There’s been no shortage of analysis about the second presidential debate on Sunday. But for me, what was not said spoke the loudest.
As one of 22 million military veterans in the United States, I believe we deserve a discussion about how the new administration will assist the up to 20% of veteranswho served in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom and developed post-traumatic stress disorder after deployment. We are owed a plan of action that will save the lives of the approximately 20 veterans who commit suicide daily, seven who are under the age of 50. Our 1.3 million active-duty personnelneed greater understanding of the new president’s intent to deploy (or not) “boots on the ground” in Syria while their family members hold their breath, prepare to exhale, and make it through.
The 5,240 service members — women and men — who reported being sexually assaulted in 2015 deserve a comprehensive transformation of military culture so sexual assault in the Armed Forces can be properly investigated and litigated. But neither candidate addressed that — or the much greater prevalence of sexual assault that goes unreported. According to the 2015 annual military sexual assault report, more than 19,000 service members experienced assault in the prior year — over three times the report rate.
This lack of acknowledgment is, in essence, the issue. While we all want policy at the forefront of politics, and character at the core of our chosen candidate, what we’re longing for is a connection — to our nominee and each other.
OCTOBER 12, 2016, 1:20 PM