“Navy Admiral and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Michael Mullen has said that ‘the single, biggest threat to our national security is debt.’”
Trump assumed the presidency on the shoulders of a base who insisted that political correctness was destroying this country. They claimed that they were tired of snowflakes who had created a victimhood culture so that they were constantly forced to tiptoe around minefields of microaggressions lest they trigger some coddled Millennial who had been raised in an era of participation trophies. This is ‘Merica and ‘Mericans should be able to say whatever comes to their minds. F#ck your feelings, good people should be able to toss around Nazi slogans when marching with a few hundred of their closest friends without being called white supremacists.
It turns out that liberals are not the only ones who can be triggered by speech. When CA-25 candidate Christy Smith held a conference call with supporters she had the audacity to utter these words about her opponent, Mike Garcia: “It is what it is. Did you guys know he’s a pilot? I … you know … it had escaped me.” To Trump Republicans, this can only mean that Smith thinks that Garcia being a military pilot “somehow makes him unqualified to hold elected office.” The offense was so great that the president of the United States has twice taken time away from dealing with COVID-19 to tweet that Smith was “mocking our Great Vets!”
Garcia has made his service a focus of his campaign. From the font size of “fighter pilot” being almost as large as the one for his name to the fighter jets in his videos, Garcia wants to make sure that voters realize that he was in the military. While Smith is guilty of failing to issue a trigger warning before speaking, the point she is making is that Garcia never explains how his military service has prepared him to serve in Congress. Politicians from Eisenhower to Kennedy have made the leap from the military to politics, but they have done so by specifically convincing the voters how their experience would make them better leaders. This is something that Garcia has failed to accomplish.
The closest Garcia comes to tying his military experience to the job he is asking the voters to hire him for is under “National Security” on his web page where he states that he “knows firsthand the important role that the United States plays around the world as a force for good.” Not sure how he saw the results on the ground “first hand” from his perch high in the sky, but they certainly did not translate to concrete plans of actions. Instead, his website only includes platitudes like “the first priority must always be national security and protecting the homeland” and that he will make “it a priority to ensure our men and women in uniform have the funding and tools necessary to keep America safe, and only send them into battle when it is absolutely necessary.” When was the last time the congress fulfilled their constitutional obligations and did not subcontract their responsibility to send troops into battle to the executive branch? With Garcia already bowing down to Trump, there seems little possibility of him reclaiming this constitutional responsibility from the president.
When addressing the national debt, Garcia shows how utterly unprepared he is for a role in government. He starts with the premise that “the single, biggest threat to our national security is debt”, but offers no solutions for reducing these obligations. Instead, he paints policies that would only serve to increase that debt. This includes a statement that “in order to balance the budget” he does not “support an income tax increase on any tax bracket”. He also supports “increasing defense spending”, “federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth”, “lowering corporate taxes”, and “expanding federal funding to support entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare” with the caveat that “Social Security is not an entitlement program, it’s a contract with Americans.” Doesn’t that contract make Social Security something Americans are entitled to?
While the country struggles with the worst employment numbers since the Great Depression, Garcia insists that Trump’s “tax cuts are working for country [sic]”. He does recognize that, because of the 2018 tax law, “California taxpayers are being unfairly punished for their zip code” but ignores the fact that it was his party that put these rules in place and that as originally planned, his constituents would have also been unable to deduct the costs of earthquake or wildfire damage while red state representatives protected the ability to deduct hurricane or tornado costs.
Ironically, while complaining that Garcia’s opponent is “mocking” his military service, he and his supporters are attempting to diminish Smith’s considerable service to the community. Even worse, they are lying about her record as a school board member struggling to lead the district through the effects of Bush’s Great Recession. In the Trumpified world of politics, a person’s military service excludes them from having to give specific answers about how they would govern but a person who has successfully governed should be excluded from holding office. This from a party currently led by a man who faked bone spurs to avoid a draft that resulted in the deaths of many less privileged men.
As Trump and the Republicans continue to resist efforts to protect voters by widening vote by mail options for the November election, California Governor Gavin Newsom ensured that all voters received ballots in the mail ahead of the CA-25 special election. Unfortunately, this also meant that there would only be a limited number of vote centers available to drop off ballots or to register and vote in person. Instead of backing a decision by the Los Angeles County Clerk to add an additional center so that more people would have a chance to vote, they complained that Smith was trying to “steal an election.” Apparently it is easier to limit participation in the democratic process than to win on the issues and the truth.
Make sure that your voice is heard. If you live in CA-25, make sure to vote by the May 12 election. Complete information is available on the county web site.
Carl Petersen is a parent, an advocate for students with special education needs, an elected member of the Northridge East Neighborhood Council, an appointed alternate to the LAUSD’s CAC, and was a Green Party candidate in LAUSD’s District 2 School Board race. During the campaign, he was endorsed by the Network for Public Education (NPE) Action and Dr. Diane Ravitch called him a “strong supporter of public schools.” His past blogs can be found at www.ChangeTheLAUSD.com. Opinions are his own.