Campaign 2014: Honor Veterans

It’s becoming evident that anything and everything will be fair game during the 2014 campaign season.

That means nothing is sacred – not even a candidate’s honorable service in the military.

Most readers know that I am a veteran. My 11 years, seven months and 28 days of active-duty service in the U.S. Air Force was one of the greatest times in my life. I hold my fellow veterans in high regard – no matter on which side of the political fence they reside.

Some of my beliefs may seem odd, but I believe we could do better with more veterans serving in elected office. By the way, we could do better if people who wrote or reported about military issues had actually served in the military, too.

Recently the conservative group called American Crossroads hit the airwaves with an ad about Senator (and Democratic candidate) John Walsh, who served in the U.S. Army. Those on the left have been going after U.S. House candidate Ryan Zinke, a Republican, who served in the U.S. Navy, almost daily.

Besides serving their country honorably, both Walsh and Zinke have earned Bronze Stars during their military careers.

What both sides are basically saying in their little ads or blog posts is that the honorable service these men gave to their country is tainted for varied reasons – and they attempt to magnify the reasons for political gain – to help their side win at any cost.

Of course, those on the right will say the ad against Walsh is fine and appropriate, just as those on the left will say smearing Zinke’s military career is fine and appropriate.

But what these swift-boat type attacks say to me is that these folks think they are just a little better than veterans – and they do not appreciate what veterans, like Walsh and Zinke, have done for our country.

I would venture to say that many of those making these attacks probably did not have the guts to sign their name on the line to serve their country.

We have a lot of “chickenhawks” involved in politics and campaigns these days – we even have them reporting on military and defense issues. In case you are not acquainted with that term, it’s basically someone who advocates going to war or using force, although they did not have the guts to serve.

Some of these same people will parade out their family members in ads because the family member did actually serve in the military. This is their attempt to get the veterans vote. We see it every election cycle. I’d like to see candidates stand up for veterans, even if the veteran is from a different political party.

Going after a candidate for his/her stands on issues such as abortion, guns, taxes, healthcare, etc., is fine, but making up and magnifying garbage about a veteran’s military service should be off-limits.

One would think the people making these attacks on patriots like Walsh and Zinke would feel at least a little filthy.

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