Vietnam War book headed to the far-right

The military may call something like this “collateral damage.” A lawyer may refer to what happened to me as “incidental consequences.”

Whichever way you look at it, I could not have foreseen what would happen with the book I wrote on Vietnam ending up where it is ending up today.

While walking in Conshohocken, I met a fellow by the name of Tom, a veteran who served in the military and was discharged in 1961.

We had spoken when I saw his camouflage “boonie hat” and exchanged courtesies. He then surprised me by purchasing a cup of coffee for me at a restaurant he frequented. When I found out about the gesture, I decided to give him a gift in return. I marched to the place and spoke to the owner and requested she give Tom an autographed copy of my book, “Vietnam war Recall, the best and worst days of my life.“

Unbeknownst to me, Tom had purchased seven of the books on after I had left the book for his perusal. He had eventually read it and wanted to share them with other people.

He approached me several days later and told me about the purchases. In addition, he told me that he wanted me to sign three of the books so that he could send them to three people at three different organizations.

You never know what audience your writing may touch

(I should have suspected something wasn’t right. As we spoke, he stood outside a Catholic Church that was holding a meeting for anti-abortion rights advocates. Tom greeted several of them as they entered the church.)

I signed the books and learned that the first was to be sent to none other than Sean Hannity of Fox News. The other two were earmarked for persons working at OAN and at Newsmax. All three are known to be far-right opinion providers. None were part of a reading audience I had ever envisioned.

Who would’ve thought that a card-carrying liberal like me would be sending books like the one I wrote – not to glorify war but to point out the trauma inflicted by war – to such organizations? You just never know in life.

“Collateral damage” and “Incidental consequences” can occur without any thought or effort by you or me!

13 comments on “Vietnam War book headed to the far-right

  1. A good politician will tell you any press is good press! Look at it from a psychopaths point of view and run with the ball. Your message may be lost on some but will impact the ones ready to hear it, and I know you are not shy to stand up and be heard. I’m sure Tin O’Brian got a lot of negative press too, it doesn’t change the story, for that matter it makes it more present. Did you ever see the movie “The Ground Truth”?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. pkcapaldo says:

    Wow, Michael! I’m curious to see where this goes. Keep us posted. We’ve got your back!

    Liked by 1 person

    • contoveros says:

      Who would have thought that our writings would end up in such a foreign place?
      I could not have written anything more crazy even with one of the old prompts from “Just Write!”

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, this is troubling on one level, but also be helpful on another. It may not be such a bad thing at all. When I went on my first book tour I met with someone who completely misunderstood what I wrote about being a Black woman. They interpreted as they wanted to see it — meaning they said, “Carmen I love how you don’t care about being Black and that we’re all the same. Finally someone who gets it.” Uhem, that’s NOT what I wrote at all, nor is it what I intended! But we had a conversation about it. He was very committed to this idea that there is NO color and color doesn’t matter — and I was able to explain to him, that’s not the world I live in. It’s a nice idea, but we’re not there yet. What was great about the interaction, is that other White folk were able to chime in and explain to him what he was misunderstanding about that one chapter. So, my point is, this may be a GREAT thing. Don’t see it as collateral damage at all, see it as a great opportunity. If you get a call from Sean Hannity to come on his show — I hope you’ll say YES and take it as a way to maybe help some other people. Seriously. I loathe Sean Hannity with a passion, but if he asked me to come on his show — I would do it, knowing that my book — like yours — was written not to be a political book, but to help as many people as I can who find themselves in a similar situation. That’s just my 2 cents. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • contoveros says:

      You never really know how your writing will be viewed by a person or understood by someone who thinks completely different from what you would believe normal or regular-thining people would see things.
      I guess that’s the price we pay as writers.
      As far as appearing on anyone’s show, I will consider it and seek professional help from Doctor Carmen Suarez, the prominent brain surgeon according to what I read about her!


      • Yes, I love that: “the price we pay”. I never thought of it that way!

        Keep us posted on the Sean Hannity interview. I’m here to walk you through whether you need me or not!!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. cabrogal says:

    Hopefully he’s constructively engaged in trying to broaden the outlook of right-wingers and sees your book as a useful tool. It’s hard for conservatives to simply dismiss the views of someone who volunteered for military service.

    OTOH, it might be a good idea to start thinking about how to respond if your work is publicly vilified or misrepresented. Is there anything in it that can be used selectively or out of context to promote views you don’t share?

    Liked by 2 people

    • contoveros says:

      I hope the right-wingers can understand the effect war has not only on those taking part in the war zone but also on the families back home. That would be a plus.
      I was not critical of any conservative except Dick Cheney, the vice president that sent soldiers into the Iraq war to route out all of those weapons of mass destruction. There were none.
      Cheyney had gotten five deferments and never spent a single day in uniform but would not think twice about sending a middle-class or working-class fellow into combat.
      Other than that, I was non-political with the possible exception of the John Kerry quote: “Someone has to die so that President Nixon won’t be, and these are his words, the first president to lose a war.”

      Liked by 2 people

      • cabrogal says:

        Yeah, families, friends and community. They say if you travel you can never really come home but I think that goes double if you’re deployed into combat.

        I think anything can be political to someone with an axe to grind. Don’t be surprised if something completely innocuous you wrote is reforged into ammo for the culture war.


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