Shocking the Jar: The Spitting Image

By M. Jane Letty

Political Narrative Essay/5000-words * 20 minute read

“The 1960s had brought its share of progress; unfortunately, it didn’t come easily.  Lives were lost and rioting was commonplace.  By the time the 1970s rolled around, tensions were still thick.  Can your mind even comprehend seeing on your television news a troupe black men bearing fully automatic weaponry declaring war on the white man?  That’s exactly what occurred.  Today, we’d probably initiate drone attacks.  But in the 70s, it just blended in with the cornucopia of unrest.” ~Scared America: 8 Crises and Collective Panics of the 1970s

We continue, where we left off from Part I, Shocking the Jar: Woad Rage, and Part II, Shocking the Jar: Full-Marxist Jacket, but here we’re going to delve a little deeper into the history of a then-and-now comparison as related to the politicians, media, and radicalized activists with an emphasis on the history they made…and doomed us to repeat it. As are most of my articles, this portion is embedded-link-intensive.  Especially, out of respect to the historical nature and narrative of the Vietnam War from the repertoire of those who were there, still with us and sadly no longer, and also to expose those who weren’t but sent them there…instead. I’ve set the links so to open in a new tab, so you can bookmark without losing your place, (in grey). There’s a lot to cover in our attempt to try to comprehend the incomprehensible: why they’ve done to us what they’ve done—for a second time—with such precision and avid delight.

Although the theme of this essay isn’t about spitting, we’ll touch on it. The subtitle is to highlight the spitting images of our American culture of the late 60s/70s to the present. Specifically, the treatment of Vietnam Veterans vs. Law enforcement by the politicians, media, and other members of the seedy underbelly currently deteriorating the foundation of our great nation. You’ll see they’ve been spitting on us a long time and how much they love spitting on us almost as much as when they can get us to spit at one another—literally or figuratively. It’s done to lead the ignorant into believing this crude behavior is indicative of popular opinion. It’s not. It is, however, a reflection of how they hate anyone who stands for American values and traditions—us. The truth is decent people are more repulsed by the spitter than they are of the spat upon. Especially true of a combat vet returning from fighting to communism from spreading and a police officer protecting them from criminals.

Just as more Americans were outraged at the news of someone daring to spit on a combat soldier returning from Vietnam, most were just as outraged at the spitting on law enforcement during the Floyd riots because it’s despicable.

Spitting gets in your face for your attention to nonsense that would otherwise—and should be—ignored, (e.g. making local issues and corrupted policies of their own doing a national disgrace).

However, the reports of American heroes—then and now—are intentionally used to disgrace the target of a political narrative. The first time they used it, they had an actual race war, which they also created, but deflected to the Veterans; this time they needed to start another race war, thus deflected to law enforcement. I have no doubt, if they were able to make the wars going on in the Middle East as unpopular as they did with Vietnam with their narratives, then, and the soldiers were returning, they would’ve used them the way they did the police for the war they started. It’s not that they didn’t want to use the same “Baby Killer” trope, but they wouldn’t have gotten the kind of attention they were seeking because it wouldn’t pair well with their other narrative—“Abortion is healthcare.”

See how that works, now?

I want to be respectfully delicate regarding the Vietnam Veterans who did experience this particular type of abuse. My objective isn’t to argue or dismiss this issue. Rather, the focus is on rhetoric the media used both times in history to exploit a painful event for the Vietnam Veterans and to foment hatred toward the next-best brave members of society we have—our law enforcement officers—for both ratings and as political contributions-in-kind. There plenty of articles and books on this topic, but I found the below excerpt in line with my beliefs as well as having heard with my own ears experiences from former patients. But, it’s the last paragraph that returns us to the main theme of this essay—the shocking of the jar and how politicians, military officials, and the media place inside of it, 100 red ants (pro-war Hawks) and 100 black ants (anti-war Doves), splays them on the ground to watch the fight.

