Can they all get along?

Eye on Veterans
October 19, 2018 - 3:59 pm

Campaign photos.

It's been a talking point for just about every veteran running for Congress. From Republican retired SEAL Dan Crenshaw to Democrats like USAF vet Chrissy Houlahan and former Navy pilot Ken Harbaugh, the dozens of vets aiming for Capitol Hill have been saying the same thing: they'll be able to work with their fellow veterans regardless of political affiliation.

It's a nice thought, for sure, but how likely is it to actually happen?

There's a history of bipartisan cooperation between vets, including recent examples like Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Brian Mast (R-FL) working together to push forward burn pit legislation. Historically, even when there isn't cooperation there is, at the very least, respect. Still, the political climate on Capitol Hill is perhaps more divided along party lines now than at any point in recent history. From Supreme Court nominees to budgets to investigations, and so on, there's a lot taking place in D.C. that'politically polarizing. 

That being the case, it seems reasonable to wonder if those campaign statements are, well, just campaign statements. VoteVets, a left-leaning organization is optimistic. 

"I certainly think they will be able to sit down and have a conversation with each other, respect each other and treat each other with dignity," said USMC vet Will Fischer, VoteVets Director of Government Relations. "I think you saw a 'what could that look like' when Daniel Inouye died. Daniel Inouye, as his body lay in state at the US Capitol, Bob Dole came over, stood up from his wheelchair and saluted him and sat back down. They were tremendous friends... and they were of vastly different political ideologies but they shared this common experience."

And while VoteVets is only supporting the progressive candidates, they'd like to see a higher turnout in general, particularly in the veteran community. Fischer says every two years it's "chest-rattling" when he finds out how few people voted. He is, however, hopeful that more will participate in the mid-terms.

"How could anyone in the climate in which we're in, no matter which side you're on, not want to be involved? At least to go vote. At least to have your voice heard. Because there are so many avenues for people lifting their voices. Somebody can pull up a camera and post a video on youtube and let their opinion be known. Someone can go on Twitter, tweet and let their opinion be known. But it's n the ballot box that you can let your opinion be known in the most effective way that we have in this country."

You can hear the full interview with VoteVets Will Fischer below. 

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