A war hero turns to politics

President+Obama+Awards+Former+Marine+Dakota+NHX4o7UHxf2lOne of these men is president; the other wants to be. Huffington Post previously said Dakota Meyer’s tweets “usually are nonpolitical,” but reported in 2013 that he wants to run for Congress in 2016 and president in 2024 (when he’ll turn 36). That’s pretty ambitious for a high school graduate who works in construction and has no elective office experience. And there’s no doubt about where his partisan leanings lie. He snubbed the White House when they called to tell him that he would receive the Medal of Honor for his heroism in Afghanistan, telling them to have the president call him back during his lunch hour; he’s been endorsed by a conservative PAC calling itself “Combat Veterans For Congress;” and on March 15, 2015, the world learned he’s planning to marry Sarah Palin’s daughter.

Rightwing politics, combined with his military record and hero status, might be a path to Congress in the conservative Bible-Belt country of southeastern Kentucky from whence Meyer hails, where 96% of the population is white and 2.5% is African-American; but aligning with the Palin wing of the Republican Party probably is not a viable path to America’s highest office in the foreseeable future in a country that, with one exception, hasn’t elected a president without a college degree since the 19th century. The exception was Harry Truman, who had two crucial qualities that virtually all political dilettantes lack: Humility and a sense of proportion.

The Medal of Honor is an American institution. It doesn’t belong to a political party or ideology. Those brave few who wear it, in recognition of their extraordinary battlefield valor, represent all Americans. While it doesn’t disqualify them from seeking public office, or expressing personal opinions, it shouldn’t be exploited for fame, money, or partisan advantage. We respect and honor our Medal of Honor heroes for their service to our country and their fellow soldiers above and beyond the call of duty. They are uniquely positioned to advocate for our veterans and serving military personnel, but to be effective, they must do that in a nonpartisan manner.


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