My Turn: As a lifelong Republican, I trust Clinton to lead

  • Hillary Clinton speaks at the 107th National Association for the Advancement of Colored People annual convention at the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati on July 18. AP

For the Monitor
Published: 7/23/2016 12:20:03 AM

I am a lifelong Republican. I am a military veteran. Americans are now down to two primary selections for president.

The Republican Party has nominated Donald Trump; the Democratic Party will nominate former secretary of state and U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton. I ask fellow Republicans and independent voters to join me in voting for Secretary Clinton for president.

My decision to endorse Secretary Clinton over Donald Trump has developed from a variety of considerations over these past months.

I graduated from West Point and served as an Army Ranger and Green Beret officer. I felt a deep sense of gratitude each and every day I served my country.

In the military we developed teamwork; we did the difficult work called upon us to perform. We looked up to our senior leaders who demonstrated maturity, sound leadership principles and a strong moral backbone. They demonstrated the poise and demeanor one expects of those placed in positions of leadership.

In Mr. Trump I have observed a demeanor, poise and delivery better suited for reality TV than the reality of serving as president.

Like many veterans I was shocked by Mr. Trump’s disparagement of former POWs, such as Sen. John McCain, and his disregard for the danger of the missions they undertook that put them at risk of capture. It is more than shortsighted that Mr. Trump does not see Sen. McCain as the hero he proved to be.

Mr. Trump’s bluster on foreign policy issues is another area of concern.

U.S. foreign policy has been aimed at limiting the proliferation of nuclear weapons. His suggestion that more countries having nuclear weapons is both inevitable and desirable portends a wholesale revision of prior U.S. foreign policy, regardless of the party occupying the White House.

His position to ban all Muslims from the United States is shallow. Such a broad brush toward a single group harkens back to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, an embarrassing part of U.S. history.

Mr. Trump ignores the valuable contributions of Muslim Americans, including Cpl. Kareem Khan, a 20-year-old Muslim soldier who died during combat in Iraq. He ignores the fact that the history of these United States is built on those from all corners of the world who have immigrated to this country over the last 200 years.

During my military service I worked closely in foreign countries with many of our allied military forces, including British SAS, German Fallshirmjaegers, Danish Jaegers, Turkish Special Forces and Israeli paratroopers.

I observed firsthand just how crucial our relationships with our allies are in keeping our nation safe while promoting international relationships abroad.

It greatly concerns me when Mr. Trump predicts he will have less than good relations with the British prime minister and other world leaders.

Lastly, I evaluated Mr. Trump on the people he surrounds himself with now, as the people likely to have roles in government if he were elected president.

Neither Newt Gringrich nor Sarah Palin give me any confidence in the type of personnel Mr. Trump would call upon to provide him advice. Our next president needs to be someone who will rely on experienced leaders who will provide thoughtful, measured responses to the kinds of emergencies that can occur around the world on any given day.

When I listen to Secretary Clinton, it strikes me that she has the interest of the American people foremost among her priorities, including our military veterans.

She has proven experience in dealing with world issues and leaders. She has experience taking on the domestic economy and a vision for addressing the availability of affordable college education for more Americans.

Secretary Clinton impresses me as someone who understands what’s at stake for our country. She has gone toe-to-toe with Iran and Russia. She has the experience to continue to take on our enemies and lead our armed forces. She has the intellect and diplomatic skills necessary to work with our friends.

I am a lifelong Republican and proud military veteran. I am a parent and grandparent who cares about the future we deliver to our children.

When it comes to which candidate I trust to be commander-in-chief, when it comes to which candidate I trust to keep America on a course to remain the envy of the world, the choice is easy – I am voting for former secretary of state Hillary Clinton to be our next president.

(R. James Steiner of Concord is an attorney who practices law throughout New Hampshire. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and served as an Army Ranger and Green Beret officer with the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) on active duty in the United States Army.)

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