Increasing numbers of military veterans are running for office, determined to continue serving their country after completing their military service -- often after returning from tours in Iraq or Afghanistan where combat is a little different than it is on Capitol Hill.
In this article, CNN senior political analyst David Gergen writes, "At most recent count, according to the organization With Honor (for which I am an adviser), some 200 post-9/11 veterans are running for Congress alone. These next-generation veterans, too, could begin to transform our politics."
Regardless of their party, this has got to be a positive development for our country. These men and women with military training, many of whom have gone through experiences that most of us can hardly imagine, will surely bring a sober sense of reality to their work and commitment to their country -- not just to their own political careers.
Gergen makes this comment in his article:
"In the early 1970s, as a young Naval officer transferred to Washington, I saw how meaningful military service could be to our political culture. Over 70% of congressional members were veterans. They were called "The World War II Generation" — young men and women who came of age during the war and saw politics as a way to continue their service to country.
"Many of them were strong Republicans. Many were strong Democrats. But all of them, first and foremost, were strong Americans. They had fought under the same flag overseas; now they served under the same flag at home.
"That's why Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, as far apart as two men could be on the ideological spectrum, still respected each other for service to and love of country. That's why Mike Mansfield, a towering leader in the Senate, asked to be buried at Arlington among the enlisted men who had fallen. Patriots — all of them, ready to fight over the issues but ultimately, for the country's sake, to come together to get things done."
Today the vast schism between lawmakers on each side of the political spectrum makes it virtually impossible for meaningful compromise to be reached. Politicians in both parties seem to spend more time posturing and practicing their one-liners for cable television or their Twitter feeds than they do seeking realistic and meaningful solutions to the serious problems that affect us all.
Hopefully, this new crop of vets who will be serving in public office will help us return to a sense of reason and responsibility in Congress and state legislatures and city halls across the nation. Hopefully, they will remember why they are elected -- to serve their communities, their districts and our country rather than themselves.