The Right Opinion

Some Military Voters Disenfranchized

Veterans enable Americans to cast the ballot

By Edwin J. Feulner · Nov. 6, 2012

“If you can read this, thank a teacher,” reads a popular bumper sticker, with some versions adding: “If you can read it in English, thank a veteran.”

As millions of Americans head to the voting booth Tuesday to exercise one of their most cherished rights, we should pause and remember those who help make it possible. Simply having rights isn't enough. They must be defended, often at great personal cost. It's the members of our armed forces, past and present, who put their lives on the line every day to do just that.

How appropriate, then, that Election Day should occur so close to next Monday's observance of Veterans Day. It's worth noting, however, that the actual holiday falls on Nov. 11 every year. Why that day? Because Nov. 11, 1918, marked the end of World War I, a four-year conflict that brought an appalling loss of life for many countries, including the United States. Having Veterans Day tied to what was once called the Great War seems appropriate. Many of our veterans, after all, made great sacrifices to keep the flame of freedom burning brightly.

Initially, in fact, the holiday was known (until a declaration by Congress in 1954) as Armistice Day. Broadening it to include all veterans, however – not just those who had served in World War I – has enabled Americans of each generation to thank not only the warriors of past wars, but those who have served more recently. It's obvious that we owe a debt of gratitude not only to those who fought against Hitler's Germany and Imperial Japan, but those who risked all in Korea, Vietnam, the Middle East and other hot spots.

Recall, too, that all who have enlisted since late 2001 have done so knowing we are at war, and understanding that combat experience is likely. These volunteers are the cream of the crop. It's amazing, really, that such a small group of men and women is able to accomplish so much. Less than 1 percent of our country's population serves in the military, yet the United States projects power worldwide.

There's another reason we should be thanking members of the military as we vote: Shamefully enough, we're exercising a right that some of our troops were denied this year.

More than 200,000 military personnel are serving overseas. Yet thanks to election rules under both political parties, many of them were unable to vote in several states that held party caucuses instead of primaries in 2012, including Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada, Minnesota, Colorado, Iowa, Utah, Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Wyoming, Alaska, Washington, Florida, Missouri, Maine and Michigan.

What irony. Military voters are putting their lives on the line every day, and they can't cast a ballot to select their own party's nominee for commander in chief. Shouldn't they have a say in deciding who will have the authority to deploy them around the world?

Unfortunately, this wasn't a one-time thing.

“Military voters have long been disenfranchised, both at the state and federal level, by a voting process that fails to recognize the unique challenges created by a military voter's transitory existence or the delays associated with delivering an absentee ballot to a war zone halfway around the world,” writes voting specialist Hans von Spakovsky. We need to fix this – and ensure that it never happens again.

So let us “remember those who were called upon to give all a person can give,” as President Reagan urged during a Veterans Day speech in 1988, as well as “those who were prepared to make that sacrifice if it were demanded of them in the line of duty, though it never was.” Most of all, he added, “We remember the devotion and gallantry with which all of them ennobled their nation as they became champions of a noble cause.”

If you are wearing an “I Voted” sticker on Election Day, thank a veteran.

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14 Comments

Gregory in Yakima said:

Mr. Feulner writes a fatuous opinion piece exploiting veterans for his personal benefit. I wonder how he feels about feeding military personnel into a fraudulent war based on cooked up "mushroom clouds, aluminum tubes that were not part of WMD's" and etc.? Apparently that's all ok with him as long as we pay lip service.

By the way...are G.I.'s responsible for the British speaking English?

No doubt our veterans (of which I am one) deserve thanks and respect but silly conjecture is not respect, it's patronizing and a bit stupid.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 8:59 AM

wjm in Colorado replied:

You are a dispicable piece of filth sodomite. Real Veterans who support and defend the Constitution realize the treason involved in voting for Obamao. We patriots also recognize abberant behavior and mental delusion. I pray for you soul, which is damned to hell. You are a traitor to your country.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 9:29 AM

Brian in Newport News replied:

I don't believe that Mr. Feulner was addressing the root causes of war, only the fact that brave men and women of this country (as you did, and I thank you) stepped up and sacrificed some, or all, to "support and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic."

