President Trump has broken many traditions in his first year in office and turned the White House on its head in his disregard for the norms and protocols that we expect from the office of the Presidency.
The majority of these norms have been discarded not out of an eagerness to reform Washington from the ground-up or to curb the sense of elitist self-importance that overtakes the members of our government but rather to accommodate the President’s incessant need to golf and watch cable television.
One tradition that Trump has decided to do away with is the official Presidential visit to the men and women who serve our country’s imperial ambitions across the world.
Even though President Trump spent a large part of the past year using “respect for the troops” and the superficial trappings of patriotism as a political battering ram to wage a white supremacist culture war against NFL players protesting systemic racism, he himself has shown very little regard for the men and women who actually put their lives on the line.
In his first year of office, he has yet to visit our men and women on the front lines, even though the architects of America’s endless wars convinced him to send another 3,000 troops to Afghanistan, where the war against the Taliban and now ISIS affiliates drags into its seventeenth year with nothing to show for it but countless deaths and a sky-high national debt.
For comparison, President Obama visited Afghanistan within the first three months of his presidency, after approving a 12,000 troop increase, and would go on to visit Afghanistan and Iraq four times. President Bush made six warzone visits during his presidency.
As a nation, we need to have a long and hard discussion about the excesses of American foreign policy and bring about a swift end to the unwinnable wars that accomplish nothing but spawn terrorism, devastate poor communities, and funnel our tax dollars into the pockets of arms manufacturers.
That being said, the men and women who volunteered to serve the United States at home and abroad absolutely deserve our full support – and they deserve to have a commander-in-chief who recognizes their sacrifices and values them more than a useful political prop.
Gregg Zoroya at USA Today recently penned an op-ed demanding that the President do his duty, get off the golf course, and go visit the troops, explaining just how much it means to them.
Donald Trump needs to ditch his cronies, get off the golf course, and go thank the men and women who keep us safe.
Troops serving in combat speak of a shared, nagging sense that, apart from family and friends, most Americans back home seem oblivious or have forgotten that U.S. military members are still risking their lives overseas.
But this sentiment melts away for the moment when the commander in chief comes calling. This is why President Trump needs to go see the troops, something he has yet to do after nearly a year in office.
Unfortunately, considering the President’s track record with our veterans since taking office, there is little hope for any abrupt change from the doddering old fool.
A few weeks ago, the President used a racial slur while ostensibly honoring the Navajo Code Talkers that were vital to Allied communication efforts during the Second World War; shortly before that, he engaged in a feud with the widow of a slain Green Beret over his callous “condolence” call to her.
On top of that, Trump has insulted a Gold Star family and demeaned a Muslim war hero, slammed Sen. John McCain for getting shot down and spending five years in a POW camp, told women in the military they were responsible for their own sexual assaults, said that only weak veterans get PTSD, and screwed veterans’ charities out of at least $3 million.
Actions speak louder than words – and President Trump’s actions make it clear that our veterans mean nothing to him beyond a convenient political prop.
Of course, if any of our presidents or our Congresspeople really cared about our fighting men and women, they’d listen to the public, who overwhelmingly oppose our unchecked overseas interventionism, and bring our troops home to their families.