalked communist Viet Cong and North Vietnamese soldiers in South Vietnam .
“He could have had every opportunity to hunt over there,” Holland said. But he adding that the quarry was packing heat and shooting back in Vietnam.
On his MSNBC TV show the other night, Lawrence O'Donnell all but called Nugent a chicken:
"He clearly does not have what it takes to aim a firearm at a human being and pull the trigger. He was offered a big opportunity to do that during the Vietnam War, and like his candidate, Mitt Romney, he managed to completely evade the draft, completely avoid military service — and then, of course, grew up to be a Republican warmonger in favor of all wars that don’t demand their services on the battlefield."
While Nugent was stateside in civvies making music and money, Holland was fighting his country's enemies in South Vietnam . It was 1969.
A booby trap fashioned from a captured U.S. 105-millimeter artillery shell nearly killed Holland, a corporal in the 9th Infantry Division, the storied "Old Reliables.”
The explosion claimed the life of the soldier walking behind him. Holland spent six months recuperating in hospitals.
“Ted Nugent doesn’t speak for those of us who were in Vietnam," said Holland, who came home with a Purple Heart medal and a Combat Infantryman's Badge pinned on his uniform.
Okay, I didn’t go "over there." I'm not even a veteran.
But I didn’t want anybody going to Vietnam. I guess that makes me a plain chicken.
I'm the same age as Joe Holland. I've packed an American Federation of Teachers Union Card in my wallet for a long time.
I'm proud to call Joe and a lot of other vets my union brothers and sisters.
But Nugent is more proof, as if proof were needed, that talk is about the cheapest commodity around. And tough talk from a foul-mouthed old draft dodger is not just cheap, it's worthless.