When he saw my Veterans for Obama button, an irate Vietnam-era veteran shouted at me: "What are you talking about? I am going to vote for the veteran, John McCain, especially since he suffered so much in war. We veterans must stick together." It was not the first time that I encountered this "approach." I realize that McCain's shoddy voting record for veterans and the troops is largely unknown. My task is to change that and quickly. The veteran I mention above had not heard the truth about McCain's voting record.
I respect guys, like McCain, who went "downtown" as we used to say. Launch, after launch, taking off for Hanoi and other points knowing, that unless a miracle occurred, all of them were not coming back. Miracles were hard to come by in those times and that place. Yet the fighter planes went, sortie after sortie, day after day. Then to spend years in a Vietnamese prison camp enduring torture, these events certainly qualify John McCain as a warrior and a hero. I respect and honor John McCain's service. But why am I, a retired military guy and aviator no less, supporting Obama?
The answer is simply what matters for most veterans - which candidate is best for the nation and the future. Look at McCain's voting record. Veterans and the military clearly see they are and were not supported by Senator McCain.
Bill Rausch, Ohio Democratic Party, Veterans for Change, who developed the billboard above said:
"The young man on the Billboard is Jason Graven (Former MP, SPC, US Army) an Ohio native who enlisted in the US Army after the attacks of September 11th. He deployed to Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom and upon completing his obligation in the Army was honorably discharged. Jason is currently using the GI Bill to attend the University of Toledo. Jason is a proud supporter of Senator Obama and has been volunteering for the campaign because he knows how important this election is. He is struggling with the rest of Ohio when it comes to finding work, trying to pay the bills, and attempting to stay afloat during these unprecedented economic times. Thanks to Senator Obama, Senator Biden and many other Democratic and Republican members of Congress, Jason will better be able pay for school due to the increased benefits and improvements of the GI Bill. Senator McCain's opposition to the New GI Bill was and still is shameful. "Too generous," he said. Tell that to Jason and every other brave American who served this country in a time of war. It is the least we can do and let me just say thank you to Jason along with every American service member who has served this great country. "Too generous?" I think not.
Veterans and military see the elderly McCain pretending to support the entire military family when his record proves that he does not. We are angered. But mostly when we see the angry old war hero campaigning, we are saddened. He is a mere shade of the McCain who ran for president in 2000 and too erratic to lead.
Obama supports the military family in word and deed. Obama is fit and ready to lead this country. Obama is the best candidate for the nation and the future. I will join others touring the small towns of Pennsylvania this weekend. I will be knocking on doors and explaining why veterans support Obama. Please join me by dedicating a few hours to ensuring Obama is our next president.