By Rachel Engel, Guest Contributor
At NextGen MilSpouse, we are non-partisan. Our goal is for every American to exercise their right to vote. We do not, however, tolerate pandering and exploitation of our community for political gain.
Dear Ted Cruz,
As a military spouse of 10 years, one who has seen my husband deploy three times and miss the birth of his first born, I want to tell you that your actions this week, and the actions of your Super PAC, were particularly disgusting.
In an effort to back fellow candidate Donald Trump in a corner, your PACs got together and offered $1.5 million to veteran charities… but only if Trump agreed to a one-on-one debate with you, where, I assume, your plan was to push him further into a corner, letting you emerge as the top GOP candidate in this election.
And, I have to ask, Mr. Cruz, what happens to that donation if Mr. Trump refuses? You have a laugh and tell everyone, “I knew he wouldn’t dare debate me on his own,” and everyone goes home, forgetting about the money you were going to give to people who have been shot, shattered and shaken in foreign lands?
Do you know what you’ve done? You have played on the heartstrings of people who call themselves patriots. You have used the military, and the image of their suffering, as a political chess piece. You haven’t dangled just the idea of a monetary donation.
You’ve dangled money for prosthetic limbs.
You’ve dangled money for wheelchairs.
You’ve dangled money for mental health services.
You have treated these warriors as bait to further your own political path to the White House, where you would assume control of the military as Commander in Chief. After a display like that week, you do not deserve that honor.
This is not a game.
Across the country there are thousands of homeless veterans, veterans looking for work, veterans suffering with pain and PTSD. There are charities out there begging for donations so they can continue doing the good work of helping our heroes… and, there’s you, holding out money, not looking into the faces of those you would help, but into the one you want to hurt.
And, if you don’t get the answer you’re looking for, the money goes away, and you get to dust your hands off and say, “Hey, I would have loved to have donated money, but he said no! He’s clearly not a patriot.”
Neither are you, sir.
This is not a game. This has been 15 years of war, of multiple deployments, of double and triple amputees, of hundreds of thousands of TBIs, of diagnosed PTSD victims, of undiagnosed PTSD victims who couldn’t take it anymore.
And you dangle money to veterans’ charities like you’re teasing a puppy with a treat.
Not someone I really want to trust with the reins as Commander in Chief.
A Military Spouse
Rachel Engel is a freelance writer, blogger and content creator, specializing in military and military family issues, pregnancy and parenting, and relationships. You can follow her on Twitter @rachel_engel and her blog, rachelthejournalist.wordpress.com.