In 2016 I was among hundreds of thousands of voters who “held their nose” and voted for Donald Trump. As a Marine who served this country for 31 years, I didn’t have faith that Hillary Clinton had the moral ethics to lead my country; in spite of his flubs on the campaign trail, I thought that Trump would grow into the job.
I was wrong in a big way.
I have remained somewhat silent however, because after all, in spite of losing the majority vote, he won enough electoral college votes to assume office. During his tenure, I have listened to mainstream TV, cable outlets and reports from the Congress as they discussed the president. Their clear biases and partisanship aside, there has been general agreement that (a) most of the news isn’t “fake” as he claims, (b) COVID-19 isn’t a Democratic hoax and it isn’t going to magically go away, (c) Russia interfered with the 2016 election and Trump was the benefactor, (d) he doesn’t always tell the truth and (e) he thinks more of autocrats, dictators and adversaries than he does of our nation’s intelligence agencies. I bit my tongue while these reports streamed out – seemingly day after day after day. After today’s breaking news, however, I can and will not remain silent.
During his 2016 campaign, Trump publicly stated that Sen. John McCain, for having been a prisoner of war in Vietnam, was not a hero, but instead was a “loser” because he was captured. For some reason, Trump is still obsessed with denigrating McCain’s memory and continues to attack him after his death. Add to this the very recent reports of Trump’s vile comments about the military and it’s not a stretch to see that they fit a pattern he has molded through his own recorded words. A leopard doesn’t change its spots.
According to multiple sources, Trump has privately said that service men and women are “losers” and “suckers.” Among the many breaking stories on this, he is reported to have called Marines who died in combat “losers” and he doesn’t understand why “anyone would volunteer” to serve their country in the military.
Normally, I would chalk this up to election politics, but this time is different. This time, the story fits a pattern that Trump has painted on national TV several times. This time, I’m going to remember the last four years when I cast my vote. This time, I hope and pray that those who blindly follow this man and who unwaveringly believe what he says take a closer look at more than just a single news source. This time, instead of believing what Trump says, I’m going to believe my “lying eyes” and ears.
This time, I hope my fellow veterans believe their eyes and ears. This time, I’m not going to be the sucker or loser.
Every American’s vote is a personal choice. Volunteering to serve in our nation’s armed forces is a personal choice. Becoming the commander-in-chief who is charged with supporting those who serve is a personal choice. Trump wasn’t drafted into this job, he volunteered.
Respecting our military and our veterans – honestly caring about them and their families isn’t a choice. It’s a mandate. It’s a mandate on which I consider the current commander-in-chief to be an enormous loser. In my mind and with my vote, Mr. President, I take great pleasure in proclaiming that “You’re fired.”