War veterans have earned the moral authority to speak out about our nations values and policies. Today our veterans are often used as pawns by Trump and right-wing ideologues, who wrapped in the flag, use them to create a false alternate narrative. Not so with the Florida Democratic Veterans Caucus! At the statewide meeting on June 8th in Orlando, nearly forty veterans from all over the state met. This Democratic veteran caucus looked like America, Afro Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and Anglo’s among other veterans, with about half being women. They ranged from crusty male Vietnam vets who know that “the crime” of that war was bipartisan to those who are far more diverse and who have been tempered by the experience of endless war and its consequences.
The agenda item that consumed nearly half the meeting, was a discussion about how to best support the suffering, “of brothers and sisters” (writ large ..not just veterans ) in the Florida Panhandle who, months after Hurricane Michael, cannot return to their homes. Savings are wiped out, schools closed, hospitals functioning at 50 percent capacity with little or no FEMA response. It made no difference that about 70% of the Panhandle residence are Trump supporters. This writer was reminded that in combat, no one ever asks “are you a Republican or a Democrat?” We are in fact all in this together.
— Robert Master, Vietnam Veteran