If we’re all in this together, where is the president as we approach 100,000 Americans dead due to complications associated with the Coronavirus this weekend? Isn’t there something he could be doing to help bring us together on this sacred holiday weekend? He demanded that houses of worship be opened again because “we need more prayer” and then didn’t go to church but to play golf (where he is an admitted cheater).
On this American holiday, the Memorial Day weekend, traditional kick-off to summer, as I hung our flag on the front porch, I found myself vacillating between feelings of honor and anger. Honoring those who have given their life for this country, and anger that we have a man in the White House who literally wraps himself in the flag as a symbol of his use of our military as a political prop.
Consider that regarding deceased American military hero Senator John McCain, a navy pilot who was captured and tortured over five years during his service in Vietnam, Trump argued he was not a hero because “I like people who weren’t captured.”
After McCain’s funeral, which Trump was not invited to, he said he should have been thanked for “giving” the Senator his memorial service and later suggested that McCain was probably in hell, and that he was happy he was dead.
When this president visited Japan, his White House did their best to hide the ship stationed there that bares the name USS John S. McCain from Trumps line of vision to avoid an international meltdown by him.
Meanwhile, as a young man eligible for wartime military service (he once claimed he was sort of in the military because he went to a military prep school) , Trump received four student draft deferments (and when those ran out managed to get a doctor to say he had bone spurs so he could avoid being drafted into the military), this guy who loves to quote the movie version of General Patton, called himself a wartime president in reference to the pandemic he grossly mishandled, who has tried to stage military parades in his own honor the likes of which he has admired in Russia and North Korea, yeah that guy…
- Lambasted United States Generals as “dopes and babies”.
- Dismissed the symptoms of soldiers with traumatic brain injuries as headaches after Iran bombed a US Military base.
- Attacked Gold Star father Khizr Khan for daring to criticize Trumps treatment of American Muslims.
- Pardoned a convicted war criminal over the objection of those who served with him, one calling him “freaking evil”.
As with all things Trump, that list could go on and on. However, the anger keeps me from the honoring. Our war was Vietnam. Two of my brothers served there. As a teenager, I worried about their survival every night while watching the body bag news on what became known as Americas TV war. Like Trump, and Joe Biden (his due to Asthma) I too received college student deferments, and when those deferments were discontinued, and it came my time to be drafted, I first received a high lottery number, and while waiting to be called the war ended.
I didn’t agree with the Vietnam War (the Vietnamese call it the American War), but I have always honored and respected all those who fought and died. The men and woman who answered their countries call there were dealt a bad deal from start to finish. They were not honored when they came home. It was a national shame.
So is Donald Trump. And this weekend reminds me of that fact, like I needed another reminder.
This holiday weekend I find myself wondering yet again about the Republican party which has entirely lost its way. It loved to lay claim to the military, yet it enables someone like Donald Trump.
Where were they when he dissed one of their own? Other then Mitt Romney, not much was said. Senator Lindsey Graham (R–South Carolina) loved to talk about his great friendship with McCain yet crickets when Trump completely disrespected that friend. Really? Graham and Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) lead a party of disgraceful enablers.
Senator Martha McSally (R-Arizona), a military veteran herself, who was appointed to replace Senator McCain in Arizona, didn’t defend her predecessor & fellow warrior either. Instead she begged for Trump’s endorsement. Hopefully she will be beat soundly in November by a real American hero, Navy Captain and former Astronaut, Mark Kelly.
So this weekend, like all good Americans, I’m focusing on honoring those who have died in service of our country. I not only like people who were captured, I have eternal respect for them. And while most Americans share that thought, we are not all in it together as we should be.
As long as the republican party protects, defends and supports the likes of Donald Trump, they will also represent his disrespect for those who serve.
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