“The president of my country must be able to strap on a rifle, dig a foxhole and rescue 12 children from a burning orphanage while fending off enemy forces.”
If I had a nickel for every time that someone echoed this sentiment when we were discussing the presidential race, I would still be poor-very poor!
As attacks on Senator John Kerry’s service record during the Vietnam War continue to be released, the absurdity and insignificance of the discussion about a candidate’s military record are becoming more painfully obvious.
The candidates’ stances on current issues-education, national security, the record-breaking deficit, gay marriage, and the Iraqi war-are being overlooked in favor of military records that are over 30 years old.
Recognizing experiences that a candidate may have gained from military service is undoubtedly important. However, military experience does not determine presidential candidate’s ability to improve the United States. This is especially true in the current election because neither of the candidates in question were high ranking military officials during their time in service.
A discussion of military records gives neither of these candidates a substantial edge over the other because less than glowing reports have come to light about the time both served. So much time is being spent discussing President George W. Bush’s National Guard record and Senator Kerry’s time on a swift boat in Vietnam that very little focus is on the fact that most people just do not care.
The number of votes that will be swayed by the candidates’ service records are miniscule. An extra day campaigning in any Midwestern state could probably double or triple that same number of votes for either of the candidates.
The fact remains that in present times, voters are less concerned with a candidate’s military record and much more concerned with their political record.
If campaigning was still a matter of solely shaking hands and kissing babies, military records would still hold a bit of weight, but the truth is, they do not. Especially not the kind that will make a difference on Election Day.
Focus needs to shift from such trivialities so that the attention of candidates and Americans can be spent on much more important issues that will actually have a bearing on the next four years of U.S. history.
Jason E. Hutchins is a senior business administration student from Athens, Ga. He is the opinions editor for The Famuan. Contact him at email@example.com.,i/>