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m. anderson, Vietnam veteran
Mpls, MN, USA

Senator Phil Grams,

You've heard the refrain. One of the main reasons the wounds of Viet Nam don't heal is that many of us who served our country feel our country turned it's back on us when we came home. Denying honor to anyone who made a sacrifice and contribution to the Viet Nam war effort, which is your intent with your legislation aimed at the Hmong, is precisely why so many people remain so angry at elected officials, like yourself.

The manner in which you did this is insidious and therefore indicative that you don't have the fortitude (read; are too cowardly) to address the issue head on by coming right out and saying you don't want these people to be citizens. It is not enough that your most illustrious Republican leader secretly dropped more bombs on Laos than all of what was dropped in World War II and the Hmong were working for the CIA helping to save American lives, they're being Asian is apparently reason enough for you to turn your back on them. That shouldn't be surprising considering the Republican leadership have turned their back on their own American soldiers (by delaying and obstructing construction of the Viet Nam Memorial, removing PTSD from clinical diagnosis, dragging your feet on Agent Orange and Hepatitis, refusing to fund ‘welcome home' parades, and on and on and on.)

Throughout history, it has been fundamental for societies to honor their soldiers. I have never understood how the Republicans, who are always crowing about defense spending, security, patriotism, diplomacy by military intervention, and the like, do not, in actuality honor soldiers. I don't know if it is because so many Republicans were born into privilege and avoided Viet Nam or it is because you tend to be ingrates.

These Hmong were soldiers. Who the hell are you not to honor them?

Somehow, I expect our highest level leaders to concern themselves with lofty issues like freedom, justice, equality and ridding the world of tyrants and banana republics, but instead, right in here in Minnesota, we have a Senator spending his time figuring out ways to keep soldiers who served America from being honored.

This kind of legislative stunt is precisely why I have concluded that most Republican leaders are possessed primarily of two qualities; First, and above all else, they are cowards. Secondly, they are hypocrites.

You're a hypocrite because you run around preaching family values to the rest of us, but when you own child needed your time as a father, you were too busy punching your own career ticket to exercise your responsibility as a parent.

It is unfortunate that the media in this town has been cowed by accusations of liberal bias, because it prevented them from raising the most important and revealing issue surround your son. And, it was not whether or not you sought special treatment, (which I don't think you did,) but, how does your son's drug and alcohol abuse and other behavior reflect on you as a father. The best way for the media to draw a clear picture of the kind of person you really are, would be to interview your son and juxtaposition it with one of your family value speeches.

Anyone with common sense, especially ‘family value Republicans' would normally acknowledge, that is in any context other than one of their own peccadillos, that problems and behavior of the kind we saw from your son typically results from spiritually and/or physically and/or emotionally absent parenting.

You have confused the recognition of being a news reader with believing you are a leader. My parting advice is, and I know you'll agree with me here; try to keep in mind, that if the T.V. took almost anyone of the street who had straight teeth and put them on the evening news for ten years, they could do what you've done.

Bottom line; how many ‘family value' Republicans in Congress are there, would you guess, in addition to Henry Hyde, Speakers Livingston, and Gingrich who wallowed in Clinton's extra-marital affair, have had extra-marital affairs, or have children or wives who abuse drugs and/or alcohol or otherwise have been a contributor to a dysfunctional family; preach family values, as you have, or avoided Viet Nam, talk about patriotism and don't understand what it means to honor our soldiers?

Kissinger and McNamara and most of your "distinguished" colleagues are war criminals.

In case I haven't made myself clear, I feel you and your Republican brethren are singularly the most negative and destructive force on earth.



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