So, what are we to make of all this information? First, it’s impossible to prove the negative. Thus, we can never definitively proof that no Vietnam veteran was ever spat upon. Second, there is no physical evidence of a spitting attack. No pictures, no video, nothing. It’s all eyewitness accounts.

It seems probable that it must’ve happened somewhere, sometime. I find it hard to imagine that no soldier was ever spat upon by an anti-war protestor. The real question is whether it occurred with any degree of frequency. Did it happen all the time? Or was it just isolated examples?

Personally, I would guess it happened infrequently. True, Lindgren has unearthed stories of spitting from the period and thus, seemingly upended part of Lembcke’s thesis. But these are a drop in the bucket compared to the over 500,000 American soldiers that fought in some capacity during that war.

The issue of spitting during the Vietnam War may seem small, even irrelevant today. However, it’s important to remember the role that the spitting imagery has played in America’s current military conflicts. In many ways, this stab in the back legend has led to the current “Support the Troops” slogan, which is based on the idea that we don’t want to treat today’s soldiers like we treated the Vietnam Veterans. And some would argue that “Support the Troops” is really nothing more than a slogan used by pro-war Hawks to intimidate anti-war Doves and maintain support for wars that would otherwise be increasingly unpopular.” ~Stab in the Back: Spit & Vietnam Veterans? – Guerrilla Explorer (

The anti-war, (and now rebranded as anti-police, anti-American) Democrats only love one thing more than the spoils of Marxism—breaking people from the inside-out. They do this because it weakens a strong person’s resolve to give in to the victim mentality necessary to exploit their pain and tilt or damage their critical reasoning skills. If we’re to be honest, there are some who came back with all their limbs, but what Vietnam didn’t break, our own government and the first “woke/cancel culture” liberals did.

According to Wikipedia: (I know, I know, but…) “Critical thinking is the analysis of facts to form a judgment. The subject is complex, and several different definitions exist, which generally include the rational, skeptical, unbiased analysis, or evaluation of factual evidence. Critical thinking is self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. It presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use. It entails effective communication and problem-solving abilities as well as a commitment to overcome native egocentrism and sociocentrism.”~ Critical thinking – Wikipedia

The environment the politicians and military complex of the FDR/JFK/LBJ eras created was intended to protect their vested interests and make those returning from an unpopular war, made more unpopular by media exploitation, into scapegoats to distract from the impending congressional hearings about their Vietnam War chicanery. Traumatized by the atrocities our soldiers endured, no matter how tough their leathernecks may have become, the average age of a Vietnam soldier was 22. They didn’t consider the impact on them at all because the only thing that matters in politics is saving political face and defending their agenda instead of Americans. If this sounds familiar, it should. The Left’s aging miscreants are all the more diabolic because this is a grudge they’ve nurtured from the 60s and 70s, exacerbated by losing 2016 to President Trump who dragged them out into the light for all to see.

“Today, most scholars believe the alleged attack on American destroyers that President Johnson used to secure the Tonkin Resolution never happened. Doubts about the White House account began to surface soon after, but Congress had already passed the far-reaching resolution, thanks in no small part to a key endorsement from Fulbright.

“I believed what we were told about it in the committee,” Fulbright said. “No one had the skepticism that is essential, I’ve since discovered. We accepted it. I had no feeling that there would be a disposition to misrepresent what actually happened.”

As more intelligence began to emerge about what transpired in the Gulf of Tonkin, and about the conduct of the war itself, Fullbright’s attitude changed dramatically.

“I felt that I had been taken,” Fulbright said. “They weren’t trying to stop the war at all; they were trying to win it. What his motives were and what moved him to pursue that policy has always been a mystery to me. I tried what best I could to persuade him not to.”

When Fulbright realized he could not influence Johnson personally, he decided the only hope “would be then to take it public and to have a public discussion of it.”

