August 3, 2016
By Lorra B.
The political presidential tug-of-war between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton has spilled over into the military arena and the results of that may have an impact on the military’s ability to serve under the future president of the United States and the way it is viewed by the American people.
Perhaps for all the wrong reasons, presidential politics have centered around military staff, veterans and their families.
Bill Rausch, executive director of Got Your Six’s advocacy group, stated, “Yes, we’re talking about military families and veterans on the campaign trail, and that’s normally a great thing. But we’re not talking about anything of substance. If we can’t talk about veterans’ health and…military transition issues, then this is a wasted opportunity.”
“Instead, campaign officials and many media outlets have highlighted the latest series of military-themed scandals surrounding Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump,” reports Military Times.
Because both Trump and Clinton have given prominent roles to retired military officers and critics believe the military’s position to serve the next president, regardless of party affiliation, is jeopardized.
According to The Hill, there are officers in the military, both past and present, that don’t like what they are seeing politically.
In a letter to the editor of the Washington Post, Retired Gen. Martin Dempsey, previous chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated, “The military is not a political prize. Politicians should take the advice of senior military leaders but keep them off the stage.”
Instead of keeping the military off of the political stage, media and campaign officials have placed them front and center in a series of scandals, most lately surrounding Trump.
Americans are bombarded with images of Trump having words with the father of an Iraqi fallen soldier and Obama saying he is unfit to serve because of a joke about a Purple Heart. And let’s not forget about the booing mother of a deployed airman at a Nevada rally.
These incidents all have one thing in common, to take the spotlight off of the real military issues being discussed by our presidential nominees.
Very little about our military and veteran reform strategies that have been proposed by either candidate have been discussed in the media. The strategies by both parties include overhauling veterans’ healthcare, defeating both terrorism and the Islamic State, and vowing for a stronger military.
Where is all the media coverage about our political parties plans? They are being upstaged by Democratic and Republican controversies.
This has a direct effect on our military and how American’s view them.
Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, stated that the next commander in chief needs to be confident that the military “is completely loyal and completely prepared to do what must be done.”
“Importantly, as an institution, the American people cannot be looking at us as a special-interest group or a partisan organization,” Dunford said.
American’s and politicians need to know that the military is politically color-blind, that they can unbiasedly carry out their missions. Americans also need to hear about the real issues plaguing our military and our veterans. Turning political conventions into military-themed scandals does nothing more than divert attention and up ratings.
Rausch stated that all the latest military attention isn’t really getting the important issues emphasized.
“In a vacuum, theses [conventions] have been good events to start the conversation,” he said. “But if starting to talk about military strategy and veterans issues was two steps forward, all of these controversies are at least one big step backwards.”
By Lorra B.