I am a retired Army intelligence officer who tries to eschew politics in my fiction. I am nowhere on the Red-Blue continuum, I’m a libertarian. Which takes me off the liberal-conservative continuum as well because I’m a social liberal and a fiscal conservative. What does any of this have to do with being a retired military officer?
In June 2020, sixteen hundred National Guard troops were deployed to Washington, D.C., during the summer of mostly peaceful arson, looting, destruction and murder. They were brought to the nation’s capital to augment forces protecting federal property, including the White House. The Mayor wanted them gone and ordered them out of their hotel, refusing to pay the bills. They were depicted as an occupying force and part of the problem.
In January 2021, twenty-five thousand national guard troops were deployed to Washington, D.C., in certainty that armed insurrection would occur. They were used as props for photos of the capitol, saving the Republic from the half of the country declared traitors. There was no armed insurrection. And the white supremacist uprising predicted for all fifty state capitals was limited to one: a mostly-white Antifa group set fires and attacked the state Democratic Party headquarters in Portland, Oregon. They featured a sign saying they didn't want Biden, they wanted Revenge.
As soon as the inauguration was over, these women and men who had volunteered to protect and defend our nation no longer had any use as props, and were ordered to leave the capitol and spend the night in a parking garage during sub-freezing temperatures.
As physical privation goes, this is small potatoes albeit gratuitous. Seven thousand soldiers, two bathrooms, no internet and one electrical outlet make for interesting math. The order allegedly came from the capitol police, who report through committees to the Speaker of the House and the Majority Leader of the Senate. These two bear ultimate responsibility. Shame on them.
This would be less significant were it not preceded by an undeserved insult from Representative Steve Cohen, who expressed concern that the loyalty of members of the military was suspect because only “twenty percent of them voted for President Biden.” That goes beyond shameful to disgusting. His focus was on white members of the National Guard, which is racist and unacceptable. It’s not the first time Cohen has sounded the racist klaxon; in 1996 he lost the primary election to succeed Harold Ford, Sr, to Harold Ford, Jr, and claimed that the result proved that it didn’t matter what a white person did, he could never overcome bias in the black community.
I close with an unattributed quote I found today on the internet.
The nation which forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten.