NEWS AND OPINION:
Amid unprecedented political discord, the nation will step up in pride and appreciation on Wednesday to honor 17.4 million U.S. military veterans on Veterans Day.
Yes, there are still polished, rousing parades and salutes — many now virtual versions which bypass the coronavirus threat and make inventive use of technology. Good will and patriotism is still intact, however — and it’s a national thing, without controversy and caterwaul. Even the news media can’t sully this solemn, but heartfelt and uplifting, tradition.
Hundreds of local organizations will salute vets, hometown heroes, POWs, MIAs, active duty folk and Gold Star families in simple events which observe social distancing and emphasize the common bonds of military service. Dozens of major restaurant chains and retailers will honor vets with classy, free fare. The U.S. Small Business Administration salutes the “resilience, poise and adaptability” of veteran-owned businesses which contribute over $1 trillion to the nation’s economy each year.
And about those events: The U.S. Navy’s Leap Frogs will make a precision parachute jump onto the flight deck of the USS Midway Museum in San Diego on Wednesday. This team is part of the U.S. Naval Special Warfare Command; members are active-duty Navy SEALs, Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen, and this year — a single Navy veteran and former SEAL also will make the jump.
For the 67th year in a row, there will be a Veterans Day Observance, which will be livestreamed from Arlington National Cemetery. The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, salutes all branches of our military, with Republican Reps. Dan Crenshaw and Mike Garcia — both veterans — are the keynote speakers. This is just a tiny sampling of what’s out there.
“We pledge our gratitude to every man and woman currently serving this Nation in uniform, to all our veterans who helped preserve and defend our precious freedom, and to every family member who shares in the service and sacrifice of military life,” said President Trump in a proclamation formally dedicating the month of November to vets and military families.
Vets themselves have a word or two to say as well.
“The number of soldiers who leave American soil and never return is not lost on me. I had just won the best lottery in the world: I came home to America,” wrote Nathan O’Day, in an essay for The Epoch Times on his journey home after serving in Kuwait that simply describes himself as “a freedom-loving veteran who enjoys and appreciates everything this amazing country has to offer.”
See noteworthy statistics about veterans at column’s end.
THE WOES OF NANCY
A challenge lingers on the horizon for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as she too faces an upcoming election — her own.
“Nancy Pelosi refuses to denounce socialism as she seeks another term as speaker. The leftwing ideology has become a growing wedge issue within the Democratic Party,” writes Fox News analyst Joseph A. Wulfsohn — who wonders whether the speaker would allow self-described socialists to hold leadership positions in the House.
“The subject of socialism is apparently becoming a growing concern among Democrats behind closed doors. A leaked recording from a Democratic caucus call showed Rep. Abigail Spanberger, Virginia Democrat, suggesting that socialism, in addition to ‘defund the police’ rhetoric, were to blame for several congressional defeats,” Mr. Wulfsohn notes.
He also cites self-described socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.
“The whole ‘progressivism is bad’ argument just doesn’t have any compelling evidence that I’ve seen,” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez recently tweeted.
“Progressives have assets to offer the party that the party has not yet fully leaned into,” she later told CNN. “Every single swing seat member that co-sponsored Medicare for All won their reelection, and so the conversation is a little bit deeper than saying anything progressive is toxic.”
So buckle up, folks.
NOT QUITE SO SHY
Here’s a small revelation to track as the election drags on.
“The biggest surprise for the mainstream media and the conventional pollsters was that there were a significant number of ‘shy Trump voters.’ Who were these voters? One segment was non-white voters, especially Hispanics but also Blacks. Trump received the largest share of the non-white vote [among Republicans] in 60 years. Liberals are spinning furiously to explain this away,” writes Stephen Hayward, a contributor to Powerline.
“The other group of shy Trump voters appear to have been suburban college-educated women — the group the mainstream media claimed Trump had permanently alienated. Exit polls from both Public Opinion Strategies and the Edison Poll finds that Trump got half or more of this group. This shift helps explain why Republicans outperformed, especially in House races,” he advises.
THE LIBERTARIAN CONCLUSION
“If you want to know who really stole the 2020 presidential election, start with the Commission on Presidential Debates,” says Jo Jorgensen, the Libertarian Party’s nominee for president.
“Even though my name was on every voter’s ballot, in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, they excluded me from the debates. The commission, run by Democrats and Republicans, sets rules to serve themselves, not the voters,” she advises.
STATISTICS DU JOUR
• 17.4 million: The estimated number of military veterans in the U.S. in 2019. The population includes 15.8 million men and 1.6 million women.
• 6.2 million of the total are Vietnam-era veterans; 3.8 million served in the Gulf War from August 1990 to August 2001; 3.7 million served in the Gulf War from Sept. 2001 and later; 1.1 million served in the Korean War; 380,327 served in World War II.
• 13.2 million of the total are non-Hispanic White; 2.1 million are Black, 1.3 million are Hispanic; 313,348 are Asian; 142,972 are American Indian or Alaska Native; 35,431 are Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; 370,882 are “two or more races” and 236,595 are “some other race.”
• 4.2 million are age 75 years and over; 4.5 million of the total are 65 to 74 years; 3.1 million are 55 to 64; 4 million are 35 to 54; 1.5 million are 18 to 34.
Source: The U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey. Margin of error averages 0.1%
• Have a productive Veterans Day and thank you for reading Inside the Beltway.