He deserved better

Gessen-AlexanderVindman

Today I witnessed a retirement send-off for several people who gave decades of their life to an organization. At this stage of the 21st century, anyone who has worked for the same outfit since back in the 20th century either loves what they do, or has just been mailing it in to collect a paycheck for much too long. And the difference between these two types of people is pretty easy to see.

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman has been serving this nation in uniform since the late 20th century. He wasn’t born in this country, but having come here from someplace else he has an appreciation for what America truly is. Since I was born in this country, I’ll never get to see it through an immigrant’s eyes. But I can imagine it’s a pretty special perspective to have.

And Donald Trump, who hasn’t ever viewed the office that he holds—or the country he’s lived in all his life—through anything other than a lens of personal enrichment, has now stomped out the Lt. Colonel’s long and distinguished military career. He retaliated against Vindman for following his conscience and testifying at the impeachment trial earlier this year. Whether Trump violated any laws through this treatment of Vindman remains to be seen, but the path forward for the Lt. Colonel in the military ended by his requesting a retirement today.

Retiring when you’re ready to leave seems like a blessing to me, from the reception that I attended today. There were smiles and cake and remembrances of a worthwhile career. And the people who were being honored walked out the door feeling valued and appreciated for the work that they’ve done. And while Lt. Colonel Vindman may be “retiring” in a technical sense, he won’t be geting any of that, although he certainly deserves to. He’s effectively resigning from the only professional career he’s ever known.

He’ll get hired in the private sector, to give two-minute soundbites for one cable channel or another. Or maybe he’ll hit the speaking circuit, making better money than he ever received from Uncle Sam. And let’s not forget his book deal, which will surely fetch seven digits or more. So financially he’s going to do fine. But the military is what he knows, and where I’m sure he still wants to be.

The best way—maybe the only way—to have Vindman’s back in all of this is to retire Donald Trump in November. We get to decide that, after all. Donald Trump deserves no cake, no send-off, and no words of appreciation from this nation that he’s been lying to and abusing these past three and a half years.

Sending Trump back into the private sector is all that we can do to show our gratitude to Lt. Colonel Vindman.

So let’s do it.

 

 

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