In her Nov. 17 column, Sarah Smiley laments that the responses she received to her earlier column, “Elections distressing to military families,” are “the price of being a conservative.” Actually, they are the price of being a neoconservative.
Smiley’s earlier column could never have been written by conservative stalwarts like Dwight Eisenhower, Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan or William F Buckley Jr. Their perspective was not about who is “one of us” and who isn’t; it was about what best serves the republic and everyone living in it.
Consider that offspring of all four of those true conservatives publicly endorsed Barack Obama; apparently, he is sufficiently one of us for them.
On the other hand, Smiley’s column could easily have been written by Sarah Palin, with her focus on who is the “real, hardworking, patriotic” America (that is, “one of us”), and who isn’t (everyone else).
I fully understand Smiley’s affection for and allegiance to military service. I have served this country in and out of uniform. I know what it means to serve. But I remind Smiley that there is more to being an American, there is more to serving America, and there is certainly more to being America’s president than wearing its uniform, and, as I am sure Smiley realizes, no American knows that better or understands it more clearly than those who serve in uniform.