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Veterans? Not likely. Wannabes? Probably. Over the years I found that many gun fanciers are those who dress up in camos and pretend they are something they are not.
Attend a NASCAR race like the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte, North Carolina, this past weekend and too many of the participants, following the race, climb into souped up cars, gun the engines and act like some sort of race car drivers. They’re not, of course, but too often pretend they are.
America is, by and large, a nation of wannabes — people who pretend they are something they are not.
We see it on the Internet: bloggers who pretend they are journalists or phonies who post comments pretending they know something about the subject of article about politics, government or society while posting under an anonymous “handle” or fake names.
Companies nowadays employ specialty firms to sniff out and find fake information in resumes and information from a job application. Newspapers aren’t immune. The Washington Post had to return a Pulitzer Prize given to Janet Cooke, who claimed a degree she didn’t have and wrote a series about a drug-using boy who didn’t exist. The New York Times had to admit that Jayson Blair sat in his apartment and posted stories from locations he didn’t travel to. The New Republic fired Stephen Glass after findng he had fabricated part or all of at least 27 stories in the magazine.
Employment counselors say more than half of Americans applying for jobs lie on their resumes, put false information into job applications or omit information about arrests.
Politics has more than its share of phonies and frauds. In 2010, Senate candidate and Connecticut attorney general Richard Blumenthal claimed he served in Vietnam. The New York Times discovered he used five deferments to avoid such service. Iowas Senator Tom Harkin, a one-time Presidential candidate, claimed he flew combat missions in Vietnam. Turns out he was a Navy pilot in Japan and at Gitmo in Cuba and never flew in combat.
In 2006, Congress passed the Stolen Valor Act, making it a crime to claim a medal or decoration from military service. President Bush signed it into law but a federal court in 2010 declared the act unconstitutional and the Supreme Court upheld that decision in 2012, saying the right to lie was protected by the First Amendment.
Earlier this month, the Korean War Veterans Association ousted its 80-year-old present, James E. Ferris, after finding he wore a number of military medals and decorations he never earned.
A new days later, Congress passed a new version of the Stolen Valor Act and sent it to President Barack Obama.
Some had hoped Obama would sign the bill on Memorial Day as an honor to veterans but on the day following the national holiday to honor those who did serve their country, a law punishing those who who claim they did still awaits his signature.