By Lizann Lightfoot
In January, Donald J. Trump will become America’s Commander-in-Chief, leading America’s military forces around the world. Will the military accept their new president? Will the transfer of power go peacefully as usual?
In a word: yes. First, because it’s the law. In uniform or out, service members are required to obey the commander-in-chief and respect his orders, regardless of political views. Military leaders are tactful at keeping political views to themselves. Service members with long careers may serve under Presidents from both political parties, so they stay professional with any political leader. Even if military members didn’t vote for Trump, you can expect them to continue to work and train and fight, just as those who didn’t vote for Obama have done for the past eight years.
The military community is a unique voter base that includes men and women, many minorities and different religions, and a wide range of age groups (especially when retired veterans are included). Most officers are college educated, while the larger enlisted force typically has a high school education. Military spouses come from every race, religion, and educational background. It is a diverse group that defies a single label.
The majority of the military leans conservative or Republican. A NY Times exit poll showed that among voters with military service, 61 percent voted for Trump, while only 34 percent voted for Clinton. The rest of the nation may be shaking its head, but the majority of the military community will accept the new commander-in-chief. They might even appreciate the change.
Military support for Trump could be, in part, because of the way the military has been treated for the past eight years. Under Obama, military budgets were slashed by a law known as “sequestration” and some members were forced into early retirement. Military families held their collective breath every October to see if they would be paid during government shutdowns. In spite of the fact that President Obama declared the war over, ISIS spread and Americans continue to die in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The military community was looking for a change. Their votes had little to do with racism or sexism. Instead, they were seeking a leader who would value their service. In his acceptance speech last night, Trump emphasized his intention to “finally take care of our great veterans.”
This election year has been filled with fear, anger, and hatred. Both sides have pointed out the other candidate’s failings, prophesying gloom and doom for the future.
Take a deep breath, America, and a cue from the men and women in uniform. For 241 years, our military has followed the orders of their commander-in-chief. They will uphold that tradition for at least the next four years.
Lizann Lightfoot is the Seasoned Spouse, a military wife of 9 years who has been with her husband since before Boot Camp—15 years ago! Together they have been through 6 different deployments and 4 different duty stations (including 1 overseas in Spain). Lizann spends her days at home wrangling their 4 young children, cooking somewhat healthy meals, writing about military life, and wondering where the family will end up next. She is the author of the book ‘Welcome to Rota,’ and of the Seasoned Spouse blog. Follow her on Twitter. Find military encouragement on her Facebookpage. Find inspiration for care packages, deployments, and more on herPinterest page.