Today is Veteran's Day and I salute my family members, friends and colleagues who have served our country. I have always been inspired by them, from my grandfather who fought in the trenches of World War I, to my father who served in the South Pacific in the Navy, to so many people from the Kerry Campaign who served, to my younger veteran friends, Powers, Soltz, Rieckhoff, Murphy and many many more.
Above all, my veteran inspiration is Max Cleland, whom I wish I was with today to get one of his famous hugs.
Unfortunately, in this country for reasons I don't understand, time and time again, we see Americans who believe not in honoring the service of those that wear the uniform but use it to take advantage of it. Wave the flag and talk the talk, but don't walk the walk.
President Bush is the President Emeritus of this group. Famous for talking about our military and our veterans but dramatically underfunding the VA and our troops. Republican Senators, many of whom have quite rightly faced the wrath of Votevets.org, are top of the charts as well.
One other core issue and practice that happens in our country is during times of political debate on key issues, health care, global warming, businesses and other outside groups pour millions of dollars into the debates through front groups - distorting the debate and muddying the waters of progress.
The people who fund these groups never actually get called to table because of the actions of their groups and they should. For example, call me bitter because I am, but T. Boone Pickens has the blood of the dead from Iraq on his hands because he funded the Swift Boat Veterans. Without them, I think John Kerry wins. And I know John Kerry. We would have less tombstones in Arlington from Iraq if John had won in 2004.
Today, these two unattractive qualities have merged.
We have a front group, ACCCE, their members are here, a group that is pouring millions into the fight against clean energy because their members are old energy companies, but today on Veterans Day, ACCCE is using the good work of two veterans groups without their permission, stealing it and misrepresenting it.
Now, read this, from Votevets.org, about how upset they are. The title says it all. "Coal Front Group Hijacks Veterans, Dishonors Veteran's Day."
But go back to the list of members. Don't be mad at this front group because it's just that, there's nothing there.
Be mad at the despicable CEO's who don't have the guts to stand up and dishonor veterans on their own but instead pour money into another group and let that group do it for them.
I wonder how John feels about veterans. Clearly, he doesn't honor their service and thinks that protecting their work is important.
Clearly, John thinks that misrepresenting what our veterans want is fair game.
Clearly, John is not someone who thinks Veteran's Day matters.
Now, to be fair to John, every CEO on the list of ACCCE members should be ashamed and embarrassed.
The veterans who served and are working for clean energy to save lives of those still in uniform are hurt and mad.
You listening John?