Wednesday, September 26, 2012

That time we went to a Republican awards ceremony.

Let me first explain how the events office works here: There are fliers with some info on an event, such as what it is, where it is, time, place, and who is hosting. So when I saw a sheet for Center for Security Policy's "Keeper of the Flame" award, I thought about the Ordnance spouse award I received last month when Aaron was awarded the Samuel Sharpe down at Fort Lee. I figured it was at the Center for Security Policy because there wasn't any other information provided. We have been to several formal events through the events office and all of them were military-affiliated, whether it was The Military Order of the Caribou Annual Wash or AmVets Silver Helmet Awards. We haven't experienced any politicking up here, and it never crossed my mind that we would at any point.

But oh, what say you? It's election year? Yeah. Hindsight. In my defense, it's not really my job to research these things because why would I think we would be headed into the land of partisan politics? What would need to be researched? Also, the event was held last year and was apparently a huge success.

This was not last year's event.

I should have suspected something wonky when the hospital liaison told us there weren't to be any pictures. See, the soliders attend these events in their uniforms. Most don't have formal enough suits and plus, they're still active duty. They can wear that uniform as any soldier can. Then these two older ladies were openly gushing about President Reagan and their concern for this election (one of them alluded that an Obama win wouldn't be consider an election, so I am not sure what she really knows). Usually people don't speak so openly on their personal, very divided politics. It was weird but they were nice enough.

But then we sat down and looked at our programs and saw that New York's Peter King was the recipient of the award.  Other speakers included Jeff SessionsJon KylGus Bilirakis, and well just click here for a summary of the event and who said what, as the CSP site.

Obama bashing? Check. People not knowing wounded warriors were going to be sitting with them? Check. Usually the table is expecting us and knows we are coming from Walter Reed and are recovering, etc. Every single person we talked to asked where we were stationed. It was embarrassing. A home state senator (Sessions) not knowing that 4th Alabama NG was deployed to Afghanistan right now (that includes Aaron's brother)? Check. Same guy not knowing who we were? Check. Multiple people had no idea what Walter Reed-Bethesda even looked like, where we lived, or how things worked here. Not even a rudimentary knowledge on it. It felt like we were in a foreign land and they had never heard of us. People were nice, yes. We had a decent conversation with Sessions outside of his clear lapses of personal knowledge on the defenders of his own state. But that event wasn't even remotely bi-partisan, no matter what the CSP site says. There was not painting that horse a different color. Or elephant, rather.

Look, these guys wore their uniforms to this event uninformed that it was going to be really, really Republican, full of criticisms of the current president. Wounded warriors are still active duty. There are strict rules on wearing the uniform and showing any type of party line isn't allowed. I don't blame the events office, nor do I think CSP was intentionally deceitful. I bet they are the type of people to just assume all service members are Republicans, though.

Oh and even better- this was the same day that the vet job bill was voted down by Republicans, even ones who helped author it. Sessions was one of those who voted it down (I don't know if he co-authored, but I don't think so).

Basically, I quit listening about twenty minutes in and drank a bottle of wine. Aaron laughed at me and it was a wonder my eyeballs didn't get stuck in the back of my head. The only person I gave a standing applause for was the sister of a pilot on AA 77, which crashed into the Pentagon. I didn't agree with what she said, but I respect her pain and journey enough to realize that she probably has her reasons for her beliefs and I will not judge another person who has been through real grief. I would've hugged her if I had had the chance.

I am not really sure why tickets were offered to the hospital. It wasn't appropriate but hey, what can you do? Dinner was good. The event was actually held at Union Station, which was beautiful. I definitely would not have gone had I known what it was really about, but that's my mistake. I will be doing my own research from now on. To say the least, I did not watch the "documentary" that was in the gift bag nor did I eat the chocolates. I don't want to catch their... malaise. ;)

So there you go folks. DC is full of people and things who say one thing but are in fact saying another and claim to be something else totally different. WHO KNEW?!


  1. WOW! I keep forgetting how tiny you are. It would have taken me at least a bottle and a half of wine to make it through that without smacking (verbally or otherwise) the good senator. Good on you though.

    At least the food was good. Did they serve cake? I want so very desperately to make a Marie Antoinette joke here.

  2. That sounds terrible. And I feel you, I was with my in-laws and another fellow Marine's family when they were complaining about politics, which included calling the President some racial slurs AND getting chuckles from each other! Mind you, this was behind closed doors in a family home and no one was in uniform, but still. They assumed that everyone in the room was in agreement with them. They also talked about how the Affordable Care Act was an infringement on their individual rights. When asked why and what they understand about the health care system, the best response they had was, "Well, it's just wrong!" As someone who's very much involved in public health and an adamant Obama supporter AND a person of color who's had racial epithets used against me, I was pretty livid. How can they assume that everyone in that room would nod in agreement with them?! (Sorry, rant-share over.)

    And I'm glad your eyeballs didn't get stuck in the back of your head :) (Such a great line! Made me chuckle.)

  3. Ohhh yikes. I couldn't handle that very gracefully.

  4. Hi I'm a new blog follower and a wounded warrior wife.