Why I won’t be Voting for Trump
By Lana Duffy
There are a lot of people out there who are pro-candidate and therefore anti-other candidate. That is not me. I’m not pro-anyone this election – more like “meh” – but I am unequivocally and quite proudly anti-Trump.
This, being that I am a military Veteran who votes Independent (when I’m allowed to vote… thanks, New York), seems to have upset some of my more right-leaning compatriots who believe GOP equals Security and Defense and Guns and so on. But I’ve always weighed my options and seldom voted down ballot. But I’m not weighing Trump in my options this year. It’s not because I grew up in New Jersey where he used his casinos for government money he didn’t deserve while doing nothing for the city, state, or shoreline. It’s not his affairs or his hair or his extraterrestrial-like hue. It’s not even all his political positions or lack thereof. No, I am anti-Trump because the man has time and time again screwed over Veterans – my people, me – either directly or indirectly for too many years to call it a “slip.” He means it, and I strongly believe a vote for him could have dire consequences.
Let’s start in the early days. Trump is not exactly a draft-dodger in the strictest sense: he didn’t run off to Canada. He got a college waiver each year of undergraduate, as many did who could afford to be in school when they registered for Selective Service. But as he graduated business school the Tet Offensive had been launched, numbers were being called, and his draft protection disappeared. Trump admits he did not want to go. So though he played sports in college, before the draft was ever begun he commissioned a doctor to provide him a “very nice” (sound familiar?) note for exemption. He claimed bone spurs in his heel which would have made walking – much less all those sports he played – painful. He could not remember which heel (his campaign later said “both”) nor the name of the doctor, but it did get him a temporary and later permanent draft exemption. They seem to have healed up, given his letter of “extraordinary” health from his current physician. It should be noted that a bone spur can be remedied with vitamins on occasion, but more often than not requires additional medication and possible surgery that the candidate didn’t have.
Suspicious, but many people did not deploy to Vietnam. Vice President Biden, for instance, received school deferments and then was never called. But perhaps a little time in service to someone other than Trump or his father might have normalized him; his distaste for those less than he, including Veterans, is not on the spectrum of normal as his patterns later showed. In 1991, for example, Trump banned NYC’s disabled Veterans with permits to operate as street vendors from the sidewalks in front of Trump Tower, saying they made the wealthy Fifth Avenue area seem a “flea market”. This is one of the high traffic areas of the city with some of the greatest income potential and these Veterans, mostly Vietnam era, had the permits. Trump filed a complaint and threatened a suit. He did the same thing in 2004. He acknowledged they should be allowed to sell and make money, just don’t do it in front of his high-traffic tower, because ew.
There is more, of course; the man has had 70 years, give or take, to run his mouth. It would take me forever to pull them all, so we will jump ahead to the wee hours of this depressingly long election cycle when he decided to say Senator John McCain (R-AZ), who was interred at the Hanoi Hilton while Trump was getting one of his multiple deferments, was not preferred over those who did not get captured. Many remember that little blip on the ol’ anti-Veteran quip radar, but what they seem to forget is Trump’s follow-up statement disparaging Senator McCain’s academic achievement record at the Naval Academy and that Senator McCain had somehow not done enough for the Veterans of our country. Senator McCain, by the way, has been an outspoken advocate for Veterans across the spectrum and across party lines. Mr. Trump, it turns out, has not.
Wait there’s more! Before all of that, he already had commentary on military policy and social constructs. In 2013 he used Twitter to imply that sexual assault in the military was bound to happen because women and men served together, and you just can’t expect men to control themselves after all (the last bit is half-implied, half-stated in his follow-on commentary). Since starting his campaign in earnest, he has dismissively favored nuclear action, an irrevocable action that cannot be corrected in a spin room unlike most of his statements. He used Veterans to escape a debate, saying he was going to host a Veteran fundraiser. He did host the fundraiser, but then not only lagged on distributing the money but had to be wheedled into contributing himself (just to make the numbers he falsified closer to true) and by filtering them through his foundation. He made “jokes” about the Purple Heart, attacked a Gold Star family, and most recently showed his ignorance on one of the primary facets of Veterans and Servicemembers seeking mental health care: it’s not actual weakness or strength, Mr. Trump. It’s the fact that you, or others, might perceive us as weak or strong that prevents many from seeking treatment.
How could he know these things, though? He’s a complete political outsider going against someone “of the system.” His ignorance on many topics is what makes him so appealing and the system appear a bit more fragile. But make no mistake: his ignorance is not bliss, as the saying goes. No, his ignorance could be our downfall and there is no excuse for it or what results from it. And to those who say, “Bah, those are just words and he speaks his mind!” as an interrogator I will counter that I’ve sat across from people who hate us because of words in the media. If he continues his tirades against groups, those world populations begin to think we all believe that since we elected him. They cannot see us as an ally, they believe we all hate them and will destroy them. No hearts and minds, just more wars and more dead and more homegrown attackers. It’s psychology, science, and facts that had he gone to a contested area or ever associated with Veterans, he might know.
So you can shout “Benghazi” and “Email” at me all you like; I will not even give him the respect of comparison against the other candidates on the ballot as he has not given me any respect as a Veteran (or a woman, or a Jew, or much of anything in which I believe). If you want more combat and conflict, and more Veterans for him to care nothing about, go ahead and cast your vote for him. Not me, folks. I’ll be weighing between the “meh” options for sure, but I will under no circumstances go near the GOP for the top billet this election year.
Draft information: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/02/us/politics/donald-trump-draft-record.html?_r=0
Vendors information: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/exclusive-donald-trump-push-street-vendors-article-1.2312519
Sexual Assault: http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/08/politics/donald-trump-military-sexual-assault/