Kris Kristofferson: Scholar, Veteran, Activist, Icon

Amanda Gardner

Kris Kristofferson may not exactly be a trending topic at the moment, but in the midst of the overwhelming negativity that accompanies every campaign season, I decided today was a good time to write about an American who deserves respect -- an American who is a scholar, a veteran, an activist, and after decades in the public eye, an icon.

Kris Kristofferson has lived a life that only an American can live, and he deserves everyone's respect, regardless of whether one agrees with his politics. The story of Kris Kristofferson's life, especially as an activist, is a reminder that the freedoms we enjoy as Americans come with a responsibility -- the responsibility to try to effect positive change in the world.

Kris Kristofferson, known for writing a string of hits, including "Sunday Morning Coming Down" and "Me and Bobby McGee, is so much more than a talented songwriter, singer and actor. Kristofferson was a Rhodes Scholar who studied at Oxford University's Merton College, earning a master's degree in English literature. He went on to serve as a captain in the U.S. Army, where he became a helicopter pilot, in addition to having completed U.S. Army Ranger School.


"I made a couple of trips down to Nicaragua and I got exposed to information that I thought was not what I had been brought up to believe that my government stood for, you know. I came from a background of duty, honor and country and I felt it was my duty to tell what we were doing down there."
"The more I learned about what we were doing down there, the more horrible it seemed."

"The most opposition I ever had was in Atlanta when Oliver North was on trial and the Iran-Contra hearings were turning out to be nothing but a commercial for the Contras."
"Iran-Contra! We should have jailed all those guys for ever back then, and we wouldn't be where we are right now -- because it's the same guys now, the same 20 guys!"
"We bombed a defenseless population for 44 days around the clock. We're holding these people responsible for what their government did or didn't do. It's just too evil for words."

— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) April 25, 2016

— Diana Oliver (@hempfilmmaker) March 22, 2014

[Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]