Donald Trump likes to claim that he would be “great for the veterans,” but veterans like me know better. I served in Iraq as an Army Combat Medic and saw first hand the stakes of the decisions that will be made by our next Commander-in-Chief. Veterans like me, who swore to uphold the values our country stands for, know that Trump is the kind of person you can’t trust to have your back, or do the right thing for the team. That’s why I joined the grassroots movement of veterans called Common Defense to stand up and speak out.
In the military, we called people like Donald “Blue Falcons.” You can google what that stands for, but it’s a name we use for someone who only looks out for themselves.
Blue Falcons cost lives. Trump’s shown us over and over again that that’s exactly who he is. Someone whose only interests revolve around himself, not families, not women, not people of color, not working class people, not active duty military, not veterans, not what is best for America.
The military is one of the most diverse groups in the United States of America, drawing people from all walks of life, from every race, background, religion, and gender, united by a calling to serve their community and protect their fellow Americans. We don’t swear allegiance to a strong-man leader, we swear to defend the United States Constitution which guarantees equality for all, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and all the other values that Trump so clearly doesn’t understand, and doesn’t respect. These are the values that make us American, not the fear and hatred that Trump stands for. A hatred that looks to divide instead of bring together. A hate that costs not only lives in foreign countries but also here in the streets of America.
That’s why I knew I had to stand up with other veterans to call out Donald Trump and tell voters to listen to vets. Veterans know first hand what it is to leave your family behind, to place country over self. They know that collaborative, respectful and inclusive leadership makes a team and a nation strong. Listen to our stories and help us get the word out that the women who served in uniform will not be used as political props to advance a message of hate. That is not the America we enlisted for, the America we fought for or the America we continue to serve.
Together with a diverse group of veterans and supporters around the country, we founded a grassroots movement called Common Defense, named after the words in the preamble of the Constitution, and symbolizing our stand against racism, divisiveness, hate, and fear embodied by Trump and those like him that his campaign has empowered. We’ve held events around the country in swing states and in our nation’s capitol, speaking out to fellow voters about what our service really stands for and what we need to do to come together to make our country truly great. We’ve made a difference, but our fight won’t end after election day, and we see it as our responsibility to continue to speak up and accomplish real change by healing the wounds dividing our country.
We need your help sharing our message, and getting our video about how Trump is a “Blue Falcon” out there to voters who are still considering voting for Trump. And we need you to join our growing movement and support the veterans of Common Defense. The stakes couldn’t be higher.
Wendy Barranco deployed to Tikrit, Iraq in 2005 and resides in Los Angeles, California. She is currently a graduate student of urban sustainability.