How More Military Veterans in Washington Could Help Make Politics Less Warlike

Dan Crenshaw and Pete Davidson on Saturday Night Live.

At least 16 new members of Congress elected on Tuesday are military veterans. That is out of 150 veterans who ran as candidates. Now, that didn’t used to be so notable. Thirty years ago, half of all members of Congress were military veterans. That number has shrunk, and some observers link that decline to a decline in civil discourse and bipartisan compromise.

—Mary Louise Kelly, NPR’s All Things Considered, November 9, 2018

Why would more military veterans in politics help restore civility and compromise in Washington? Dan Crenshaw, the newly elected member of Congress from Texas made famous by Saturday Night Live, was a military hero in combat. How would his battlefield heroism in Iraq translate to being a positive force in Washington politics?

It’s not just what happens in battle, it’s what you learn starting with your first day of basic training: There are a lot of different kinds of Americans and you begin to understand  that’s okay. The people serving with you may talk differently than you’re used to, they may like different music, their politics may be different, but we’re all in this together as we learn how to survive an obstacle course or shoot a .45 or jump out of an airplane.

We’ll have each other’s backs and defend the country together.

If Dan Crenshaw can help SNL’s Pete Davidson understand that we don’t always have to ridicule and attack each other, maybe the new military veterans in Congress can help both parties work more positively together and do what’s best for the country.

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