Friday, December 01, 2023

Our heroes deserve better

by Lola Zinke
| September 27, 2023 12:00 AM

As a Gold Star widow, Navy wife and mother, ship sponsor, and spouse of a lawmaker, I am disgusted by the actions of those who are willing to sacrifice our troops for their political gain.

Twice the past two weeks Republicans tried to pass the defense funding bill and twice Democrats aided by five self-serving individuals blocked it. If a defense funding bill is not passed by the House and Senate and signed by the president by midnight Friday our troops do not get paid! These obstructionists are breaking our sacred promise to our servicemembers and their families.

When an individual signs up for the military, they pledge to defend our country with their life. They enter a contract and sign with their blood oath. Our duty in return is to train, equip and pay them for their sacrifice.

The effects of voting against paying our troops are financially and morally devastating. Those who do so are essentially voting to defund the military, breaking that contract. Many junior enlisted servicemembers live under the poverty line making $11/hour for a 40-hour week. A missed paycheck has enormous impacts. Rent, utilities and car payments will be missed, credit will suffer, interest rates will go up, and they will worry about what their family will eat.

It is no mystery why military recruiting has gone down. A strong military is directly linked to its morale and the support it receives from their country. Why would anyone choose to die for an ungrateful nation?

A government shutdown looks imminent but a DOD shutdown doesn’t have to be. Our country is broken in so many ways, let’s not break the will of our troops. This is not in the best interest of our country or those who serve in the military.

The actions of a few harm the many. Our heroes deserve better.

Lola Zinke is the wife of U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Montana. They live in Whitefish.

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