Our men and women of the American military have been overlooked, underappreciated, underpaid, and often forgotten in retirement. Some never return home from deployment or armed conflict and if they do, much of the time it’s with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), loss of limbs and a lifetime of struggle. For the families whose loved ones never return from war, their lives are forever shattered.
Our service men and women take these risks willingly. They give the ultimate sacrifice, and they deserve a war worth fighting, worth dying for. Over the last two years, the once extinct tensions of the Cold War with Russia have reignited. There has been a dramatic increase of Russia’s fighter jets coming too close to American planes in international territory. Russia invaded Eastern Ukraine, defying NATO regulations. They annexed Crimea and most recently have been accused of using cyber warfare to interfere with not only the American presidential election but countries like Estonia and Ukraine. Our military was not given the chance to intervene in Ukraine or Crimea and as a result of our limited action against the Assad regime and ISIS in the Middle East, Russia’s president Vladimir Putin took the lead in Syria.
As a member of the Democratic party still licking my metaphorical wounds after the election of 2016, I’ve been consciously reflecting on the mistakes we’ve made. We failed to portray our message as one of hope, we failed to connect with the working class, and we failed to pay respect to our American Military. Perennially, the American military servicemen and women will vote Republican, but not exclusively. Senior officers tend to be more Republican, while enlisted men more liberal.
Mark Thompson addressed this issue in a 2012 Time magazine article, “Does the Military Vote Really Lean Republican?” where he claims that the Republican monolithic “bloc” of support in the American Military may be smaller than we think.
“‘The officers by and large are more conservative,’ says an Army sergeant just back from Afghanistan. ‘But the enlisted tend to be more liberal.’ Of course, with fewer than one in five of those in uniform an officer, there’s a lot more enlisted voters.”
If the Dems want to secure more support from the American Military come election time, they need to find a way to reciprocate. Republicans and Democrats often appear to both support increases in Veteran’s benefits and military pay, but recent partisan stalemate in DC has rendered efforts to do so ineffective.
It’s time to rally round our troops here at home and give the American military a war worth fighting,–against Russia. Our troops are willing to answer the call wherever they go, they don’t have the luxury of picking and choosing. Too often, Americans at home and Democrats, in particular, spend more time criticizing the when and where of military action and war than they spend in support of our American men and women that fight the wars.
At a time when it seems like Russia and Vladimir Putin are willing to test the mettle of the American military and even our election infrastructure, let’s give our boys and girls just the fight they deserve. Let’s listen to Republican Senator John McCain, who told CNN on Friday that the Russian cyber interference was “an act of War,” and let’s retaliate on the ground–in Ukraine.
We need to give our military and our country a uniting cause, a reason to shed the divisiveness and inflammatory rhetoric of the 2016 election. We need to show our fighting American military that we appreciate the risk they take when they engage on our behalf. If they’re willing to lay down their lives, let’s make sure it’s a war worth fighting.
[Featured Image by AP Images]