Fisher: Unfit to serve?

Let’s imagine for a moment that I wrote my Yale admissions essay on the topic of “a defining life experience” — but claimed untruthfully that I, at enormous personal risk, had leapt into a road packed with traffic to rescue a small child from a fast-moving car.

There’s no doubt that such an essay would have been extraordinarily compelling, but the thought of writing it never crossed my mind. It would have been an act entirely devoid of integrity, and had it been discovered, my application would immediately have been sent to the “reject” pile. If a current Yale student was uncovered acting in a similar way, chances are they’d be on the first train home, and rightly so.

Now let’s imagine a candidate for Senate who referred, on numerous occasions, to his military service in Vietnam. In one speech, this candidate even claimed, in front of Marines, that he “wore the uniform” there. Such words would no doubt help win voters over to a man of evident valour and experience. But this candidate wasn’t being honest; he had never served. Every time he claimed that he had served in Vietnam, he was insulting the bravery of those who genuinely had, simply for the sake of political gain.

Such a candidate, we would all surely agree, represents much of what is wrong with politics nowadays. It is hard to suggest that somebody willing to distort and manipulate the facts could ever represent the electorate of a state in good faith. How could his constituents ever fully trust him?

This candidate isn’t hypothetical. He exists, he’s standing for Senate in Connecticut, and his name is Richard Blumenthal.

The facts concerning Mr. Blumenthal’s military service speak for themselves. He never set foot in Vietnam. According to the New York Times, he obtained at least five military deferments to avoid having to do so. There is no shame in that. What is shameful is that someone who did not serve has attempted to claim that he did. It distorts the genuine honor of those who risked everything for the sake of their nation.

There will be those who suggest that everyone makes mistakes, and that Mr. Blumenthal should be forgiven for what he has admitted was an error in judgment. If he was applying for an ordinary job, I would accept the point. But he isn’t. He’s standing for election to one of the most important offices in the hands of Connecticut voters.

Election to the Senate is a national and personal honor, and those who join its ranks should, first and foremost, have an unquestionable history of decency and honor. It is indisputable that false claims concerning military service are extraordinarily dishonorable. The message that the election of Richard Blumenthal would send is that honor isn’t important to us, as citizens, any more.

If we send that message, we accept that political integrity itself is of no significance. We step onto a dangerous path; our destination will be a government filled only with career politicians, prepared to say whatever is necessary to win elections, regardless of its veracity.

Connecticut and its people deserve better than that. Mr. Blumenthal has spoken repeatedly about his desire to keep fighting for the state. The question voters need to answer is whether he aims to serve the State of Connecticut — or his own reputation and electoral ambitions.

On Tuesday, Connecticut has its chance to send a clear message: that its people demand integrity and honor from its politicians. To send that message, voters need only reject Richard Blumenthal — a candidate who has shown that he is willing to distort these values for the sake of a more compelling and sellable life story.

Alex Fisher is a freshman in Morse College.

Comments

  • RexMottram08

    Blumenthal is an unprincipled hack. He runs on the platform of “Whatever gets me elected and in the spotlight”

  • pablum

    Blumenthal’s verbal misstep is clearly infinitely more serious that the fact that Linda McMahon’s wrestling empire regularly sends young men to their graves. She’s clearly a smart businesswoman; it makes no sense to give health insurance to a professional wrestler whose heart will probably explode by age 30. In fact, she and her husband are considerate enough to provide steroid and oxycodone prescriptions to all of their “contracted workers.”

  • JackJ

    Pablum: you are obviously not someone who has done something unique and then had others claim to have done the same thing. If you were you might understand that multiple claims over significant periods of time do not constitute “verbal missteps” but rather a pattern of personal behavior that is unacceptable for elected officials. Additionally, your unsubstantiated charges re the steroids and oxycodone come very close to libel. As an October 21st SC ruling held you may not hide behind a screen name when making such charges. Since providing prescription drugs without a proper license is a crime I hope you have the evidence to back up the charges and aren’t just going to get in trouble because you’re parroting something you read or heard.

  • yalepolitico

    McMahon’s $50 million dollars was able to do some great digging on this one. Yes, there is dissonance with Blumenthal’s statements – he did say he served in vietnam when he didn’t, but at other times he stated the truth. The fact is that Richard Blumenthal has been serving the State for nearly two decades, and has done so with the utmost integrity. I don’t think the vietnam issue should or will be a defining factor for the voters of CT. Blumenthal will make a great U.S. Senator, and a much better one than the wrestling lady alternative.

