Romney’s Hubris: Why It’s Not All That Funny

I fear that by the end of the day, the comments expressed by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will all be part of one large joke; an innocent one by the standards of his supporters, and merely the set up for round after round of liberal attacks.

Problem is, what he said is just not that funny.

When challenged about the fact that none of his five sons have served in the military, Mitt Romney talked about the nature of our volunteer army, which is fine.  He said he respectes their choice, and so do I.  But he severely crossed the line when he claimed that they were serving their country by helping their father get elected President of the United States of America.

No doubt he thought he was just sliding in a little joke as candidates do to show their more human side, to show they aren’t just a bunch of stuffed suits, but actually real, down to earth, people you could sit on the couch and watch a ball game with .

But it’s not funny.

I believe in the virtues of an all volunteer military, and that our nation could hardly be served better otherwise.  An all volunteer military means that every member that serves has a stake in the armed force’s combined endeavors, and that they will fight harder, and serve with a greater measure of honor, dignity, and professionalism than if they were mandated to serve despite their personal or political beliefs.

It is in this way that they choose to serve, that they choose to sacrifice, and that they sometimes die because of this choice, and do so knowingly, that it is vital we honor them, not turn them into a punchline, which is essentially what Romney has done.

When stood up side by side, there can be no comparison.  On one side, there are men and women in Iraq right now, serving, fighting, and sometimes dying in a war, on the other side, you have five brothers who are campaigning for a man, and an ideology.  To even quip as Romney did is to try to either elevate his son’s efforts to that of our service members, or to belittle the service of the men and women of our military.

Neither does honor to our all volunteer force.

But there is something more troubling by this.  The root question is a popular one, particularly from the anti-war left.  Why are all these people who support the war not actually fighting in it or don’t have children fighting in it?  There seems to be a level of hypocrisy there.

I don’t, as a rule, dive in head first to this way of thinking.  All human beings are endowed with a modicum of empathy, and also with the capability to reason, learn, and understand.  While a military background I believe is a benefit, I think it is possible to understand the rigors of war without one, I believe it is possible to understand at least to a degree the weight of sending our young Americans into battle.

But in his attempt to compare his son’s actions to those of the military shows that Romney lacks this ability to understand.  A man who would say such a thing really can’t be expected to understand the true gravity of making the decision to go to war, the impact that will have on families, and friends.

Even the temerity to crack such a joke belies a telltaling fault in the understanding, even if you truly don’t believe that canvassing an early primary state is equal to dressing in fatigues and carrying a weapon day in and day out.  It means that you still don’t truly respect the significance of those actions, that sacrifice, that service.

We’re in the middle of campaign season, which means that every act of a president is the most solemn act as candidates hop from stop to stop trying to appeal to voters of all types.  But even outside of campaign season, outside of the rough and tumble of elections, there is one act that remains solemn above all else; making the decision to go or not to go to war.

It is a great responsibility with a very steep price.  It is a heavy burden, and rightfully so for making that decision will no doubt doom at least some of our nation’s best to death.  That is what war is; it’s not glamorous, it’s not fun, it’s not pretty.  It’s death, and not just death of the enemy, but death of your own.

It’s a heavy price, and sometimes that’s the price you have to pay.  But only with a true appreciation of the entire story can we ensure that we only pay that price when no other options are available, only then can we do the military right by employing them only when absolutely necessary.

Without that empathy, with the unchecked Hubris displayed by Bush over the past six years, or Romney in turning the significance of military sacrifice and service into a punchline, the result is far different.  Instead of paying the price of our fallen youth only when we have to, we pay it when we want to.  We will send good people, good Americans, to their death for ideological purposes, for pride or revenge, for money or oil, for any old reason.

It’s not just irresponsible, it’s criminal, and I dont’ find a single funny thing about it.

Note: Others blogging this, courtesy memeorandumThe Atlantic Online, The Carpetbagger Report, TalkLeft, Big Brass Blog, DownWithTyranny!, Hullabaloo, All Spin Zone, PERRspectives Blog, AMERICAblog, No More Mister Nice Blog, ® and Blah3

Big Thanks to Gun Toting Liberal, Democratic Convention or Bust, Democrat Daily, and Bastard Logic for linking in.

2 Responses to “Romney’s Hubris: Why It’s Not All That Funny”

  1. Michael says:

    I agree!
    US Army 89 – 91

  2. Thank you Michael. You know, it’s really starting to grate on me how we are treating our military, now a days. This is, you know, the same party that flogs the military left and right, but I think this little quip on Romney’s part here kind of shows something revealing about how they really see the military, and I don’t like it none at all.


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