Bush: the National Guard, Tennis, and Sacrifice

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Some now decry the way George W. Bush served our country during the Vietnam era. They point out that when he was obligated to serve, April 1972 to May 1973, he apparently did not show up. They are overlooking the quality of W's service. Why, he served our country then every bit as well as Dan Quayle, his father's vice-president. Quayle did his best to protect the golf courses of Indiana from military invasion from abroad. W, we know, did no less. In fact, he did more. He volunteered. He extended himself beyond the exertions of Dan Quayle's golf sorties. A patriot, like George W. Bush, could and did serve our country in other ways, while obligated to the Guard. He may not have made it to the armories or air fields in Alabama, where he was supposed to show up, but according to some of the older Republican women from Alabama -- who called him the Texas Souffle then because they saw and heard him as a Texan full of hot air -- he did go out of his way to play tennis with their daughters. Tennis, in the hot sun, requires more energy than playing golf; players risk dehydration. Not only did W squarely face this risk, but he also, sometimes, even allowed the young women to win. His tennis match losses evinced his humility -- or perhaps his inebriation -- no one's sure. When you next hold a tennis ball in your hand, think how our president once served his country, away from the Alabama armory, away from the planes, very far away from Vietnam, at the country club where he swatted tennis balls back and forth with young misses, in the hot sun, protecting them from the seedier elements of American society in 1972. Sacrifice -- heating up under the sun on the courts -- then in only his early 20's; Bush knew what it means to sacrifice for one's country -- club. Today, in his 50's, as President, again and again, W skips eating desert at lunch, AND dinner. Who among us makes sacrifices like that? Yes, many, many unemployed men and women in America also skip eating desert so they can feed their children. But they don't count, since they so often don't vote. Also, among those unemployed, Black men and women don't count at all, since their votes are uncounted.

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