To The Daily Sun,
I was not old enough to vote when I joined the United States Navy straight out of high school. I was a naïve country boy from rural Maryland who'd never even been on anything bigger than a row boat, and over the next 10 years I learned just how great we have it in America.
I met families in Africa and Asia who lived without electricity and were happy. I met families that lived on annual incomes that were equal to a month's pay for me back in the early '80s — and I earned $685 per month then. But what I also discovered is that we have so much here in the United States — comparatively — and yet we seem to be so dissatisfied. How we always need more and more. How entitled we are. How much we demand without being willing to work for it. This is what drives how I vote in every election. But this election so far is disturbing in so many ways.
Many of our Republican candidates for president try to tell us that the United States is a "Christian nation" and that we are "God's favorite," and yet don't walk the walk or talk the talk. Luke 12:48 says in part, "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more." Our country is blessed with so much, and yet many of the candidates are selfish men and women, aiming to control the lives of women, Muslims, the middle class, and our economy through lies, manipulations, and ignorance. Let me explain.
Donald Trump is not just a proven liar ("I saw Muslims celebrating on 9/11 ... from 4 miles away"), but also a manipulator of the worst kind. A fascist demagogue who spouts off about defying the Constitution itself in order to further his personal political agenda, Mr. Trump appears to be a combination of George Wallace, Joseph McCarthy, and Morton Downey Jr. He is certainly welcome to his opinions, but as my grandfather said, "Opinions are like armpits — everyone's got 'em and they all smell!." I served to protect his right to free speech, but not to walk all over the Constitution. He is an embarrassment to this country. And he is polling No. 1 in New Hampshire?
Ben Carson is a liar. Not just, "Oh yeah — I saw news about the Muslims celebrating on 9/11" that he backpedaled on, but his entire story about West Point. If you have a basic understanding about what it takes to get into a United States military academy (any of them), you'd realize that this man whose claim to fame is being part of a large team of doctors in an amazing surgery, and that he insulted the president of the United States at a White House event in order for self aggrandizement. His fiscal policy suggestions don't hold any kind of water. He has no foreign policy experience whatsoever, and is also a xenophobe terrified of a religion that is different from his own. He has never led a company or managed any town, city, or state. And he, too, wants to defy the Constitution in regards to religious freedom by denying Muslims the right to higher office. He is polling No. 2 in New Hampshire.
Carly Fiorina is also a liar. She claims to have seen the "Planned Parenthood Abortions for Baby-Parts" videos that have been categorically proven to not even exist. As a woman, she wants to take away the rights of women across this country to choose their own reproductive paths. And as a business leader, she was at the forefront of the demolition of a major American corporation through ineptitude that was exposed by her board of directors and for which she was terminated. She, too, has been decrying the Muslim world along with her other fellow candidates. Is this a person that we truly want to lead our country? She is polling No. 3 here.
Don't get me wrong. I'm neither a Democrat nor a Republican. I'm an unaligned progressive centrist who liked Jon Huntsman four years ago and James Webb now. I'm not necessarily a fan of Hillary Clinton either, because I just don't trust her yet. And it's not that Benghazi nonsense, but something deeper regarding common sense about her emails and her need to be the big cheese. This country is steeped in a tradition of great altruistic men and women who served unselfishly; those who are accustomed to service and to providing a service. Not to line their pockets, but to simply and unselfishly want to serve this great nation. We just don't see many candidates of that stripe anymore. Maybe Marco Rubio, if he wasn't a scientific ostrich. Possibly Bernie Sanders. Jim Webb for sure, if he runs as an independent. There are too few people who are capable of inspiration and true leadership and don't rely on fear mongering. And I want to be inspired.
Like I said, I am a 10-year Navy veteran. I believe in service. I believe in this country. I believe in the Constitution — every single part of it. I loathe people who bastardize the Constitution to forward their own personal agendas. Freedom of religion. Freedom of speech. A well regulated right to bear arms. A country that was formed by immigrants for immigrants — and not just the white Christian ones. The ugliest episodes of our country have occurred whenever we fell into that particular trap. And to hear other veterans speak against who and what this country is — as an idea and a premise — is heartbreaking. I hold our representatives to a higher standard based on who and what they are supposed to be representing — America as a concept/idea, and Americans. All Americans. Even you.