Opinion: When the Price Is Too High to Be an American

If I had been in that briefing room when White House Chief of Staff and retired Gen. John Kelly stated that only journalists who had a personal connection to a fallen soldier were allowed to ask a question, I could have raised my hand. But that would have cheapened the memory of a Marine, my beloved nephew, treating his life and death as currency in an unholy transaction.

I get what Kelly was trying to pointedly point out — the disconnect between the folks in the room who may have been untouched by the costs of military service and the families who live with them every day. In truth, though, that gulf could have extended to the street and into most American homes — including the White House, whose occupant has the actual power to send men and women into war.

But to have used that ticket I wish I did not possess for advantage would have betrayed the values of the America my nephew served. That America is one where a journalist or any citizen is certainly allowed, even encouraged, to question a government official who is beholden to the U.S. Constitution — not the man sitting in the Oval Office.

Opinion: Trump’s Ratings Hold Steady, but Is He Losing Key Groups He Needs to Stay on Top?

“You’re fired!” was the reality show refrain of the now president of the United States, Donald Trump. So when, on the campaign trail, candidate Trump said, “I alone can fix it,” with “it” meaning whatever was ailing the country and each one of its citizens, it was easy to for someone looking for answers to transfer his my-way-or-the-highway TV decisiveness to Oval Office success.

Could “The Apprentice” boss have bought into his own hype on the way to the White House, forgetting the behind-the-scenes writers and producers, and the reality of life after the director yells, “Cut”?

VA problems a political issue in military-rich North Carolina

Very few issues can bring contentious Democrats and Republicans in the North Carolina general assembly together. But this week, marking national military appreciation month, a joint resolution expressing gratitude and appreciation for “the men and women of the United States armed forces” won unanimous support.

Those men and women and their families are important constituents and the military ranks as a major economic driver in a state with, as the resolution mentioned, six major military bases, nearly 800,000 veterans, and the third largest military force in the country, with close to 120,000 active duty personnel and another 12,000 members of the North Carolina National Guard.

So the current investigation of allegations of slow wait times and false record-keeping at the VA that is being closely watched all over is of special interest in North Carolina. In the midst of a tight U.S. Senate race, it’s inevitable politics as well as concern would be part of the reaction.