That brand of leadership is being exemplified by veterans across the country. Women like Mikie Sherrill in New Jersey and Elissa Slotkin in Michigan. Men like Dan McCready in North Carolina and Pat Ryan in New York.
The 2018 midterm elections will see a wave of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans ascend Capitol Hill. As a retired four-star Army general and former U.S. presidential candidate, I think it’s exactly what our country needs.
Veterans are running for office in record numbers this year because they believe Washington is broken. What’s more, they know the same sense of duty, commitment to results, and the integrity and discipline they have been trained to live by, make them uniquely well-positioned to fix it.
Veterans are respectful of institutions. Veterans of my generation returned from Vietnam to help transform the U.S. Army. But young veterans are fed up with political leadership. Politicians sent them into Iraq and Afghanistan without exit plans, leaving them with their fingers in the dyke. Now home, they see partisan bickering but no vision for America. They are impatient for change. Like the Parkland survivors, young veterans are refusing to leave it to someone else to solve our country’s problems.
As former Marine Conor Lamb’s recent upset in Pennsylvania demonstrated, voters are starting to see veterans as the antidote to Washington’s toxicity, a jump-start for our democracy ironically predicated on the very qualities that distinguish them from most politicians.
From veterans, Americans expect representatives who put country before party. They expect public servants focused on action and results over talk and optics. They expect leaders who will instill pride, not shame, and lead toward a higher purpose than reelection.
Veterans elected to Congress will also practice a lost art — leadership. Leadership can be taught in a boardroom, on a sports field or on a Peace Corps deployment. But when it comes to molding leaders, it’s hard to replicate leading teams in combat zones.
Read the full article in the Baltimore Sun