I have to admit it. There are somethings I admire about John McCain. Primarily, spending five years in a North Vietnamese prison. Like I used to tell my buddies when I was on active duty, there were two medals I had no desire for -- the Purple Heart and the POW Medal. Thanks Uncle Sam, but I'd prefer not getting shot or being locked up in a sweat box and beaten by Communists. Nope, no thanks.
However, I was initially irritated, and later just out and out mad, when I read this by McCain staffer Michael Goldfarb (you can read the original here:
"It may be typical of the pro-Obama Dungeons & Dragons crowd to disparage a fellow countryman's memory of war from the comfort of mom's basement, but most Americans have the humility and gratitude to respect and learn from the memories of men who suffered on behalf of others. John McCain has often said he witnessed a thousand acts of bravery while he was imprisoned, and though not every one has been submitted into the public record, they are remembered by the men who were there (one such only recently reported by Karl Rove though it escaped mention in any of Senator McCain's books). But as Swindle said, this is a "desperate group of people trying to make something out of nothing."
Ok, second admission. I played Dungeons and Dragons for years. Started with the old "blue" rule book from 1977-78, graduated to the 2nd Edition hardback books later, waiting eagerly on a small family dairy farm in northwest Arkansas for the newest module or book to come out. Working a part time job to make enough cash to afford the hobby and spending weekends staying up all night trying like hell to survive Tomb of Horrors.
Yes, I'm a card carrying geek. And at the ripe age of 17, I raised my right hand and swore to "uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States, against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and bear true faith and allegiance to the same." Just like Senator McCain. Just like all veterans do. And you know what? In basic training, in the streets of Panama City, in the deserts of Saudi Arabia and Iraq, and in fact, all over the U.S. military, there were D&D players. It was one of those things you never expect.
Why? I wonder what the fine folks at the McCain camp think about things like teamwork, loyalty, duty, honor, responsiblity, friendship, and good old wholesome family entertainment -- all things I learned and practiced playing D&D. Apparently, not too much, as noted in the quote above. It seems Mr. Goldfarb, with the blessings of his employer, has decided that anyone who plays Dungeons and Dragons is some sort of anti-social uber nerd, incapable of manly activities, such as political blogging or being shot down over Hanoi.
Well, as anyone with half a brain should know, not all D&D players live in their parents' basement. Some live upstairs.
And others, the vast majority of them, became doctors, lawyers, excelled in business, the arts, and even politics. And a more than a few of them put on the uniform and stand by the colors. And more than a few of them have come back from the very wars that men like Mr. Goldfarb have sent them covered in the colors, the same colors that are given to grieving mothers, wives, and girlfriends.
Yes, Mr. Goldfarb, I play Dungeons and Dragons. And I have, in my home, a very large box filled with medals and decorations that prove my service to this nation. Where were you, sir, when your country called? Oh yes, writing for the Weekly Standard.
While gaming geeks rallied around the flag.