~ The 1966 Fulbright hearings on Vietnam parted the curtains on President Johnson’s conduct of the war (

The Floyd riots were about more than just the narrative. It was to re-abuse police officers in certain cities—Democrat-run cities like Baltimore, D.C., or any other place where the liberal anti-war groupies of the 60s and 70s were activated. Just as law enforcement officers who live and work in the Democrat-ravaged cities that hosted the riots from 1963 to 2020, the combat veterans returning from the Vietnam War were also received in a similar fashion in selected cities, by the same people who went from being anti-war activists into politics and never left; becoming mayors, governors, congressmen, senators and even presidents.

Inset below, is a statement from an actual USMC Combat Veteran who, at age 19, healthy, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed young man, without hesitation, complaint, or excuse, left his family to honorably serve his country because his country asked him. He swapped out his own sport coat for a flak-jacket to hump the Bush. He later joined a newly formed Civic Action Platoon that would actually move into isolated villages in groups of 4 or 5 and teach the Vietnamese men there how to defend their homes and families, and do night operations that seemed like endless missions of mercy. The campaign to “Win their hearts and minds” was starting in earnest by then. Unfortunately, any goodwill that might’ve been was negated by Tet Offensive. Oscar Wilde’s quote “No good deed goes unpunished” couldn’t have been more prophetic.

It’s a snapshot, encompassing what he observed upon returning from Vietnam and his take on the enticement for recruiting returning combat veterans to become police officers at the height of both race and anti-war riots of the 1970s.

As I suspected, it had to be excruciatingly frustrating and, as tough as any Vet worth their salt, harder for the Vietnam Veterans and/or retired law enforcement, to watch the “Democrat’s 70s Revival” riots this past summer. It’s to highlight the pattern, the connection between what was going on, then, that’s not vastly different from now. All the Left did as activists-turned-politicians was swap out Gulf of Tonkin Incident for Mueller Report; Tet Offensive for Covid-19; 1992 LA Riots for George Floyd riots; anti-war for anti-cop; Nixon’s Watergate for Trump’s (Ukraine phone call) Impeachment; Project 100,000 for Black Lives Matter; Great Society for Green Jim Crow; Capitol Invasion for Capitol Insurrection, etc., etc.

All it cost us was…our Constitutional Republic.

Brave to the end, every one of them. Like the man whom when I asked him to confirm my suspicions about the parallels of what’s going on with the anti-law enforcement issue as it related to vets returning home, facing anti-war activists, gave it to me straight-no-chaser, and so I’ve not edited it or changed it in any way. (Thank you, Sarge!)

And, just like war…it ain’t pretty:

“Prior to departing for VN we had to fly to California. Since we were all “boots” heading for the same shithole, it wasn’t uncommon to have many uniformed people flying together or many others traveling to other destinations. There wasn’t any harassment or spitting going on back in late 1967 and early 1968.

Coming home from there, no one busted my chops either. Other than some bootcamp 2nd LT bitching about my hands in my pockets when we got off the plane in Okinawa, from Nam. Feck him. I wasn’t going to give him any shit this close to getting home after almost 18 months. We were traveling in winter grade, greens that looked sharp. The ribbons and marksman badges also added to the “allure”. What was strange was that we never “decompressed” from there. We just got the fuck out and kept going. We met some of the same guys that we had flown over together with until we all got split up in Da Nang upon landing there. We all looked different to each other after 13 months but we all recognized our gaunt, suntanned faces. Some of our friends and fellow travelers weren’t there for the ride back and no one asked or talked about it. We knew.

 The flight from Oki to San Francisco seemed a lot longer than the trip over to there so many months ago. Most of us were split up on Oki so the ride back was with mostly guys that were getting out of there. Arriving in San Fran, the headquarters of the “Haight Ashbury” anti-war gang.

