Saturday, November 3, 2012
No Military Experience In This Election
In the 2000 and 2004 elections, military service was a topic with a lot of controversy. In the 2000 election, Al Gore a Vietnam veteran heckled George W. Bush about whether he fulfilled his requirements of military service. It again became a controversy in the 2004 election when John Kerry a decorated Vietnam veteran resurfaced the matter. In the 2008 election, it never became a controversy. John McCain a well-known decorated military hero and six-year prisoner of war during Vietnam lost to Barack Obama who had no military experience. In the current 2012 election the topic has not surfaced and it is because neither presidential candidate or vice presidential candidate has ever served in the military. So when was the last time this occurred? It was 80 years ago in 1932, no veteran was on either major party ticket for the White House and Franklin D Roosevelt defeated Herbert Hoover. However, two candidates are of age in the current election that could have been drafted for Vietnam. Mitt Romney and Joe Biden both received deferments while going to college, Romney graduated and went on his Mormon mission while Biden was disqualified for asthma. The other two candidates were too young for the draft and perhaps this may become the new normal until veterans of the current conflicts enter politics. The new standard may be due to the current number of veterans in congress are at an all-time low of 20% as compared to 80% in the 1970’s. How does this influence the decision for the commander in chief to make the decision to send American sons and daughters into harm’s way? Is there a certain appreciation for making the decision by someone who has been there compared to someone who has not? In this election, both candidates who lack military service are stating we will leave Afghanistan by 2014, compared to the last President with military service who sent the military into two conflicts at once.