Edmonds Military Wire: Veterans weigh in on Hillary Clinton

Michael Schindler
Michael Schindler

Growing up, my dad encouraged me to use the “Ben Franklin Method” when faced with difficult decisions. Most of you know this method – get a piece a paper out, write your issue at the top, draw a line down the center, write pros on one side and cons on the other.

I think in theory – if one is truly objective – this works great. As a teen, I often found myself “influencing” my pros/cons depending on my desired outcome. For instance, my pros always outweighed the cons on why I should be allowed to stay out late in high school. My dad would smile, and then talk to me about how leaders should be objective…not subjective.

What a great lesson. Especially when faced with this upcoming presidential election. Removing emotion, dissecting the rhetoric, navigating the bent media messages from the left and right is no easy task and would make Ben Franklin cringe.

So – I channeled my best “objective” persona and began casually asking from coast to coast those veterans in my circles what they thought of our presidential candidates; if they thought there was anything amazing about either one, starting with the former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The results certainly aren’t scientific, but after weighing the pros/cons, it turns out the majority think Hillary is pretty amazing.

Here were some of the comments – (I’m paraphrasing – and cleaning up some of the language):

“Had I been “extremely careless” in my handling of sensitive material while in the military, I’m certain a court martial would have been involved. The fact that she got off scot-free is pretty amazing.”

“To suggest a video, as head of the State Department when we were attacked in Benghazi, was the cause of the attack – and get away with it – is pretty amazing.”

“This DNC email scandal is really funny. You’d think Hillary would never touch email again. It’s amazing the media gives her a pass.”

“I’ll give her this – to go from First Lady, to Senator, to Secretary of State, and then become the Democratic Presidential nominee is pretty impressive (amazing?). That in its own right is amazing. To do it with so much political baggage is mind-blowing.”

Now, in fairness, the comments regarding Mr. Trump weren’t exactly “gushing” either. Most were amazed that he gets away with being…hmmm…well, let’s just say “abrasive and callous” and people accept that this is OK because he’s fighting the “establishment.”

“Unbecoming” showed up in the “cons” category for both candidates, not just once, but several times.

What I found most interesting is that “Crazy Joe Biden” didn’t seem so “crazy” anymore. There were several who suggested he ought to run. Now remember, my poll was far from scientific. BUT, I will say that as one who tends to be more conservative, Vice President Biden, with all his faults, is the most “level-headed” when compared with the two present presidential candidates.

Bottom line: What will truly be pretty amazing is when Americans choose to elect extraordinary men and women – statesmen – who advocate for America as a whole and not a political party.

— By Michael Schindler

Michael Schindler, Navy veteran, and president of Edmonds-based Operation Military Family, is a guest writer for several national publications, author of the book “Operation Military Family” and “The Military Wire” blog. He is also a popular keynote and workshop speaker who reaches thousands of service members and their families every year through workshops and seminars that include “How to Battle-Ready Your Relationship” or “What Your Mother-in-Law Didn’t Tell You.” He received the 2010 Outstanding Patriotic Service Award from the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs.

  1. Michael, your attempt to be objective (“fair and balanced”?) was not successful. Is the organization you represent a political advocacy group or is it non-partisan? What do you think your role should be, in an organization I presume is meant to serve all military families regardless of their political affiliation?

  2. what would a reasonable person expect when limiting themselves to the 2 biggest gorillas that receive major funding from the same sources AND cull the candidate list BEFORE the majority of people have a chance to vote?

    A quick search shows 4 “3rd party” candidates –
    plus numerous independent candidates!

    please run your survey again, with at least these 4 parties included!

    over the past several presidential elections, i have yet to find people willing to help put together a dialog for 3rd party candidates (there has been one person willing to help get it online!)

    if you’re not happy with the Republican and/or Democrat candidates – i ask your help – there’s still time using digital media!

  3. Michael, I think you did a nice job of following your father’s advice in being objective, rather than subjective. I also agree with your bottom line.

  4. @Bill – we serve veterans regardless of their political or religious beliefs; if one has served, we find a way to serve them if and when they request. Our mission is to serve. When it comes to this non-scientific poll, I just reported some of the responses. I’d love to hear why you think I failed on being objective – I certainly have my opinions and my wife gently reminds me that I need to lean on facts and not “beliefs.” Be sure to review my bottom line comment.

    @Victor – true. third party candidates are definitely an option. It is sad that they don’t get the same attention as the top two. We as a country are limiting our selection when we narrow our focus to just the dems/repubs.

    @Jeanne – thank you. I thought I did too. This assignment was very interesting and to read the responses was quite enlightening and funny.

    1. Michael, your selection of only negative comments for both major-party candidates is not being objective; denigrating both sides doesn’t make it objective. Your antipathy toward both Clinton and Trump shows through, though you devote more space to using “amazing” to poke at Clinton. Your editor recognized the perjorative way you were using amazing and modified the title for you. As for your bottom line, it assumes that neither of these candidates (and, by extension, political candidates in general) are in politics to further a party or personal agenda, and not because they want to make things better. This is not skeptism, it is cynicism, and – whether it’s accurate or not – it is not objectivity.

  5. Objectivity. Maybe not using the title “Veterans Weigh In on Hillary Clinton” would be a good start. Maybe “A Select Few Veterans Share Opinioins about Clinton with me” would have been a more objective title.

  6. The original title of the article was “why Veterans Think Hillary is Pretty Amazing.” The title was changed at the discretion of the editor. Regardless, the present title is not incorrect nor is it subjective. It neither suggests a positive or negative slant. It simply states. It does allow one to subject their own bias which I do think is clever.

    We choose to see the world through our own biases, don’t we?

  7. @Bill – true enough. I did only present the cons and not the pros on either candidate which does seem less than “objective.” Every major election tends to bring out strong feelings on both sides. And while all leaders are flawed, some are more flawed. And to suggest that bringing those flaws to the forefront is not being objective is, well, flawed.

    At the end of the day, it will be interesting to see which candidate prevails and how America responds. Like what happens after most elections, the fire in the belly amongst the common folks dies down, and we fall back in line.

    And Bill, you could be right. I just may be a bit cynical. Having spent a bit of time back in DC I’m familiar with the backroom deals – and all is not always as it seems. That being said, I am still very hopeful and appreciate those who choose to run – and long as they are honorable, a servant leader, and care more about the mission than themselves.

    1. Your article would have made a swell letter-to-the editor, but my objection is that you are writing as an agent of an organization which should – as you indicate it does – act without prejudice, yet you give your imprimatur to some clearly-biased political opinions. I ask you to consider whether this sort of political commentary is an appropriate topic for a spokesman for your organization and also whether it’s consistent with the image the organization wishes to project to potential clients and to the public.

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