As a retired military officer with 21 years of service, I saw something today that truly flummoxed me in the midst of our current national crisis. I had just finished shopping at a grocery store and was walking to my car when I spotted a large bumper sticker on a car emblazoned with the words “Veterans for Trump.” Let me begin the description of my reaction by saying that I can see why some people initially warmed to the (theoretical, it turns out) populist message espoused by Trump in 2016, or warmed to him because of their visceral hatred of Hillary Clinton. That said, today I totally recoiled from the message of this bumper sticker and stood in complete astonishment because here was someone proudly (apparently, since they hadn't yet scraped it off their car) proclaiming:
- I support the man that General Mattis, a Marine Corps hero, felt he could no longer serve.
- I support the man that chastised Navy Rear Admiral William McRaven, the leader of the SEAL team that killed Osama Bin Laden and politicized and criticized his service to the nation because he assumed he was a “Hillary Clinton fan.”
- I support the man who endangered the lives of US servicemen in Syria by secretly agreeing to Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's invasion of territory occupied by US servicemen without warning.
- I support the man who excoriated the Joint Chiefs of Staff in a meeting at the Pentagon because he felt they were “stupid.”
-I support the man who honestly feels the health of businesses (and especially casinos) for the next several months during this pandemic is more important than any human life.
- I support a man who encouraged Russian assistance during an American election.
Incredibly, I know such veterans even in my home town, yet remain astonished that they still support this pathological narcissist, or somehow cannot seem to just let go and have the courage to admit that maybe this man is not the best person to lead our great nation right now, or that perhaps the current criticism of him is warranted. This depresses me beyond belief. What have we become?