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Muhammad Ali vs Donald Trump

radcen

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Muhammad Ali vs Donald Trump

Vietnam War. The draft. Military service.

Ali refused the draft and risked prison. The Donald wrangled several deferments. Regardless the method, neither wanted to go to Vietnam and/or serve in the military, though their individual reasons differed, no doubt.

Ali is generally viewed as a brave man for doing so. A hero, by many. The Donald, on the flip side, is pretty much vilified.

Why the difference in public perception?
 

Skeptic Bob

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First, of all the things I might vilify Trump for, trying to avoid going to Vietnam is not one of them. I don't hold any ill will against him for that. There is absolutely nothing wrong with not wanting to go to some foreign country that never attacked you in order to kill them and possibly die yourself. That is about as sane a thing as a person can do. And I say this as a person who served 20 years.

However, Ali isn't just forgiven for it, he is lauded for it. Why? Because of how he did it. He didn't try to make up excuses for why he couldn't go (which I would forgive). He didn't run away to Canada (which I would forgive). No, he took it as an opportunity to make a political statement. And he sacrificed in order to make that statement. He gave up his prime boxing years in order to refuse.

And it was especially powerful given that it was the civil rights era. He loudly, and angrily, made the obvious point that it was outrageous to expect black men to go fight for a country that wouldn't even recognize them as equal citizens.

I understand those who avoided the draft through fleeing or legal/medical actions. I honor those who refused on principle and bravely faced the consequences.
 

radcen

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First, of all the things I might vilify Trump for, trying to avoid going to Vietnam is not one of them. I don't hold any ill will against him for that. There is absolutely nothing wrong with not wanting to go to some foreign country that never attacked you in order to kill them and possibly die yourself. That is about as sane a thing as a person can do. And I say this as a person who served 20 years.

However, Ali isn't just forgiven for it, he is lauded for it. Why? Because of how he did it. He didn't try to make up excuses for why he couldn't go (which I would forgive). He didn't run away to Canada (which I would forgive). No, he took it as an opportunity to make a political statement. And he sacrificed in order to make that statement. He gave up his prime boxing years in order to refuse.

And it was especially powerful given that it was the civil rights era. He loudly, and angrily, made the obvious point that it was outrageous to expect black men to go fight for a country that wouldn't even recognize them as equal citizens.

I understand those who avoided the draft through fleeing or legal/medical actions. I honor those who refused on principle and bravely faced the consequences.
Outstanding post!

And I don't disagree at all with your point re somebody else's war. But, like you said, Ali gave credence to the meaning of civil disobedience... he was willing to take the hit to stand up for his convictions.
 

shrubnose

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"Muhammad Ali taught us that life is best when you build bridges between people,not walls." ~ Billy Crystal

Maybe someday Trump will learn that.
 

Moot

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So did Trump go to Ali's funeral?
 

Deuce

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Muhammad Ali vs Donald Trump

Vietnam War. The draft. Military service.

Ali refused the draft and risked prison. The Donald wrangled several deferments. Regardless the method, neither wanted to go to Vietnam and/or serve in the military, though their individual reasons differed, no doubt.

Ali is generally viewed as a brave man for doing so. A hero, by many. The Donald, on the flip side, is pretty much vilified.

Why the difference in public perception?

Donald Trump is villified for about four hundred different reasons but I can't remember "draft dodger" even being one of them.
 
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