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Lead the Way

Posted by Nick Palmisciano on

Everybody argues now.

That doesn’t really bother me. 

I grew up arguing around the kitchen table.

That’s what Italian and Portuguese families do.  My mom or my grandmother would make a huge meal and then we’d sit for hours and argue about…well…anything and everything.  Sometimes it was sports.  Sometimes it was movies.  Most of the time, though, it was politics.  My mom and dad are both the oldest of six, so by the time you get uncles, aunts, their spouses, their kids, plus godparents into the mix, that’s a lot of loud and opinionated people that did not pull punches.

And things did get heated.  Voices were raised.  And sometimes, on very rare occasions, someone would say something like, “How can you possibly be this stupid?”  But even as they said it, full of emotion and frustration that the other party didn’t see their point, there was always a smile on their face.  We were family after all, and while politics was a big piece of our lives, we never crossed the line into thinking that it defined our character.

And that’s the way it generally was everywhere.  The defining characteristic of friendship was never politics. 

Somewhere in the past decade, things have changed a bit.  Maybe it’s social media.  Maybe it’s the nature of politicians in the new media age.  Maybe it’s the fact that our lives are so good that in the absence of great struggle we create it.  Maybe it’s something else entirely, but the fact remains, we’re getting meaner, and less tolerant.

People won’t date people outside their party.  They openly insult people who don’t agree with them.  And now we even have people talking about a second Civil War.

There are now people, most of who haven’t seen any war, least of all one where they’d be in armed combat with their neighbors, that think throwing our entire nation away in order to hit the reset button in the hopes that their side will come out on top and “fix everything” is a great idea.

I’ve got news for you.  Even if these voices get their way and we kick off a massive civil war leaving millions dead to solve all of these arguments once and for all, within two years of that war’s conclusion, we’d have two new groups of clowns forming two new political parties swearing up and down that they have the right answers and putting us in exactly the same positions.  And we all know it.

So we have to be better, because no one else is going to.  We have to lead by example.

Something has to bind us.  We cannot count on our leaders to do so.  So it has to be us.

As Veterans, Patriots, and Americans, it is our absolute duty to be engaged with and passionate about politics, but while engagement is critical, we should stop far short of insults, threats, and dehumanization. We served with people of all races, religions, creeds, and political affiliations. We stacked on doors. We rode helicopters. We jumped out of planes. And we "occasionally" shammed as well. And we did it all together as one extremely weird family.

At no point, did it matter who we were voting for other than to pass the time on guard duty or during one of those nights it was pouring raining on us and there was no way our bodies would let us sleep. We never judged the content of each other's character based on our political beliefs, and we should not do it now. When people talk about Civil War, it should be us that instantly says, "Settle Down." We know what war looks like, and we absolutely do not want it on American soil over something as absurd as political candidates that are at best Americans trying to do the right thing who are sometimes fallible, and at worst, self-serving narcissists looking for attention and power. When emotions are high, WE need to be the adults in the room, whether that's in real life or on social media.

Because no one else is going to do it.

The easiest thing in the world for us would be to pick a political ideology and profit from it.  Most military brands are aligned that way.  The news is aligned that way.  The largest personalities on social media generally choose a position and beat that into the ground.  Their playbook is to make fun of the other team.  To degrade them.

We don’t want to do that.  Not because we don’t have strong opinions.  Not because we don’t care, but because we do, emphatically. 

And we hope you do to.

Please consider joining us in showing that Veterans and Americans can be far bigger than what the mainstream media keeps telling us we are supposed to be.

Because if not us, then who?

Lead the Way.

 

 


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