by Timothy Farrell
Given that our Mayor Julián Castro is the Democratic mayor of Military City USA and is keynoting at the Democratic National Convention, I believe this man and this moment are ready to make clear that the Republican Party is not the only party of “Patriots.”
Democrats, Independents and Republicans alike can not only claim this, but should rally together around it. I say this as a 23+ year retired Air Force senior officer who served and led apolitically while on active duty, keeping my politics in the voting booth or absentee ballot envelope, and faithfully exemplifying my Oath of Office.
Since retiring this Fall after my final year in combat and in command in Iraq, I now proudly identify myself as a San Antonio business leader, energy security/independence/sustainability advocate, Democrat AND Patriot. There are many other Patriot Democrats, and one need not be a Veteran to identify oneself as such.
Last I looked, neither headliner on the Republican ticket served in the military. Julian Castro is one such Patriot Democrat, and he is indicative of many others in public and private life, including our President. Regrettably, many on the right who identify, post on social media, or simply exhort, as “Patriots,” appear to do so rhetorically and are more akin to a bumper sticker sloganeering in order to differentiate themselves from equally patriotic Americans in the center and left who simply have different policy and interpretive perspectives on our government (including the Constitution, to which I took my Oath for so long–it, too, merits interpretation frequently).
Even our esteemed Supreme Court can’t always agree on the explicit and implicit meanings of the Constitution. This kind of bumper sticker patriotism needlessly divides us, and Mayor Castro is uniquely poised to help the President reunite the country under this ideal.
Democrats can be and are pro-Defense. They often are also pro-troops, depending on who’s more concerned with frequently inefficient/ineffective defense industry business, as opposed to our forces’ and our Veterans’ pay, benefits and medical care.
Whether or not you have served–and remember, only roughly 1% ever serve, and that’s OK…we’re not in a draft–and just like the Democrats, most of our Republicans in Congress and their nominee haven’t served either), you can be a proud Patriot if you’re a Democrat.
The Mayor can help the President frame that narrative to kickstart the convention and the post-convention general election season. Arguably, other than our Wounded Warrior Democratic Veterans in current and past Congresses like Senators Inouye, Kerrey, Cleland and Kerry (the two latter of whom’s patriotism were unconscionably skewered under the right’s definition of “Patriot”), the Mayor of Military City USA is one of those most poised and credible in speaking about Democrats reclaiming “Patriotism” for all Americans. Mr. Mayor, please consider taking this topic to the podium in Charlotte.
Tim Farrell retired from the U.S. Air Force in September 2011 after more than 23 years of service. He rose to the rank of Colonel and commanded four organizations, including the Air Force Security Forces Academy at Lackland and the 332nd Expeditionary Security Forces Group at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. He is a Veteran of Operations DESERT SHIELD, DESERT STORM, IRAQI FREEDOM and NEW DAWN; and is currently the Chief Operating Officer of the San Antonio Children’s Museum, and a Planning Committee Member of the San Antonio Clean Technology Forum and Mission Verde Alliance.