We were all a bit edgy, but stayed alert. Our apprehension was unnecessary.  Having a few hours to wait for my flight to Newark, I did the most prudent thing possible. I went to the Airport bar and started to get fecked up. I couldn’t believe how nice everyone was there, from the bartenders and waitresses to the other patrons. I would have to say that I had more drinks bought for me than I paid for. That also contributed to a few of us being shitfaced on the flight back.  When traveling to several other destinations on the east coast. I always was in uniform and experienced a similar reaction (on a smaller scale) by everyone that I met. I never had any problem with anyone on the street or in an airport. Maybe a strange look once or twice, but never any harassment or spitting. I always wondered about that spitting shit. I don’t think that it was as common as it was made out to be. I would’ve had to buy stock in denture manufacturers if it was that common, as there would’ve been thousands of teeth knocked out of spitters’ mouths. Those assholes didn’t want to fuck with any of us anyway. Me and my fellow vets, especially after we got out, agreed that we never saw a spitting incident nor met a vet that was spit on. Maybe a few “pogues” (rear echelons or even guys that never even went to RVN, but were in uniform in the states) got it and then bleated about it? Who knows?

The day finally comes. We’re finally out of “the suck”. No more bullshit from lifers and all that stuff. Most of us just went back to work and still kept drinking, though. Others were totally fucked up and turned to drugs and burglary. A lot of us took the “cop’s test” for the security, not the money, back then. The early 70’s were a period of a hot “war” with the black militants, white SDS, SNCC, and other fringe groups and I guess that they were factoring in the “Vietnam-vet factor” as they had a test announcement in this northern city for the hiring of (100) more cops which would bring the PD up to about 1,000) cops. It was less than 800 when I left, with less than half in the Patrol div, the rest “on the tit”.  We would become the largest recruit class in the city’s history and had to be broken up into 4 groups in the police academies. Over half the class were VN guys. For a while we thought they wanted “the guns” of the vets, and it seemed that way. As we settled in, we realized that the big push was made by the old WW II vets that were nearing retirement. Many were high ranking and knew the benefits of having war vets among the troops. They had dual objectives, of course, and I think that the publicity given about all the VN vets may have given some people cause to think about actually pulling their shit in their cities.”

                                                    ~ “Sarge”, (ret) United States Marine/Vietnam War Veteran

I am honored to have been a nurse to many Vietnam Veterans, mostly Marines, who shared their own “Nam-head” recollections, was able to lead them out of the jungle during some wicked flashbacks and sat bedside to comfort them in their final battle. While there are many stories of patients I could share, the one about the patient who was my first Vietnam Vet patient best fits inside this essay to balance out the spitting debate and the race discrepancy.

Walter arrived on our unit just as dinner trays were being delivered to other patient’s rooms. I was a very young and inexperienced nurse at the time, but the impact of this event shaped much of how I would become one of very few nurses veterans trusted throughout my career. He arrived by ambulance from a local hospital with nothing but the clothes on his back. He was very quiet, guarded, and combative. The other nurse, frustrated with him, asked me to attempt to assess him since he was refusing to cooperate with her. We agreed to exchange duties, so she took over the admission paperwork while I assumed the physical assessment, but not before I’d already had a chance to read something about Walter. He was a Vietnam War Veteran, Army, Combat, homeless, and black, with no family. The nurses’ notes were the same, “Refused care.” “Combative.” A notation of “verbally and physically violent with staff when attempting to provide care” was also repeated throughout the documentation.

He was initially arrested for fighting with someone who had spit on him as he sat on the sidewalk begging for loose change. The charges were dropped, but during the jail’s medical assessment they’d observed a deep and infected wound on his foot, and discovered he was also a diabetic, so he was sent to hospital for treatment and because he was refusing treatment at the jail. No longer charged, he was admitted as a patient. With this knowledge, and also knowing he might be hungry, I called the kitchen and asked for a dinner tray.

