Not the Most Important Election of My Lifetime

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I voted today. Checked all the boxes. Signed the outside of the secret ballot. Put a 4th of July stamp on it with fireworks exploding and drove it over to the Post Office and even went inside to mail it, just to be sure that there was no voter fraud taking place. I want my vote to count.

I hope you vote, too.

Everyone keeps saying this is the most important election of our lives. I’ve said it myself. But in reality, at least for me, this is probably not the most important election of my life. The most important election of my life took place in 1963 when Lyndon B. Johnson was elected. Johnson promised voters he would not be sending any “American boys” to wage war on behalf of South Vietnam.

“We are not about to send American boys nine or ten thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves.” —President Lyndon Johnson in a speech at Akron University on October 21, 1964, two weeks before the presidential election.

Johnson won by a landslide.

Two years later, shortly before Christmas Day of 1965, my father shipped out to Vietnam.

“We do this [escalating U.S. military involvement in Vietnam] in order to slow down aggression. We do this to increase the confidence of the brave people of South Vietnam who have bravely born this brutal battle for so many years with so many casualties. And we do this to convince the leaders of North Vietnam—and all who seek to share their conquest—of a simple fact: We will not be defeated. We will not grow tired. We will not withdraw either openly or under the cloak of a meaningless agreement.”—President Lyndon Johnson, speaking to the nation on April 7, 1965 explaining his decision to send U.S. combat troops to Vietnam.

So, yes, it does matter a great deal who we put into office because that person controls our futures the way Lyndon B. Johnson controlled mine.

I still have the letter of sympathy he wrote in the wake of my father’s death.

I have little to no regard for that letter. I know Johnson signed thousands of such letters.

I don’t want a president who pays lip service to our nation’s military and Gold Star families like mine.

But I sure to heck don’t want a president who doesn’t have the decency to do even that much – a man who, instead, denigrates the sacrifices that our military families make each and every day.

Gold Star families.

POW families.

Purple Heart recipients.

He’s managed to demean them all.

That’s not the only reason I voted for Hillary Clinton, but if it were, it is reason enough for me.

I pray she has wisdom enough to refrain from sending American men and women to fight wars that should never be waged and, yet, enough wisdom to not forsake the suffering of this world.

Being Commander-in-Chief is not a job I envy any man.

Or woman.

Karen Spears Zacharias is author of BURDY (MU Press).

Karen Spears Zacharias

Author/Journalist/Educator. Gold Star Daughter.

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