Have you read John Densons' "A Century of War?" It is a fascinating account of the behind the scene (and largely unreported) machinations of Lincoln, Wilson and Roosevelt's efforts to get the other side to "fire the first shot" in order to get the US involved in wars. You can read the online version here:

http://library.mises.org/books/John%20V%20Denson/A%20Century%20of%20War%20Lincoln,%20Wilson%20and%20Roosevelt.pdf

Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 9:30 AM

Wayne in Hinesville, GA replied:

Greg, If your a veteran then how can you support a CinC who stood by and let four Americans die when it is possible it could have been avoided? You keep harping on WMD's which have nothing to do with this election. Your own leftwing idiots in Congress voted for the war in Iraq based on the same intelligence President Bush saw. I guess that makes them war-mongering fools too.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 9:52 AM

Bruce R Pierce in Owensboro, KY replied:

You obviously never served overseas, maybe not even outside your state, or you would remember the difficulties required to vote, let alone the "lost" ballots that never were able to be counted.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 1:45 PM

Craig in CA replied:

"By the way...are G.I.'s responsible for the British speaking English?"

I think they are - had we not entered the war, our friends the Brits could well be speaking German.

I think that's part of the reason we have such a special relationship with the Brits - sharing a national heritage, building on ideas (the 1215 Magna Carta, the 1315 Declaration of Arbroath), and then coming to the rescue with the "arsenal of Democracy" in WWII certainly helped.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Gregory in Yakima said:

Old Sarge...did you say the same things when terrorists flew jets into the World Trade Center in 2001? I'm willing to bet you didn't blame the president for that. What about the Marines killed in the barracks In Lebanon that Reagan put in harms way?

The bigger outrage is sending American service men and women to fight a war in Iraq based on fraudulent claims.

By the way, I served at West Point Military Academy as part of my service. You're welcome.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 9:58 AM

wjm in Colorado replied:

You coward, I will bet money you never, ever, were anyplace within a hundred miles of a gun being fired in combat. More likeley you couldn't even qualify with a dreaded weapon. You speak of fraudulent claims, but can't name any. Typical delusion from an aberrant mind. Rot in hell sodomite.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 11:01 AM

Wayne in Hinesville, GA replied:

No, you stupid ass, I most certainly did not. I don't believe President Bush kinew ahead of time that Islamic terrorists were going to fly planes into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. I've heard all the conspiracy theories and they are nothing more than delusional idiocy. Again, your own party voted for the war based on the same intelligence President Bush saw not only from the CIA but from British intelligence and other countries. I also don't see how President Reagan could have precluded the attack in Lebanon. However, Odumbo could have stopped the attack in Benghazi. The Consulate had been attacked on two other occasions and the personnel had asked for increased security long before the attack occured. Why don't you admit that your Messiah has feet of clay and did not carry out his duties as CinC. Why the hell should I thank you for serving in the military when now you wouild stand by and watch Odumbo tear this country apart.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 1:41 PM

Gregory in Yakima said:

Yes Old Sarge Democrats including Hillary Clinton made votes in favor of war for political reasons. They should be ashamed. Mitt Romney endorsed that war but Barack Obama voted against. I believe that is a big reason Obama defeated Clinton for the nomination.

Now be honest and admit 2001 and the Marine Barracks attacks were far more grievous than the Benghazi attacks.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 10:03 AM

wjm in Colorado replied:

We weren't watching the Marine Barracks being blown up you sodomite traitor.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 11:03 AM

Wayne in Hinesville, GA replied:

No, idiot, two couldn't have been forseen but the other could have been precluded if Odumbo had listened to his own people. What a stupid reason for comparing one incident to another. Americans died in Benghazi due to incompetence and just plain stupidity. What a piece of work you are! You could care less that the people died in Libya as long as your Marxist leader doesn't have to answer for it.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 1:47 PM

Mike McGinn in People's Republic of Maryland said:

Based on the quality of our public education system, I kind of prefer a bumper sticker that says, "If u can read dis, thankx a teecher".

Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 12:23 PM

John Cuzzetto in Pueblo, CO said:

It is important that our service men and women in the military should be able to vote. It doesn't,t matter where they are. I voted for a president when I was in Vietnam, fighting for my country. It is only fair and a right for them.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 5:20 PM