I gathered assessment paperwork, tucked it under my arm so to carry the dinner tray in with me in the hope of earning his cooperation that the other nurse hadn’t. With no free hand, in a pleasant tone I called out “Knock! Knock! May I come in, sir?” He didn’t look up until I said, sir. I knew, then, he hadn’t been called sir in a very long time. He motioned with the worn and tattered crutch he was holding, while sitting up in the bed, for me to enter. By his appearance, I also noted he hadn’t had a shower almost as long. I introduced myself and asked him for his permission to assess him for admission. He didn’t say yes, but he didn’t say no, so I approached him slowly and set the dinner tray the table in front of him. I smile a lot, and this time was no different. I told him that he’d arrived just in time and on the best day because that night’s menu was meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy, desert was apple pie with ice cream, and that the coffee wasn’t good, but it was hot. I continued by asking him if it would be all right with him if while he ate his dinner, could I ask the assessment questions. He agreed, between mouthfuls of meatloaf and mashed potatoes with gravy, washing it down with lousy-but-hot coffee. Most assessment questions are yes/no, and I saved the more involved for later.

After he finished his meal, and answering the assessment questions without issue, I asked him if I could begin the physical assessment. He agreed. I explained it would require him to wear a hospital gown and that I would have to examine his entire body, but also explained this included any areas of concern. I knew he was a combat veteran and didn’t want to startle him, which might lead to a flashback. The assessment was the first and one of the saddest assessments of a war vet I’d done, but it wouldn’t be the last. Many old scars, some with fresh wounds over them, track marks from illicit drug use, evidence of long-term malnutrition, dehydration, neglect, and then the one foot he did have, was infected. His vitals were remarkable in the sense his blood pressure was elevated, his pulse was racing, but his respiration rate was unusually steady. (He did allow me to take his blood glucose prior to eating, after I explained that I really needed it beforehand.) Pulling off his lone sock that felt crunchy and released a plume of street-dirt, I observed an approximately 3-inch long gash on the bottom of his foot, oozing green puss with the customary odor of infection and unclean feet—and maggots. I asked him how it happened. He said he thought maybe when he hopped into a dumpster, looking for food. I asked him how long it had been this way. He couldn’t recall. By the look of it, I estimated weeks or months. I suggested it would go a long way to help this wound heal if he was washed, first, before I dressed it. I wanted to make the reason something, anything, other than that it was obvious he hadn’t washed in quite some time.

I returned with two basins full of warm and soapy water, wash cloths and towels, a toothbrush and paste, deodorant, nail clippers, and a shaving kit. I offered to help him bathe, but suggested he was fully capable, which he agreed, with the understanding that I needed wash his lower leg and foot. I explained, as I drew the privacy curtain, that I needed to call the doctor for treatment orders for wound care and antibiotics, and that it would take at least 20 minutes. He asked me if I wasn’t giving him a sponge bath because he was black. I smiled and told him it was because he was capable.

When I returned, he looked like a completely different man. Clean and clean shaven, sitting at attention, and smiling with the few teeth he had. This time, he extended his hand to shake mine.

I wanted to cry, but didn’t. I was angry for him and at how a US Army combat veteran who fought in Vietnam could be so unfortunate in his life and uncared for by a country he fought for. I was also honored that he was allowing me to help him or, at the very least, to do my job given all that had been written about him as being combative and uncooperative and violent, he wasn’t with me. My shift was coming to a close and I asked him to please be as cooperative with the other nurses as he had been with me and to allow them to treat his wound. He looked down and said nothing, except thank you. I thanked him for both his cooperation…and his service to our country.

I worked extra shifts that week so to be able to treat his wound over the course of 7 days when he was to be discharged. The wound on his foot had healed and all I could hope for was some of the wounding on the inside did, too. Many years later, I was working (agency) at another facility and recognized a familiar name on the patient roster—Walter. Just as I did the first time, I stood at his door and announced myself, “Knock! Knock! May I come in, sir? His face lit up and he cried out, “My angel!” and started telling his roommate that this was the nurse he was telling him about. I blushed. He extended his arm to shake my hand, but instead pulled me in for a bear hug. The leg we’d saved was gone, though. He told me it wasn’t my fault. We talked for a few minutes before my name was being called over the intercom. Back to work. As I was leaving his room, the dinner trays arrived. I stopped and asked for his tray to bring it to him. We laughed when I lifted the cover: meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy, apple pie with ice cream for dessert. He said the coffee was lousy, but hot.

