Veterans all have one thing in common. We all share the experience of entry training into military service. All can tell tales of personal doubt, hardships, and humor, and, eventually, graduation. The common outcome was a new perspective on yourself, your teammates, and your Service. This training is intended to remove you from victim status and convince you that personal responsibility, discipline, and teamwork are essential in accomplishing the Mission – a word you likely heard daily and understood much better upon graduation.
And ask yourself why and how you react to the events around us today? The “Secure” border. The “Successful” evacuation of Afghanistan. The “AWOL” leaders. The “Blame” game. No “Bail” and No “Consequences.” Covid “Truths.” Etc. Our reactions are predictable and likely similar. The apparent lack of honesty, accountability, competence, and personal responsibility stand out. Such conclusions and common reactions come from very early training and daily reinforcement in Service and our own lived lives. While it’s true that Veterans are not all the same, I believe it’s equally true they all recognize BS when they see it.
I recount this journey we’ve all taken, to reach the successful conclusion we all achieved, to make a point. We can and have overcome challenges, we’ve served, and we’ve prevailed. We’ve rejected the role of VICTIM, very early on. In hard times it may be easiest to shrink from challenge, leave change to others, and doubt our own ability to succeed; “It just doesn’t matter.” But we’ve learned to act to change our circumstances as an individual, a teammate, or a leader in Service to our country, in defense of our Constitution, to benefit our fellow citizens, to get the mission accomplished.
American Veterans Vote believes that mission continues. And that mission takes us into new spaces – political spaces – where our continued service matters. In most cases, such service involves voting, volunteering, or leading. The very good news is Veterans do vote at a higher percentage than our fellow citizens. But we can always do better. And there isn’t a community event you might attend where you can’t find Veterans as volunteers quietly getting the work done. Such work is typically uniting, building, teaching, or improving community life. That same quiet, steady pace of work empowers political change. The greatest contribution Veterans can so often make is time, expertise, and perspective. We’re past recognition or awards. We work for our families, our towns, and our team. To step forward and lead is the optimum contribution but consider coaching and mentoring equally important.
AVV exists to empower a Veteran team of teams to exercise their collective power in support of political change that supports Veterans, Service members and their families, the defense of our Constitution, and the security of our Nation at home and abroad. Thankfully, a solid group of Veterans in AVV never leave the playing field in Virginia. Our focus on empowering these teams never flags. The essence of success in politics centers on good candidates, the right issues, strong campaigns, and solid finances. We’ve developed the tools, networks, and practices (TTP’s!) over three years to enable our Veteran team of teams to help achieve victory in the close races that dominate today’s Virginia elections.
We now need players on the field, building their team strengths, focusing on a game plan for victory at the ballot box. A new Website (Check it out!) enables planning and communications. Great regional team leaders have lists in hand of nearby members. We can now text important messages, distribute data that targets our actions, and invite support behind key actions in this coming election cycle. And we can inform the debate with accurate voter information!
We are nowhere near 24/7 activity. That may come much later. Now, it’s teambuilding, slow and steady.
Every Veteran, Every Vote. Calm, competent, up to the task. No Victims.
LTG (R), US Army
CEO, American Veterans Vote