MT House 2014: Thank you for your service, but…

I’ve written several times this campaign season that I don’t like it when people criticize a veteran’s military record – be it Republican or Democrat or whatever party. It especially annoys me when those doing the attacking did not serve. Considering how many e-mails I received about it, there are several fellow veterans who feel the same way.

It shows a total lack of respect for the veteran.

I believe we need more veterans elected to office from the White House all the way down to the city commission – and it does not matter that much to me if they are a Democrat, or a Republican. The mess we currently have in the Veterans Administration might have been avoided if more elected officials were veterans, which would enable them to provide better oversight.

On Friday afternoon I received a press release from the Montana Democrats with the title, “Using Taxpayer Dollars for Personal Travel? Ryan Zinke Faces Questions about His Ethics and Transparency.”

When a statement in the Montana Democrats’ press release starts with “I thank Ryan Zinke for his service, but…” you know what to expect next: A swiftboat style attack.

The Montana Democrats must have believed that just because they used a retired Army officer (and their current treasurer) James “Scott” Wheeler to make the statement about Republican Ryan Zinke’s military career, that it would be fine and dandy.

It’s not.

Zinke’s primary opponents and their supporters gave the Democrats plenty of “ammo” to use against him in the general election. That “ammo” does not deal with his military service, which by all accounts I’ve read was honorable and includes two Bronze Stars for combat.

It’s getting harder to believe political parties and candidates when they say they support military personnel and veterans when they are issuing swiftboat-style press releases and running negative ads.

It’s time political parties and candidates showed more respect for veterans.


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  1. I agree that we need more military experienced candidates. I just don’t know where they are. Maybe they don’t want to serve because of what their experiences have taught them about being in government.

    Politics is like a dog fight, we throw them in a ring and let them fight it out until there is a victor…then we do it again. The last dog standing is the winner. In the meantime, their choices, their service to country and ideals are battered about by the other candidates, special interest groups and the media. It is truly a sad state of affairs we are in. And when they get to office, they are at the mercy of the Alpha dogs; Even our POTUS speaks out of both sides of his mouth when it comes to the military.

    I look at John Kerry as the start of the degradation of it all, he fought in Vietnam and was decorated only to denounce what the military and his country were doing, throw his medals away only to grow up to become Secretary of State. That alone should give Bergdahl some consolation about his future.

    Today our government is made up mostly of lawyers…they say the only thing worse than a used car salesman is a lawyer…candidates should be measured by their ideas and plans to help us grow. Not their families or their service or their religious beliefs or their color, but for their ability to lead.

    Not only should we show more respect for veterans but for all people who want to serve the people at every level in government.

    • Thanks Barry – good comments. I remember my dad telling me many times, “It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.” -JmB

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