I never saw Walter, again. But, I saw many like him. I always wondered about the spitting on Vietnam Veterans. Not what they did to deserve to be spat upon, but if the people spitting at them knew why or ever regretted doing it. Or, did they just move on through life not realizing how pathetic they were to be manipulated into committing such a vile and soul-crushing act because the politicians and the media, through their coverage and notorious mistreatment of veterans, especially during Obama’s reign, had granted them permission to do so by shocking the jar. Some, like my friend, were never spit on, which I am grateful. I saw what it can do to a soul. But I have to also wonder, was it because he was a Marine and Walter was Army and homeless? Was it because my friend is white and Walter was black? Of the tales many told me of having been spit upon, mostly the black veterans mentioned it and it was mostly by white people. Not until this current race war did that aspect make sense to me, the role the media played and is playing, the indelible stain many of the same politicians, then, had left on American society that was now, being repurposed.

Thank you for letting me share this story and the one from my friend about the spitting issue. I went a little longer than I’d planned and maybe a little away from where you might’ve expected. As I said early on, this essay’s focus wasn’t about the actual spitting, but it did need to be addressed. The focus remains on the weaponization of it through actual or figurative means by media exploitation and political manipulation to foment hatred of authority, patriotism, and racial tensions kept high. It cannot be denied that what they were doing in the 60s and 70s, they’ve recreated for shock value and to revive an old grudge while they still can, no matter the cost to civilized society. They have to keep as many people as they possibly can angry and broken and divided or lose their relevance.

In closing, I believe, and many agree, this particular kind of exploitation of society started toward the end of the Vietnam war by the same generation that went on to become—and infiltrate—an unsuspecting and naïve society through politics and the media. Now with the Left’s counterfeit power they’ve found in the police officer a new scapegoat they once had in the combat veterans returning from Vietnam.

We can do a lot to stop them from shocking the jar: show up where the rioters are and stand in front of our police officers. No violence. Say nothing to them. Just stand there. The Left is good at gathering and taking up space because we let them. There really are more of us than there are of them. Why else would corrupt governors impose the lockdowns? The media won’t show us standing up and neutralizing this nonsense. But, they know we’re the one’s watching it play out on television if the spitters are littering the streets doing to our police what the media promoted what they did to our returning veterans. We talk a lot—but do nothing—about how other countries are laughing at us because of this politician-media clown show.

We are on our own. No one is coming to save us from a Communist take over of America the way we did for South Vietnam, or . Know that. Also know that Marxists are nothing more than frogs that wish they had your wings so they wouldn’t bump their asses. Nothing more that a have not that can’t have what you refuse to surrender. They want it. We have to want to keep it away from them, more.

I try to keep in mind how it must’ve seemed to our Vietnam vets when they were facing down this beast for another country, then returning home—some spit upon, some not—not realizing while they were away, the very same monster they were fighting was dormant, lying in wait, in America…until now.

This is the conclusion of Shocking the Jar: The Spitting Image, Part III of a series. Shocking the Jar: Backmasking, Part IV, (about how the music of the Vietnam War-era was manipulated to rile up both sides) will be uploaded in the near future. I’m not sure when, as it’s still in very early draft. I also need to step back from this topic, essays, and cut back on social media to work on a novel—a post-apocalyptic, geopolitical/climate change techno-zombie novel. If you’re a regular reader of mine, I hope you will love reading it as much as I’m loving writing it for you. But if you’re enjoying this series, please bookmark or sign up to be notified via email when the next installment is available. Thank you for reading and sharing. Your feedback is always welcome. ~MJL