It is rare that an article here on PolicyMic brings my blood to its boiling point. I often disagree with others, but I have always maintained respect for those with whom I disagree… that was, until September 3, 2012, when an otherwise very well respected pundit, who shall remain nameless for their own benefit, included graphic images of some of the men and women who were injured or killed while serving overseas in an article linking the GOP to war. It wouldn’t have angered me so much, until the last line, which simply said “vote Democrat.” I was so furious that I found myself becoming slightly nauseous. Yeah, I was pissed.
Then it hit me. Both the GOP and Democrats have been mirepresenting the will of the American servicemember for the last decade, if not longer. It’s time someone set the record straight.
I served five years in the United States Marine Corps, from 2005 to 2010, and exited as a Corporal. For those of you who don’t know what the rank structure looks like, Corporal is the equivalent to lower-management. I was in charge of the lives and well-being of three other men and women, and also for minor disciplinary actions. During my time in uniform, I had the privilege of training a Major General, several Colonels, and more Sergeants than I cared to count. While training these men, politics were often discussed at length, and most came to a common conclusion: War, while it may be the chief reason we all had a job, was the most vile thing ever conceived, and anyone who said otherwise didn’t know their heads from their rears. Most of them, and by most I mean 99.9% of the ones I met, supported Ron Paul. The biggest reason? “He stands for the Constitution, and not a party. He gets us, he understands just how sucky our lives can be when things go wrong. Democrats don’t get us, and in most cases they despise us. Republicans don’t get us, they see us as pawns in a global game of Risk.”
So why is it that Democrats and Republicans alike try to act like they know what is going on, and how these kinds of men feel? The answer is simple: If they didn’t put on the façade of understanding, the American people would throw them to the curb without batting an eyelash. They might even spit on them on the way out.
The reason both parties try so hard to make it seem like they are the party that the military supports is because generally, our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines are highly respected. Carrying the support of this group means that the best and most patriotic of America stands beside you, and gives others a good reason to do the same. But, what happens when neither party can acquire this key demographic? Easy, they just make the numbers up, or they spin the facts to make it seem like they are supported by the military. For instance, the Obama team, in their quest to create the illusion, deleted Ron Paul from the numbers in terms of donations so that he appeared to be the leader of the pack. Too bad Paul’s donations from active military personnel more than doubled that of Obama long before the RNC, and before the Iowa Straw Polls came out.
This is not an article on the facts, the spin, or even my opinion on what the two parties are doing. This is a call to action. We need to stop patronizing these men and women, my brethren, using images of their deaths and injuries, to advance partisan agendas. We need to show these men and women that we respect them enough to stop playing politics with their lives. In short, we need to leave them alone and let them speak for themselves.
Now I know I won’t have everyone’s support on this. Let’s face it, saying that someone else or something else is the cause of these injuries is just too powerful for the power-hungry to ignore. Where we can make the difference is to not accept this tactic, and to ignore anyone who tries to use our national defenders for political gain.