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Author: TriSec    Date: 10/06/2020 11:53:20

Good Morning.

One thing we have all learned from this Presidency is that it's OK to hate again.

By nature of their oath to Preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, one would think that military veterans might be above the fray. But it appears that a local group may be cherry-picking and tend to embrace the three-fifths clause above the Bill of Rights.

BARRINGTON, R.I. (WJAR) — Flying under the stars and stripes above the veterans memorial at Barrington Town Hall, a Black Lives Matter flag blows in the wind, to the dismay of some local veterans and residents who feel it's "too political."

"There's no way you can accommodate every organization and every interest group," said Paul Dulchinos, president of Barrington's United Veterans Council.

On Monday, veterans and residents held a rally outside town hall, calling on the council to remove the flag. Dulchinos said it sends a political message that not everyone supports flying outside town hall.

"All Black lives matter, but the problem is, the national organization has ulterior motives and a different agenda and you can't separate the two," he told NBC 10 News Monday. "And that goes for any banner of any organization."

Town Manager Jim Cunha said he made the decision to add the flag to the town's flagpole in August after an alleged racial incident between two residents was caught on camera and sparked outrage and protests.

"I'm a 30-year Navy veteran, so I know where they're coming from, but I also think the stars and stripes represents everyone," Cunha told NBC 10 in an interview Monday. "All men and women are created equal. And to fly the Black Lives Matter flag under the stars and stripes, to me, is exactly what we're trying to say. The message is, we protect all and right now, it's the Black lives that need protection."

Laura Larrivee said she supports black lives but believes the message shouldn't share a stage with the American flag.

"This flagpole should be for the American flag and we should not have any political flags with that flag," she said, adding a flag supporting police officers wouldn't be appropriate either. "It's the American flag, the Prisoner of War flag and the state flag."

This is a top-down flow; where former presidents once embraced something called "Trickle-Down" for their economic policy, the current occupant promotes a "plunge it, flush it, look out below!" approach for social matters.

We've all heard of that "Band of Brothers" spirit within the military. I have never served myself, but I know of it. Camaraderie, loyalty, shared experiences - these things do something to those who serve, and it becomes a part of your very soul. Bonds forged, especially in battle, very often last a lifetime. But even the strongest of ties are not immune to 2020.

After surviving some of the bloodiest combat in Afghanistan, the men of the Second Battalion, Seventh Marine Regiment stayed connected on social media for support at home as they grappled with the fallout of war.

It was a rough transition to civilian life. Many men were disillusioned about why they fought; others struggled with post-traumatic stress. Suicide stalked their ranks. Those close online connections offered something the veterans’ health care system did not: common ground, understanding, friends ready to talk day or night.

But the connections that held strong through all those troubles have been frayed to breaking by the partisan rancor of 2020. The Facebook group the men once relied on for support is now clogged with divisive memes and partisan conspiracy theories, disputes over policing and protests, and, of course, strong views on the president.

The din has driven a growing number of members to log off in dismay. Many say they still want to support their fellow Marines but cannot stand the toxic political traffic.

Party strategists and analysts tend to treat veterans as a homogeneous voting bloc, conservative-leaning and focused mainly on defense and benefits issues. But veterans are increasingly diverse in their outlook, and deeply divided over the coming election.

The explosive issues of a strange year and the unconventional presidency of Donald J. Trump have pried veterans apart, just as they have divided families at kitchen tables and friends in now-canceled softball leagues. Like many other Americans, veterans can find it hard even to agree to disagree when so many see November as a critical turning point.

And those cracks are clear among the veterans of the 2/7. Many from the battalion have unfollowed longtime friends. Some have left the unit’s online support group entirely.

“It hurts my soul to see all this childish drama,” said Keith Branch, a former infantryman from the battalion. “Brothers that formed bonds in war, I see them becoming broken over childish arguments. I disconnect from it — I’m already dealing with post-traumatic stress. It hurts too much to look at it.”

In 2015, veterans of the battalion’s combat deployments had a suicide rate 14 times the national average, and Mr. Branch, who lives in Texas, helped to set up the rapid response network of volunteers who could race to the scene when a fellow battalion veteran was contemplating suicide. The group made several critical interventions to save lives.

Now, he said, members of the Facebook group are much less willing than before to open up about their feelings amid the partisan hostility, and real discussion about the fallout of combat has grown rare.

“People are saying they are never going to talk to each other again, and calling each other names,” said Mr. Branch, who voted for Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate, in 2016 and does not plan to vote this year. “I don’t get it. We went to war to fight extremism. I don’t understand why we can’t find common ground.”

November 3 can't come soon enough - but make no mistake, this is the last and only chance to save what remains of the United States. Four more years of Trumpian Dystopia, and there will be nothing left worth saving.


10 comments (Latest Comment: 10/06/2020 19:56:18 by livingonli)
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