President Trumpís reported view of military service as one for suckers and those that die of their wounds as losers has struck a very sensitive nerve even among his most ardent supporters. Since so much of his base is in the South, his words are more caustic as military service has been a revered tradition in that part of the country.
After learning of his faking bones spurs to get out of service in Vietnam, the public still elected Trump president because what he did at that time was done by so many other young men with rich parents. They appeared to have also excused him for his denigration of John McCainís torture and sacrifice because, in a sense, they were political rivals.
But to resort to name-calling average Joes that come from almost every family in America suckers and those that die in service to our country, losers, is so low that climbing out of that political hole is nearly impossible. Those are cowardly words and insults that cannot be excused or forgiven.
In my military community, I have family and friends that volunteered or were drafted and served honorably in sometimes desperate areas of the world like Vietnam. Some of these boys that became men in the battlefields did not return as they paid the ultimate price for something so precious that it can not be quantified.
Others survived and came home with the scars of war very evident on their bodies. But it was the other scars, the ones in the mind and spirit, the ones you really have to look to see, that remain in souls that continuously peer into the darkness looking for an exit to their pain.
I was a little boy when the son of a member of our church returned prematurely from the Korean War as he had been shot several times and walk gingerly, somewhat bent over, thin and with a quiet cough that told you that he was not well. My nephew Joey, a young Marine Lance Corporal went to war in Iraq and returned with disoriented thoughts and feeling that few can talk about.
I belong to a club of veterans members that still look to find solace in each otherís company. The buddies that did not return with them had to be replaced eventhough they really couldnít be.
When everything is said and done, the thoughts of most soldiers and veterans include the strong notion that there is something greater and more significant that places into context the act of putting oneís life on the line. In this context patriotism becomes a genuine word that describes an authentic sacrifice for a way of life worth saving.
Donald Trump does not feel that. Outside his own skin and perhaps that of his family, there are no values worth preserving including the lives of his fellow citizens.
We have only to look to his disregard of American lives in the over 6 million and counting COVID-19 victims and the almost 200 thousand dead. He acts as though everything is fine and that the sick and dying are just weak people that donít deserve to live.
He began his presidency surrounded by generals, seeking through them, to live the pageantry like the military parades he sees in movies. When that did not pan out, he got rid of these fine military leaders.
As Commander-in-Chief, he tries to live above the law. For him, living a normal life is for suckers and losers.