The "character war" -- trashing the reputation of candidates and creating pseudoscandals in a lazy attempt to win elections without effective policies, ideas and even candidates -- has begun. However, candidates are more than ideas and policies: They are people, and voters want to know what kind of people. On occasion, Twitter provides unintended glimpses of candidates and what they do.
While trading tweets with conservatives concerning how "liberals" in general, and Hillary Clinton in particular, are changing America, veterans and the military entered the conversation. Democrats were, and continue to be, the driving force aiding U.S. veterans over the past century. From the new G.I. Bill to multi-year VA funding and tackling veteran homelessness, Democrats produced results. Yet the conclusion of current wars and forced budget cuts are creating uncertainty in the lives of the troops and their families. Being denied any VA pension after serving over a decade in wartime is unfair and unjust.
Conservatives confuse this angst with support for conservatives among the troops. Military personnel and their families are not ignorant of the world around them and are highly adept at identifying friend and foe. Hillary's name arose when a conservative said that Hillary voted for the Iraq war, setting off a dialog concerning military and veteran support. I exchanged messages later with a woman who came to Hillary's defense because of something Hillary had done for her brother and the troops. Out of respect for her privacy, I refer to her as "Twitter User." Below is our exchange:
Me: "Can you tell me more about this? I am doing a HuffPo piece on HRC and vets/military"
Twitter User: "Well, i dont have any actual articles. My brother was an 11b at FT. Drum with 10th Mountain during her time as senator"
Twitter User: "When his unit got back from their 2nd deployment, they had a huge backlog of medboards & current soldiers.
Twitter User: "... So, a lot of soldiera wrote to her & ...She got all the e medboards processed"
Twitter User: "...He said that the soldiers ended up loving her & were the reason why she got reelected."
Twitter User: "It wasfunny, he came home on leave one day & HRC came upon convo & he's like, 'WE LOVE HER UP THERE!' Lol"
Twitter User: "I was like, 'conservative enlisted infantrymen rednecks love Hillary?!' Haha then he told me everything she did..."
The conversation ended there, and I never received another message. Having associated with Hillary's team and the military for years, I know that she has a reputation for quietly supporting troops and their families. However, here was a very concrete example. Following up on the comments and seeking some confirmation that the Twitter conversation was on track, I reached out to an authority.
Brigadier General Mike Dunn came immediately to mind. We attended Staff College together and have stayed in touch over the years. Mike, then Colonel and Walter Reed Healthcare System Commander, said that he vividly remembered Hillary visiting Fort Drum's wounded soldiers at Walter Reed following Operation Anaconda. According to Mike:
In early 2002, I took then-Senator Clinton to visit wounded soldiers from Fort Drum, New York, who had arrived at Walter Reed from Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan. She connected with them and it was clear that they were not at all surprised to see her -- they already knew about her work in the Senate on behalf of Fort Drum's soldiers and families.
When no one is listening or watching, what do you do? Hillary cares, and she corrects problems even when people do not see it. This is the real Hillary that I support. Many members of Congress and the Senate pay only lip service toward assisting the troops and veterans. Hillary cares for the troops and their families and has proven it.