How many times in the last eight years have I said to myself “this is not normal”?
In July 1959 I enlisted for three years in the US Army. It was not out of patriotism. America was not at war, and lacking both purpose and confidence, I thought it would be an adventure – and maybe in the process I would mature a little.
Being pre-Vietnam, I never saw combat. After basic and advanced training, I was assigned as a truck and jeep driver in the 63rd Transportation Company at Fort Eustis, Virginia. Eighteen months later, the army decided I would make a good personnel clerk, trained me as such, and sent me to the 77th Medical Depot, an army hospital-base in Vitry-le-Francois, France. Our mission, at the height of the Cold War, was to care for the wounded if and when Soviets attacked our troops in West Germany.
I’ve always admired heroes, especially those who risk their lives in the service of others. That’s one of the reasons why, with my access to Army regulations, I took an interest in studying citations for award of decorations. That way, I could look at a dress uniform and see which medals had been awarded for heroism in combat. Medals for valor are always displayed on the top row of the “fruit salad” of ribbons over the left shirt pocket.
During my three years in the army I took the opportunity to talk privately with veterans of the Korean War who had been decorated for valor in combat actions. I found a common thread. None were braggards; modesty was the rule. All downplayed their heroism. I had to pry details from them. One who was awarded the Silver Star for defense of his comrades in repelling a “human wave” attack with his M1 Garand rifle told me “I was “just doing my job”.
Moving ahead to July 2015, presidential candidate Donald trump was asked by CBS pollster Frank Luntz what he thought about John McCain’s military service. Trump responded “He’s not a war hero, he’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured, okay? I hate to tell you.”
When I saw this exchange on TV I was shocked, dismayed, and angered. John McCain’s A-4E Skyhawk was shot down by a missile over Hanoi in October 1967. Taken prisoner, he endured five-and-a-half years of torture and ill treatment by his captors. He refused their propaganda-driven offer of early release because his fellow prisoners were not offered the same. For Donald Trump to denigrate McCain’s service in this manner was not only a display of abject ignorance (being captured is usually not an individual choice), but an affront to every veteran, living or dead, in our history. This from a man who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and avoided military service himself. This behavior was decidedly not normal.
Trump, as president, claimed that he hired only the best people. Why then, did his administration display the highest turnover of senior staffers of any administration I had ever seen? Why were most of those people saying he was a self-serving idiot or moron? This was not normal.
Trump has been impeached twice, lost a civil trial for groping a woman, had his university successfully sued for fraud, had his chief financial officer and personal lawyer jailed, and is currently defending against business fraud in New York. Our justice system is trying to figure out a way to schedule four other trials for crimes against the United States for which he has been indicted. Is this normal for any citizen, much less a former president?
Yesterday, Trump’s former Chief of Staff, Marine Corp General John Kelly, said Trump is “a person who admires dictators and murderous autocrats, a person that has no idea what American stands for, and has no idea what America is about.”
Kelly said Trump is “a person who thinks those who defend their country in uniform, or are shot down or seriously wounded in combat or spend years being tortured as POWs are all ‘suckers’ because ‘there’s nothing in it for them’.” Trump supporters, I ask you to think about that statement. Kelly said Trump “rants that our precious heroes who gave their lives in America’s defense are ‘losers’, and wouldn’t visit their graves in France. He said Trump is “a person that did not want to be seen in the presence of military amputees because ‘it doesn’t look good for me’.” Is this normal?
Kelly said Trump is not truthful regarding his position on the protection of unborn life, on women, on minorities, on evangelical Christians, on Jews, on working men and women.”
Trump’s niece, Mary Trump, says her uncle is loyal to only one person, himself. Cassidy Hutchinson, former assistant to Mark Meadows, said in her new book, Enough, that “Donald trump is loyal only to himself.” Yesterday, Trump’s former National Security Advisor, John Bolton, said “the only thing he cares about is himself.”
General Mark Milley, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said in his retirement speech last Friday that we in the service “do not take an oath to a king, or a queen, or a tyrant, or a dictator. We do not take an oath to a wannabe dictator.” For these remarks, Trump called for his execution!
Trump supporters. Don’t you get it? He doesn’t care about you. He cares only to the extent that you’ll give him your vote. He’s not loyal to you. With the slightest criticism he’ll drop you like a hot potato. Do you really want him in the White House again?
THIS IS NOT NORMAL!
Bob Moores retired from Black & Decker/DeWalt in 1999 after 36 years. He was the Director of Cordless Product Development at the time. He holds a mechanical engineering degree from Johns Hopkins University