Do You REALLY Support Our Veterans if you Support Trump?

Excluding actual veterans of war, whose decisions are based upon lived experiences, how can anyone who supports the vitriol and anti-veteran rhetoric of our President-elect claim to support veterans of war this Veteran’s Day?

Every veteran of war I have ever known fought because they considered it necessary for the good of humanity.

Way back when I was a young pastor, full of optimism, I preached against any and all war. “War should never be an option,” I shouted from the pulpit and any other forum I received. I was arrogant and naive and once dared to ask a veteran of WWII if he’d seen the movie “Saving Private Ryan.” I wanted to dialogue with him about the horrors of war and “Saving Private Ryan” seemed like the perfect platform for such a discussion.

He was a member of the congregation I served. He was warm and funny and always had a hug to give. He walked with a cane. “I won’t see that movie,” he told me. “I won’t see any movies about World War II. I lived it. I don’t need to re-live it according to Hollywood.” This was my chance. I pushed him for more. I wanted him to tell me how the brutality of war makes it an untenable concept, one that only veterans and victims can accurately rally for or against.

“It sounds like it wasn’t worth it then,” I provoked.

“Wasn’t worth it? Wasn’t worth it? Pastor Paula, when the war ended, many of us were sent to concentration camps to help free the prisoners and get them proper care. Of course, they prepared everyone for the worst so nobody would be surprised by what we might find.”

He paused. I searched his face for some indication that we were on the same page.

“They rescued the ones who were close to death first, of course. I wasn’t there for that. They told us we would be helping the healthy ones out. We went in there and found the healthy ones laying on the ground, weighing no more than a child. We had to carry them out, sometimes two at a time, on our hips, as if they were toddlers. Others we could hold up so they could try and walk to the trucks. And some we carried like a baby, laying across our arms. These were the healthy ones.”

His wife showed up by his side. It was coffee hour between worship services and she had helped out that morning with communion.

He continued: “If I had to do it all over again, I would. I’d die if I had to. Like you, Pastor, I’m not a fan of wars, but I would fight that war all over again if it means stopping that man from doing what he did to all those people.”

He never referenced Hitler by name. Still, Hitler’s presence hung there before us, a stark reminder of a time when humanity had to step in to break inhumanity.

So many veterans of war have fought and died for the rights of people who are often unlike themselves. They’ve fought to free humanity from oppression, to deliver the marginalized from captivity.

Donald Trump has openly preached publicly against the very values that my congregant fought to extend to people he did not even know.

Trump, our President-elect, promises to eject entire swaths of people from our country and reject a great many more — all people who Trump demonizes and scapegoats. Trump’s followers are interpreting Trump’s vitriol by attacking marginalized people in his name (You can read some stories here and here.).

Whereas veterans memorialized this weekend have fought to protect human rights such as freedom of religion, Trump is working to strip people he deems inferior of those same human rights. At the same time, he has openly demonized veterans who fought for our country and for global humanity (more here and here).

How can anyone, who is not a veteran of war themselves, celebrate and honor the veterans who have died in wars that were fought to battle dictators and psychopaths while also supporting a President-elect who will likely be America’s first psychopathic dictator? Donald Trump’s mindset is the closest thing to that of Adolf Hitler that America has ever seen. He is a parasite who feeds off the downtrodden, the exhausted, and the hopeless as he knocks down any barriers in his way. Like Hitler, he doesn’t care about making anywhere great again. He cares about forcing America to pave his self-serving, destructive path to domination.

So, please, if you support our President-elect, Trump, don’t desecrate the sacrifice our veterans have made by showing up to Veterans Day events claiming that you support our veterans. You don’t. You don’t support humanity stepping in where inhumanity resides.

Excluding actual veterans of war, whose decisions are based upon lived experiences, how can anyone who supports the vitriol and anti-veteran rhetoric of our President-elect claim to support veterans of war this Veteran’s Day?

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