Country Above Party: What We Can Learn from Our Veterans

by Jessie Gorovitz

Country above party. One of the core components of Ken Harbaugh’s campaign for Congress comes from his time as a pilot in the Navy. When you’re on a mission and something goes wrong, you don’t turn to the person next to you and ask what party they affiliate with before you try to solve the problem. You put the country above your party affiliation.

The military is apolitical, but politicians on both sides spend a great deal of time and energy courting veterans’ and active duty members’ votes. Much of the campaign rhetoric directed at members of the military revolves around VA reform. Ken get’s his health care from the VA, and while he is appreciative of how hard the staff work to take care of him, he believes that there is much more work to be done. Most would agree. There are some veterans need care that isn’t covered by VA health insurance plans, and they can’t always afford to pay out of pocket. 

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Despite continued promises of reform and aid, politicians consistently overlook the needs of veterans and active duty members, both within the VA system and without. For example, family members who serve as caretakers for veterans have insufficient support from the government. They often aren’t compensated sufficiently for the time they spend taking care of their loved ones, or provided with any support for time off. Being a caretaker is, much of the time, more than a full time job, with family members working around the clock to care for the needs of our veterans.


These are problems that many folks will overlook simply because their lives have never been affected by long wait times, or in sufficient health care coverage at the VA. In Ohio, serving in our nation’s armed forces is much more common than it is in other parts of the country, so we deserve an advocate who really understands and genuinely cares about these issues. Our veterans deserve more than lip service. They deserve action. They deserve someone who will stand in their corner and fight for them, and for all Ohioans. Someone who will always put the good of the country first.

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Jessie is a junior at Kenyon College majoring in economics.

This weekend when I was talking to folks in my community in Mt. Vernon, I met a lot of people who thought it was important to put the good of your country above your party affiliation. Regardless of their personal beliefs, folks wanted people in Congress, and in all levels of government, to get along and get things done. They were frustrated by the lack of attentiveness of their representatives, who have made a lot of unkept promises. The lessons of bipartisanship, country above party, service above self, that veterans and active duty members have learned are invaluable. Candidates like Ken are uniquely positioned to do what all elected officials should be doing. By listening to their constituents and genuinely trying to make their lives better, they can create opportunity for all.

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