If I have to describe the life of soldiers in a single word; I would have described it as “patriotic”.
Though, some of you would like to describe it as “tough” and some of you even as “risky”.
I am recording my vote of confidence in America — after all, trust must flow two ways, and purposeful restraint affirms the faith I place in my fellow citizens with the selection of our commander in chief. As a profession, we’d do well to follow their lead.
By not voting, I am walking in the boot prints of our greatest officers: George C. Eisenhower and Patton, to name a few who didn’t vote while in uniform, and those of the modern era that tread the same path — David H.
In true sense, a soldier’s life is a collection of all the three.
A soldier’s life is patriotic, because, s/he is overwhelmed with the thought of protecting the motherland, even at the cost of his/her own life; tough, as they have to stay away from family and friends for months, that too in some of the most arduous conditions; risky because they secure our borders and are under constant threat from infiltrators and terror outfits.
One 2010 study found that over a quarter of military officers reported that another officer tried to influence their vote; my experience suggests this figure would be even higher today — like everyone else, officers are inundated and politicized by 24-hour news and social media.
To vote, and then rely upon a culture of secrecy to prevail, is not a successful strategy in the Facebook age.
I would like to believe that I can separate my political and professional views, but I worry that, years from now, my decision could undermine my military judgment.
This is principled abstention, a silent form of speech as serious to me as the actions of those athletes who choose not to stand for the national anthem. “If I vote against the administration, I am voting against my commander in chief.