Today marked the first meeting of the Union Veteran’s Council in Wisconsin. It coincided with other such meetings in at least four other states across the country. Also coinciding with the event was an ad that will be run in areas of the country including Wisconsin. The focus of the ad and the meetings are how the attendees may respect Senator John McCain’s military service, these veterans do not agree with his policies.
At the Milwaukee meeting union workers that have served in combat in every war from World War II to the war in Iraq gathered to talk about the most important issues of the day. From the outset the message was made clear that this group is long term and will not go away after November. Much of the discussion focused on how the Bush Administration has been terrible for not only working people but also for veterans. Many people around the table talked about how Senator John McCain has been a rubber stamp for Bush in the U.S. Senate and how his policies could end up being even worse.
One point that was repeatedly made was that serving in a war did not automatically qualify someone to be president. One veteran joked that he has served with many people that he would not want to see become president.
Many of the veterans openly and repeatedly expressed how John McCain’s policies and record in the Senate are bad for working people. Some talked about how McCain favors ‘free trade’ but not fair trade. That approach has already lead to countless jobs getting shipped overseas. One man said that McCain’s policies focus only on the well being of the corporations and that working people end up paying for such things as his massive proposed tax giveaways to big corporations. He also bluntly commented that McCain votes for the kinds of things that let them steal from the rest of us. A World War II veteran commented that in the last seven years John McCain has not voted once to support vets needs once they get back home. One attendee commented on how he did not have much patience for single issue voters. He said, ‘forget about your damn gun, they are going to take your job!’
As the meeting began to wind down, the veterans began to plan outreach to other union workers that were also veterans. Everyone agreed to try and bring at least one more person with them to the next meeting of the Union Veterans Council.