If I were elected President of the United States of America, I pledge I will, when able and available, eat some meals with the troops.

Respect for the men and women in uniform needs to be a visible part of a President’s commitment to the nation.  They are the protectors, pledged to uphold the Constitution and by extension of the authority granted to me as Commander in Chief, they are my direct reports.  By sharing a meal with them I hope to speak with them directly about the issues they face both in the military and civilian life; to gain insight to their concerns.  I would try to do this at least once a month if not more often.

These young men and women have been facing a new kind of persecution that to a retired military member like myself is unconscionable.  The victims of the Fort Hood massacre have not been treated like combatants when it has been made clear the murderer in this case was acting on behalf of the enemy.  Veterans and their families struggle with everyday living due to both mental and physical limitations prolonged war has put upon them, but many don’t receive suitable support when they come home.  The current resident of the White House has appeared to poo-poo the notion these veterans deserve anything because “they volunteered.”  As President, I would recognize they deserve better even though it was voluntary service, because there was great sacrifice that accompanied that service.

Today there are several civilian charities focused on supporting military veterans but we have to ask why it has become incumbent upon them to provide for their needs?  On the one hand it allows those who most appreciate the sacrifice of our veterans to give freely as they wish.  On the other hand, if the government as a whole doesn’t support our military members both when serving and when they come back, it will reduce the number of interested volunteers, possibly lead to decreased morale and by that reduce the overall effectiveness of our military.  That is a position that only endangers the defense of the United States of America overall.  It’s time to change that.

I don’t of course have all the solutions.  I would however concentrate on working with those in the military and those in the civilian sector who are most qualified to develop better support systems.  We need to recognize the contribution of these men and women, treat them with respect and help them as needed to reintegrate into our civilian sector when they are finished with their volunteer service.  One way to help that process along is to understand how the troops feel; what they are hearing and what they need.  The best way for a President to understand that, is to sit down and have a meal with them.

Respect for those who respect the Constitution.
Asa Jay for President

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Copyright 2014, Asa Jay Laughton