Say No To Incumbents

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Posted by admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 06-08-2011

Two things happened within the past two days that simply exacerbated a growing disgust I had been developing for Congress.

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) was on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Thursday.  During the interview, he stated that there were members of the Senate that “like war, like waging war, like the notion of staying at war, like spending money on war.”

The second was having our nation’s credit rating downgraded from AAA to AA+.

These issues may seem unrelated, and some may consider it a stretch to connect them here.  Perhaps, but this is where I present my opinions.

Having been raised within the Department of Defense, spent eleven years in the military, and with friends still serving, I am very sensitive to the general treatment of our service members.  The United States Armed Forces is a collection of institutions that  in addition to securing our nation—a task they have performed extraordinarily well for over a century—also provides lower-income families an opportunity at a better life.  (If you don’t understand how this is so, I can explain, but not here.)

The decision to join our nation’s Armed Forces is not a light one.  Regardless of motivation, becoming a member of the military—a voluntary act—is accepting the risk that one may be asked to give up one’s life for the greater interest of national security.

At times, preserving our national security has had secondary effects beneficial to other countries, such as ending targeted persecution such as in World War II and more recently the Balkans, liberating countries from the clutches of oppression, fascist and communist, and even enabling the continued existence of smaller countries bullied by larger ones, such as in the first Gulf War.

I mention that these are secondary benefits because make no mistake in believing that those were not the primary objectives of our nation’s actions.  We were acting in the interest of preserving our national security.

In exchange for volunteering to potentially lose one’s life in the interest of national security, the men and women of our Armed Forces implicitly trust that our nation’s leadership will do their best to keep them out of harm’s way as best as possible.  Just because someone is willing to risk their life the greater interest doesn’t mean that such a life needs to be risked; only if absolutely necessary.

As such, a patriot’s duty to the courageous men and women who unselfishly fight our nation’s wars is simply to bring them home as soon as possible.

By no means does “bring them home” mean “keep them home.”  War is still, unfortunately, the last resort to preserve our national security, although only when diplomacy fails.  All avenues must be exhausted before war is even considered.  When war is inevitable, our nation’s volunteers—the best of us—will have to fight that war.  But, mindful of the trust that our soldiers have placed upon our leadership, such wars should last no longer than necessary to achieve primary objectives.  (Secondary benefits are nice, but not required.)

Wars cost money.  A lot of money.  Okay, I don’t have numbers, but I’m willing to bet that over time, they are much more expensive than diplomacy.  I like to believe that I’m not naïve enough to believe that our nation’s wars are the sole reason behind our economic problems—especially our debt—although I do believe they do significantly contribute to it.

Yesterday, our credit rating was downgraded from AAA to AA+.  Despite any “mathematical errors,” what I read in the New York Times this morning was that the decision to downgrade was a “judgment about the nation’s leaders, writing that the “the gulf between the political parties” had reduced its confidence in the government’s ability to manage its finances.”

Downgrading our credit rating may not mean that much.  I will admit that my ignorance on global economics is vast, and all that I can understand is that the direct result is that our nation’s future debt will cost more.  The implications of that is that—I think—it’ll take longer to pay our debt.  Again, my ignorant mind expects that this will inevitably trickle down to us in some form. We’ll see.  I am still disappointed in the shameful antics displayed by Congress that led us up to this.

However, when I hear that members of Congress, quoting Senator Dick Durbin, “like war, like waging war, like the notion of staying at war, like spending money on war,” I am simply disgusted.  Not because of the fiscal irresponsibility I believe they are demonstrating—that just makes them idiots in my mind—but by the dishonor they are openly demonstrating to our service members.  In addition to idiots, now I think they’re assholes.  Shame on you.

While I do believe that our nation’s legislative branch is mostly to blame, this does not excuse our executive branch, which chose to extend the wars of “dubious” objectives started by the previous administration.

I do believe in our system of government—the three branches providing the necessary checks and balances that preserve the freedom of our citizens from the oppression of government—is the best in the world, but I have lost faith in all of our elected officials currently in office, especially when they no longer support our troops.  Therefore, I call for patriots to use our democratic process and vote out the incumbents, regardless of political party affiliations, in an attempt to hopefully renew the government with people with the same sense of duty and responsibility to our nation as displayed by the very best of us, the courageous men and women of our Armed Forces.