Should presidents be required to have served in the military?
John McCain, 1954
I respect those who are serving or who have served in the military almost more than any quality. There are so many characteristics involved in dedicating yourself to such a position - loyalty to your nation and its people, passion, strength, courage, ambition, a love of adventure, commitment, and more - that I hold them very high in my regard.
I am a Democrat, I suppose more moderate as well, and I will vote for the Democratic nominee, whether it's Obama or Clinton. However, the one thing that really bugs me is that Obama, the presumptive nominee, was never in the military. John McCain certainly was, having served in Vietnam, and though I don't agree with many of his proposals, I am almost more swayed to go with him instead.
To me, his service shows real dedication to his nation and its citizens. I feel like he really has a right to give his opinion about what's going on and what can be done because he has worked for the country in so many ways. Serving in the military can be a matter of life and death, and I don't know how often a president has been willing to give his own life for his country. You didn't see George Bush throwing his daughters in the military after increasing tour lengths or sitting amongst talk of a draft.
John McCain was born on a military base in the Panama Canal. He attended the U.S. Naval Academy and became a naval pilot. He was almost killed when the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal caught on fire and he tried to save a fellow pilot; 134 died, and he was struck in the chest and legs when a bomb went off during the fire. He was also a prisoner of war for five and a half years, captured after his jet was shot down in North Vietnam. He was beaten and interrogated while nearly dying from his injuries and dystentery. After being released, he served as the Navy's liaison to the U.S. Senate. He received 17 awards and decorations during his 23 years of service, including the Silver and Bronze Stars, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, and a Navy Commendation Medal.
I guess Obama's unwillingness to put his hand over his heart during the Pledge of Allegiance probably doesn't help with my negative feelings toward him in this respect, but I don't feel someone who hasn't served in the military should talk about what's best for the country.
As the military is such a large part of the workings of the United States, should all presidential candidates have some experience, past or present, with the military? I think it would certainly help form more complete ideas in developing policies and proposals, don't you?