This is my stop, I wanna get off
When you dodge even the hint of war half a dozen times, and hide yourself away in the Air National Guard, why would you criticize a decorated war-veteran? Why would you do that? Why would you say he didn’t throw his medals away, “only” threw his ribbons? That sounds like the lamentations of someone who’s not familiar with the military… which Bush isn’t, having never really served in one. Having grown up in the military, I can tell you: ribbons are medals. They represent to the world what you did. No one wears their medals, they sit in a case or at the bottom of the drawer. You wear the ribbons.
You know Jack Nickolson in A Few Good Men? Sitting on the stand, spittle forming on lips, about to deliver his cliche. Covering his heart is a veritable field of multi-colored ribbons, each signifying meritous action. You don’t think it would be significant if old Jack had ripped them right off his chest and thrown them at Tom Cruise’s feet? Don’t talk about what you don’t know.
And besides, let’s say Kerry’s vanity outweighed his anti-war hubris. Let’s say that Kerry was, God forbid, proud of serving his country, and chose to keep his medals at the expense of his ribbons. The detail that seems to be missing from the Bush logic is that Kerry has the medals to do with as he pleases. He has the three Purple Hearts, a Silver Star, and a Bronze Star.
Bush has… nothing; save for enough questions about his whereabouts during 1972-1973 that whisperings of AWOL are starting to float around.
Military service does not make a good president. Dodging your duty and objecting to war does not (necessarily) make you any less of a patriot. Earning medals does not mean you will be better able to succeed in the rigors of world leadership any better than the next guy.
But if you don’t have it, if you didn’t earn it, if you weren’t able, don’t criticize a man who was. Medals? Ribbons? You’re missing the forest for the trees.