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Arizona vets won’t let guard down

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 Arizona’s Veterans stand ready to defend democracy from all foreign and domestic threats. For generations, veterans took for granted that elections at home, while often contentious, wouldn’t resemble the turmoil witnessed abroad. Today, we are grateful that millions of Americans were able to peacefully participate in democracy. On this Veteran’s Day, we’re taking stock of our democracy after a heated and contentious election. While the early results seem to have quieted some of the most dangerous threats to democracy at home, Arizona’s veterans will not let their guard down. Veterans were trained to never surrender. We still remember that core tenet of our identity, nor have we forgotten our oath to defend the U.S. Constitution against all foreign and domestic enemies. We stand with our fellow elected veterans like Sen. Mark Kelly and Rep. Ruben Gallego as we await the results in many races across Arizona and the country to defend our democratic way of life. That means that we make sure to count every vote. That means we accept the outcomes and a peaceful transition of power, even in races where we wish a different candidate won. We know Gallego and Kelly stand on the front lines of defending democracy at home and have not forgotten their oaths or the Armed Forces Code of Conduct. In addition to working on behalf of every Arizonan, Kelly and Gallego represent the fighting spirit of Arizona’s veteran community. To the opponents of democracy here at home: Every time you try to disenfranchise a voter, we will work harder at grassroots organizing and voter turnout drives. When you work to spread disinformation about voting and elections, we will counter your disinformation with facts. As veterans of the armed forces, we have something that politicians don’t have: the trust of the People. Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they have a great deal of trust in the military and veterans, while only 7% say the same of politicians. Veterans know that democracy means something deeper than winning or losing an election. This is something we witnessed in foreign lands, on the faces of people with ink on their thumbs who had just voted for the first time. Our experiences carry more weight than the disinformation, hate and threats of political violence poisoning our civil discourse in America. When we engage with people in our community, they listen to us. They know we will never give up on democracy. As veterans of foreign wars who served to protect freedom at home, we know that free and fair elections are something to be protected and celebrated. For everyone who organized, went door to door, phonebanked, donated, and voted, whether you voted as we did, thank you for your participation in our great Republic and for allowing us to hear your hopes and fears in a peaceful manner.

Aaron Marquez – Executive Director, VetsForward U.S. Army

Signa Oliver U.S. Army

Tim Stringham U.S. Navy

Joanna Mendoza U.S. Marine Corps

Brett Hunt U.S. Army

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