Losers and Suckers.

I would like to say that I read the article in The Atlantic with horror and disbelief (click the link for the full article). However, the current administration continues to raise the bar on “can you believe this shit?” so often that honestly nothing surprises me any more.

To serve in the military carries with it one of the highest responsibilities in this country: to defend and protect our freedoms. What they deserve in return is a country and a leader who believes in them, who supports them, and who honors their commitment and their sacrifice.

What they currently have is a Commander-in-Chief who mocks and belittles them, who is incapable of understanding—let alone honoring—their service and sacrifice, who looks the other way when he learns Russia has bounties out on their heads, and yet who threatens to use them at his discretion for his self-serving purposes.

Where are all the flag waving patriots loudly proclaiming that anyone who disparages against the Constitution and Military is Un-American? When are they going to start holding the President accountable for his disrespect and unpatriotic rhetoric that he loves to spew forth while pretending to care about the country?

Freedom is not free. But that price is not meant to be paid for just by our soldiers. All citizens have to contribute—by voting, by speaking out, by letting your elected officials know where you stand on the issues, by staying informed.

There is a price we pay for our complacency: we elect a sycophant and watch as he completely destroys our democratic ideals, mocks that which we hold dear, and publicly yearns to be an autocrat.

Our continued complacency begets a bigger price: we allow him to slide towards autocratic rule while watching other elected officials kowtow to him just to keep themselves in his good graces and the Department of Justice sweep the entire Constitution under the rug at the President’s convenience.

Make no mistake, we are at a tipping point in our country’s history where our democracy hangs in the balance. Our complacency for not ousting a corrupt government will lead to the biggest price to be paid: a diminishing democracy that hurdles us straight towards a dictatorship.

If that happens, every single soldier who served, who lost a limb, who still struggles with PTSD, who gave their lives in the pursuit of our freedoms will have done so in vain.

If you think that’s not possible—or can’t happen here—please look around to what is happening around the country. Constant threats of using the military on American citizens on American soil. Peaceful protesters being attacked and taken away in unmarked vans. Photo ops with the President clearing out a peaceful protest and walking through the area with what looked like a full military escort.

Rather than uniting the country—as any competent President would do—Trump has played off our fears. The biggest one? The fear of losing our liberties. What he doesn’t want you to notice is that while you’re so busy accusing the other side of wanting to take away all your liberties and freedoms, he is quietly positioning himself to stay in a position of power so that he can continue to use the country for his own personal—PERSONAL—gains and couldn’t actually give a flying flip about you or your liberties.

But who is out there still fighting to defend the Constitution and your freedoms? Those so-called by President as “losers” and “suckers.” They know what true patriotism looks and feels like. They swore an oath to the Constitution and the American people, to serve and protect without sway for either political party, and, if necessary, to die doing so.

When you vote this November, please remember them. Remember the ones who served. The ones who died. The ones who lost a part of themselves because they ran towards the bullets instead of away from them. Remember that they deserve a president who knows what that sacrifice means. Remember that they do not deserve to be called losers or suckers. Remember that they do not deserve being belittled or held in disgust for losing a limb in battle.

I know there are so many reasons to pick the person you vote for President, but I’m asking you to stop and truly consider how important it is for our country to have a President who can defend, honor, and protect our troops the way they defend, honor, and protect all of us.