Always on our minds
Published: September 17, 2012
Foreign policy and military concerns are back in the news following tragic events in the Middle East last week. In the military community, those subjects are never far from our thoughts, even when they are not in the headlines. Some other military spouse writers and I have been corresponding on this subject, and they generously agreed to share their comments in Spouse Calls:
I've not given the lack of military/war/warrior mentions much thought, and that kind of troubled me until I realized it was because I do give these things a lot of thought. I've kept in touch with a handful of the wounded I've visited at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center; I read the Stars and Stripes daily; I frequently check in with several PTSD forums. Although deployments aren't a direct part of my life anymore, they still are for a lot of my friends. The military is always on my mind in some way, and maybe that’s what … the current candidates are counting on. We think about it so they don’t have to.
I’ve written about this before, the feeling that the United States and the United States military are two different countries. The constitutional rights and responsibilities afforded one are not, in full, afforded the other. Civilians pay taxes to provide for civilian defense, whereas military service members pay taxes to provide for everyone's defense and provide the defense itself. Military service members assume responsibility and earn rights whereas civilians assume rights ... and delegate responsibility where it is not flat out dismissed. ...
It would appear, then, that the U.S. military, while held up as American, is still held at arm’s length.”
— Diana Hartman, Marine wife, writes for BlogCritics.com
It seems that the general public is bored with the topic of the military. … Why talk about that on the campaign trail when we can discuss Biden’s latest gaffe or Romney’s animal abuse? The media and candidates beat these stories to death because it entertains the public, while we military folks wait to hear what the future holds for us, our livelihood, and whether people who served their country will get the respect, financial security, health benefits, and retirement that they deserve.
— Lisa Smith Molinari, Navy wife, writes “Meat and Potatoes of Life” in Military Spouse magazine, various newspapers and online
My father, a USMC Gunnery Sergeant, used to say there was nothing more unpopular among cost-cutting politicians than a peacetime Marine. From his current duty station, guarding the gates of heaven, he must be shaking his head in disgust over the status quo. It seems even wartime Marines don’t stand a chance these days.
We are still a nation at war and if we are truly to free-fall over the fiscal cliff in January 2013, it will be devastating on, oh, so many levels. Anyone who wears the uniform, has a family member serving in one or works in the defense industry understands that fact clearly.
Everyone else? Not so much. And that is a crying shame, as Dad would have said.
To be fair, there are many important concerns facing our nation that deserve attention and they are certainly getting plenty of campaign airtime accordingly. We are, after all, a nation with lot of pressing issues.
It is a shameful failure of leadership in either political party to avoid addressing this elephant in the room named sequestration, particularly when people’s livelihoods hang in the balance. ...
Like a squabbling couple trying to figure out how to balance their shared checkbook, Our politicians seem to find themselves incapable of doing of the jobs we elected them to do. Ironically, no one seems to want to make the first move for fear of losing his own job. Never mind that 270,000 others will lose theirs if they don’t get their act together. See what that does to your unemployment numbers!
— Janet Farley, Army wife and author of “The Military Spouse’s Guide to Employment: Smart Job Choices for Mobile Lifestyles” and “Quick Military Transition Guide: Seven Steps to Landing a Civilian Job”
I wish that our next Commander in Chief and every member of Congress were required to read books like Karl Marlantes’ “What It Is Like to Go to War,” Kevin Powers’ “The Yellow Birds,” Melissa Seligman’s “The Day After He Left for Iraq” and other books that bring the reality of war and its aftermath to life.
I wish that our Commander in Chief and every member of Congress were required to enact decisions about war with two criteria firmly in mind. 1. Any time our country goes to war, it will be because of a “compelling national interest,” not a compelling political interest or a compelling financial interest. 2. Any time our country goes to war, our whole country will go to war in a sense, through shared sacrifice, from a war tax to alternative service.
And, oh yes, any time our country goes to war, you have to face it and talk about it for as long as it goes on. You don’t get to pretend it isn’t happening.
— Kathie Hightower, Army wife, veteran and co-author of “1001 Things to Love about Military Life” and “Help! I'm a Military Spouse: I Get a Life Too"
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