Local Politics

Vets expect much of next commander-in-chief

Posted October 24
Updated October 25

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— Fayetteville is home to the North Carolina State Veterans Park, home to Fort Bragg, home to the 82nd Airborne Division. When it comes to the coming election, the issues important to this community are providing for the common defense and taking care of those who do the defending.

Inside Mary Bill's Cafe, veteran regulars gather to talk about the world's hot spots. Speaking of hot spots invariably includes talk about the hot-tempered presidential campaign. For Glen Borg, an 80-year-old who served in Vietnam as a platoon leader, the race has been eye-opening.

"The thing about Donald Trump is he's exposed a lot of things that are wrong with what we do and our politicians and stuff," Borg said.

On the other hand is Hillary Clinton.

She served as secretary of state, but after the whole email scandal and Benghazi, Borg says she cannot be trusted as commander-in-chief.

Army veteran Mike Gillis agrees.

"I think that he can be an honest broker," Gillis says of Trump.

He admits that the billionaire Republican be can be "spontaneous," but he doesn't worry that an off-the-cuff remark could get Trump in hot water.

Gillis says Trump has just the grit for a dangerous world.

"I think the rest of him can be controlled. We have too many smart people in the way," Gillis says.

Jose Rivera, with 20 years in the Army, says Trump would simply be dangerous.

"He's not experienced whatsoever in the military. He was never in the military. He knows more than the generals?" Rivera worries.

Veterans who have sacrificed both mentally and physically gather at Mary Bill's to talk about what's next for them and the commander-in-chief.

Cleo Ellis seeks medical care from the Department of Veterans Affairs, which came under fire in recent years for long wait times for appointments.

"We go out and serve our country, and we always end up being put last in certain things," he says.

Ellis says wait times have vastly improved, and he thinks Clinton has more compassion toward veterans than her opponent.

"You know, if it wasn't for us, y'all wouldn't have y'all's freedom," he says, "because we had to go out there and put our lives on the line every day."

In a North Carolina community that has endured the grind of relentless deployments in the war on terror, the choice of a commander-in-chief hits home.

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  • Lance Boyle Oct 25, 10:05 a.m.
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    Yes, please rely on the draft dodger to help you sir. He has conned you, he cares nothing for anyone else.