Ted Nugent, Muhammad Ali and racism in America

You couldn’t pick a more striking pair to illustrate racism in America than the white songman Ted Nugent and the great boxer Muhammad Ali, a black man.

Ali has been scorned, berated and hated as a draft-dodger supreme for using his religious beliefs to escape serving in Vietnam.

Nugent is adored by a certain caste of Americans, who want at any cost to remove President Obama, a black man, from office in the next election.  It is my belief that every one of the Nugent lovers would agree Ali was a draft-dodger, and that Nugent was not.  Nothing wrong with that, at least on the surface.

Nothing wrong until you consider Nugent’s own status during the Vietnam War.  In a 1977 interview with High Times, Nugent described the intricate and disgusting steps he took to avoid the war.  Nugent later denied the story, and said he had a student deferment

Nugent at various times, according to his bio in Wikipedia, was deemed 1-Y and 2-S by the draft board.  The 1-Y is a physical disability deferment and 2-S is a student deferment.  Both deferments, particularly the student one, were legal means for young men to dodge the draft.

It is impossible to know what was in Nugent’s mind when he enrolled at Oakland Community College.  Maybe he was a serious academic at the time, that college meant a lot to him.  But if he was serious, the mood apparently didn’t last long.  He never received a degree from any college I’m aware of.

At the same time, no one can see inside Ali’s religious beliefs.  But unlike Nugent, Ali has remained faithful to his religion all these years.  And yet he is called “draft-dodger” by a segment of American society.  Why single out one and not the other?  Is this not unjust?  Does it not smack of clear and present racism?

Not only, in my opinion, is Ted Nugent a non-repentant draft-dodger, he is a blatant racist and a phony.  Speaking of Democrats and especially Obama’s re-election, Nugent was quoted as saying at a recent National Rifle Association rally:  “We need to ride into the battlefield and chop their heads off in November.”

This chest-thumping allusion to courage and aggressiveness on the fields of battle rings hollow.

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