I went to a Chamber of Commerce Meeting tonight. It was just a get together they are trying so local businessmen and women can meet each other. It is nice to be able to put a face with the different stores in the county, and sometimes you find there are people doing things you never knew about. Just this week I met a man from Lee, Florida who has been making big, I mean really big tents for 40 years. Some are over a 100 feet long. There is a new Credit Union bank in town, and I met the man who started it tonight.
So, for about an hour you stand around and talk. Being that it is election season, you have people gently pushing for Trump or Hillary and it didn’t matter who I talked to, they were not going to like my answer. “I can’t vote for her,” or “I can’t vote for him, because I am antiwar.”
Now the Clinton supporters really believe Hillary is the peace candidate, and yes, the Trump supporters think the same about him. No, I have no idea how they can think that, but both sides have some twisted logic that allows them to believe that.
At one point, I got in a conversation with a banker, and we were talking about public speaking and what a great talent that is to have in a business career. He asked me if I had ever done any, and I said I had spoken against war many times in my life. He said, “Really?” and then he said, “Why?”
I learned a long time ago that you can’t just come out with some canned answer that will stop them in their tracks and move them to an antiwar stance, so I told him the truth. I said that I had been to war and learned how horrible it is, and if he wanted to take the time I would be happy to explain to him my belief on the subject some time. I have said that to many people over the years, and a few have taken me up on it, but most don’t.
It is hard being on the outside. You are not a Democrat, and you are not a Republican, and I just don’t have it in me to pretend that I am either one.
About the only group I feel good around with the subject of war are other combat vets. Yes, there are some or maybe many who would disagree with me, but they can see my point. However, young vets who just got back, let’s say within the last five years tend to still be macho, but many figure it out as time goes by. Not many combat vets want their children to experience what they did. However, so many veterans who never went to an actual war not only like their children to join up, but are proud and boast that their son or daughter is off fighting someplace, and they have no idea of what they got their kids into.
War is horrible. That is why our media will not show pictures of dead or wounded American troops. You never see any news programs about veterans in the VA hospital. They don’t let news crews inside the VA, or if they sometimes do, it is very controlled. For the same reason TV news never shows the people we kill and maim in our wars. We only want Americans to see our troops looking sharp and marching with their chest filled with ribbons or medals. It is a show. They give out medals, not so much to honor the service man or woman, but to entice new young people to sign up. The military spends billions of dollars in advertising to keep a flow of young people signing up to serve. You know most don’t make it a career. If they did, there would be a lot smaller demand for new troops.
So if you are committed to stopping war, you work at it and try to convince people how wrong war is when you get the chance. Believe it or not, there are a lot of veterans out there doing what I am doing, and I think we are making some headway.
Who knows, maybe someday there will be a Democrat or Republican antiwar candidate, and if there is, I’ll be pushing for them.
BACK to the Politics Columns.