No. I'm not buying it. It has nothing to do with liberals or conservatives. It has to do with the fact you were in the military with people you knew who knew you.When I was in the service the words cracker and N were passed between all of us, it was never used to be insulting (okay occasionally but it was dealt with), it served to highlight our differences, but those differences helped us to develop an appreciation for each other and our cultures.
Maybe thats why I have a different view of things here, I was actually immersed in an environment where you had to learn to tolerate each other, there was no PR dept, no liberals looking out for any slight injustice. We were a unit and we functioned as one both on the job and off. You dont care what color skin the guy who has your back is sporting.
I can say many things to my very good friends that I would not say out in the general public. That's b/c they KNOW my viewpoints and know how I feel about certain issues. I view your miltary stint with people in the same way. You're with a group of people that you come to know and know their ways.
I also never said anything to my mother when I was young who would use very derogatory terms and was a racist. Not a full-fledged KKK but she did grow up in the South and thought many things that would be unthinkable today but was an every day thought for her back then. I didn't say anything b/c I knew I would not change her view. She came to learn a good many things in her life including not to say the n-word. But that was her learning experience.