I'm sure many of you will wish to rip on me after reading this dissertation. Go ahead. You can't degrade me anymore than my fellow Americans degraded me while in the service of my country.
I volunteered to serve my country at a time when much of this country despised, and held responsible the military, as much as the federal government, for the Vietnam conflict and our involvement in it.
All of we veterans of the Cold War/Vietnam era placed our lives in peril in Vietnam, Europe, South Korea and other parts of the world at the service of our country.
Many of our children are now following in our footsteps serving our nation in Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan and in many other parts of the world, just as I and my brothers and sisters in arms did in the '60s and '70s and the ensuing years up until today.
My son is serving in Iraq as I write this piece. I did my best to prepare him for what he would experience, but as any veteran of any action knows, nothing can totally prepare you for what you experience in a combat or high-risk military zone, particularly one like Iraq.
Tens of thousands of his comrades are there with him and even more serve in all the aforementioned international locations and others as well.
None of them get to participate in the primary or caucus process.
It's OK to send them to die for us, or be wounded and possibly maimed or incapacitated and paralyzed for life, but it's not OK to let them have a voice in determining who gets to run for president in the upcoming election.
There is no limit to the support financially and in the media for covering the day-to-day political happenings with candidates.
There is no time or money however, to provide our true patriots the opportunity to exercise the constitutional right to vote that they are fighting and dying for. By the way, it is their constitutional right as well.
There is time and millions of dollars available for commercials, debates, new suits and dress ensembles, airline tickets and staff salaries for the candidates and their particular parties; but there is no time or money to ensure our true patriots get to vote in this process.
I've kept my opinion on this to myself long enough and am compelled to speak my mind at this particular time to let all of you Democrats and Republicans, state and federal legislative bodies and governors know that you are nothing less than self and platform-serving cowards that are undermining the American political process by discriminating against those that serve to protect your cowardice as well as your right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
It is bad enough that those of you of eligible age haven't enlisted to serve.
It's also bad enough that both parties discriminate against non-partisan voters.
It is an absolute crime that you discriminate against those giving their lives to protect your ignorant arrogance.
It is also quite disturbing to me that veteran's organizations throughout this state and country are endorsing/supporting any political party or process that is discriminating against our brothers and sisters in arms, which happen to be our children in many cases. I've seen you at the funerals for our local young men that have died in Iraq. Motorcycles, jackets, caps, flags, uniforms and convoys to honor our dead comrades - no time or money from your organizations to help our living comrades participate in elections, however. Not even a voice in their corner that I've heard yet.
Freedom is obviously free for all you cowards that allow this process to perpetuate itself upon our nation. You won't serve your country, only your political beliefs and ambitions.
We are the "Land of the Free" because of the brave.
The brave are wearing combat gear and carrying 60-100 pounds of fighting equipment to serve your political agendas. They live for a week in a compound wondering when the next rocket attack or suicide bombing might occur. The next week they are on patrol wondering if their convoy will be next victim of an IED explosion or insurgent ambush.
As it stands now, the brave Americans make up only about 2 percent of America's voting population.
That 2 percent who are fighting and dying for your right to vote, even though you don't consider them worthy enough vote.
These are the "True Patriots" and real Americans.
With some obvious exceptions being cowards, I'm not quite sure what the rest of you are.
n Michael C. Ivie is a Gardnerville resident and a veteran of the U.S. Army.