Just when you think the gallery of American politicians can’t get any zanier, the system decides to prove you wrong. Whoever the President Elect turns out to be in November, the men and women of the United States Armed Forces will have a sworn duty to respect and honor their command regardless of personal political opinions. However, in the months leading up to the 2016 Presidential election, much military personnel find themselves in a precarious position. Not only are they unsure who to vote for, but they’re also finding themselves the subject of stump speech talking points on a regular basis.
Being the topic of discussion of aspiring and serving politicians is nothing new for military men and women, but the 2016 presidential campaign has brought some seemingly unprecedented perspectives and backgrounds of candidates when it comes to their potential role as commander in chief.
Donald Trump, the Republican Party nominee for president, has gone on the record criticizing prisoners of war for getting caught. He also wants the US military to act more covertly and avoid announcing their objectives to the American people.
“We tell everything,” Trump said during a speech in April. “We’re sending troops. We tell them. We’re sending something else. We have a news conference. We have to be unpredictable. And we have to be unpredictable starting now.”
Meanwhile, the ghosts of Benghazi continue to haunt former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president. She also makes no secret of her preference for military intervention overseas, where dangers to US civilians and interests are low, but risks to service men and women are high.
One facetious albeit telling indicator of American voter anxiety are the dating sites propping up to connect Canadians with Americans wishing to flee the country due to the radical political climate. The service, known as Maple Match, declared via post on their website that they would happily help Americans find true love north of the border
Though not in the market for love, one Navy veteran living in northern Montana, who wishes to be referred to as Jim, says the thought of leaving the United States behind for her northern neighbor has never been more appealing thanks to the current presidential nominees.
“I’m partly ashamed to say it, but a friend across the border (a veteran of the Canadian Army) ribs me about Clinton and Trump on a regular basis, and nothing he says is an exaggeration. It makes me want to pack it all up and relocate 57 miles north. The fishing is better there, and the weather is the same.”
Jim also added he was astounded to learn the level of freedom available to his Canadian buddy compared to himself. Hunting and fishing licensing, according to Jim, is far less cluttered with red tape in Alberta. “It’s all online, and [licensing] lasts twice as long as what I get here in Montana. Oh yeah, and it’s about $20 cheaper, factoring in the exchange rate.”
The biggest shock to Jim’s senses came when his friend texted him a link where Jim soon discovered the energy markets in Alberta were unregulated, allowing men and women to choose a power provider and pick a plan which works best for them. Combined with his uninspiring options for US president, Jim thinks if it weren’t for his years of service and the loyalty ingrained into his head he would have left for Canada years ago.
“Presidents come and go,” Jim says with a smirk. “It might seem like an impending apocalypse, but four to eight years goes by fast. I just hope whoever becomes president understands their decisions to put men and women in harm’s way will affect lives long after they leave office.”