  • River Tam

    > Blumenthal’s verbal misstep is clearly infinitely more serious that the fact that Linda McMahon’s wrestling empire regularly sends young men to their graves.

    Oh come on.

  • RexMottram08

    For the record: I supported Peter Schiff over McMahon in the primaries.

  • JackJ

    yalepolitico: I don’t understand. Is it your contention that it is ok to lie to the public some of the time as long as you tell the truth the rest of the time? Second question: if you admit he lied on occasion how then can he have served the state with the “utmost integrity” ?

  • pablum

    >Oh come on.

    The death rate among professional wrestlers is 7x the U.S. average. The following WWE wrestlers have died before the age of 65 since 1985, i.e. under the auspices of the McMahon family:

    Chris Von Erich – 21
    Mike Von Erich – 23
    Louie Spiccoli – 27
    Art Barr – 28
    Gino Hernandez – 29
    Lance Cade – 29
    Jay Youngblood – 30
    Rick McGraw – 30
    Joey Marella – 30
    Ed Gatner – 31
    Buzz Sawyer – 32
    Crash Holly – 32
    Kerry Von Erich – 33
    D.J. Peterson – 33
    Eddie Gilbert – 33
    The Renegade – 33
    Chris Candido – 33
    Test – 33
    Adrian Adonis – 34
    Gary Albright – 34
    Bobby Duncum Jr. – 34
    Owen Hart – 34
    Yokozuna – 34
    Big Dick Dudley – 34
    Brian Pillman – 35
    Marianna Komlos – 35
    Umaga – 36
    Pitbull #2 – 36
    The Wall/Malice – 36
    Emory Hale – 36
    Leroy Brown – 38
    Mark Curtis – 38
    Eddie Guerrero – 38
    John Kronus – 38
    Davey Boy Smith – 39
    Johnny Grunge – 39
    Chris Kanyon – 40
    Vivian Vachon – 40
    Jeep Swenson – 40
    Brady Boone – 40
    Terry Gordy – 40
    Bertha Faye – 40
    Billy Joe Travis – 40
    Chris Benoit – 40
    Larry Cameron – 41
    Rick Rude – 41
    Randy Anderson – 41
    Bruiser Brody – 42
    Miss Elizabeth – 42
    Big Boss Man – 42
    Earthquake – 42
    Mike Awesome – 42
    Biff Wellington – 42
    Brian Adams (Crush) – 43
    Ray Candy – 43
    Nancy Benoit (Woman) – 43
    Dino Bravo – 44
    Curt Hennig – 44
    El Gigante/Giant Gonzalez – 44
    Bam Bam Bigelow – 45
    Jerry Blackwell – 45
    Junkyard Dog – 45
    Hercules – 45
    Toni Adams – 45
    Andre the Giant – 46
    Big John Studd – 46
    Chris Adams – 46
    Mike Davis – 46
    Hawk – 46
    Mitsuharu Misawa – 46
    Ludvig Borga – 47
    Luna Vachon – 48
    Steve Dunn – 48
    Cousin Junior – 48
    Dick Murdoch – 49
    Jumbo Tsuruta – 49
    Rocco Rock – 49
    Sherri Martel – 49
    Steve Williams – 49
    Moondog Spot – 51
    Bastion Booger/Norman the Lunatic – 53
    Ken Timbs – 53
    Uncle Elmer – 54
    Pez Whatley – 54
    The Angel of Death – 54
    Eddie Graham – 55
    Tarzan Tyler – 55
    Haystacks Calhoun- 55
    Giant Haystacks – 55
    Buddy Rose – 56
    The Spoiler – 56
    Kurt Von Hess – 56
    Moondog King – 56
    Gene Anderson – 58
    Dr. Jerry Graham – 58
    Bulldog Brown – 58
    Tony Parisi – 58
    Rufus R. Jones – 60
    Ray Stevens – 60
    Stan Stasiak – 60
    Terry Garvin – 60
    Boris Malenko – 61
    Little Beaver – 61
    Sapphire – 61
    Shohei Baba – 61
    Dick the Bruiser – 62
    Wilbur Snyder – 62
    George Cannon – 62
    Karl Krupp – 62
    Dale Lewis – 62
    Gorilla Monsoon – 62
    Hiro Matsuda – 62
    Bad News Brown – 63
    Bulldog Brower – 63
    SD Jones – 63
    Wahoo McDaniel – 63

    It’s basically a circus side-show where the performers are paid (relatively, though not always) well to destroy their bodies over the span of several years. The McMahons, of course, don’t provide wrestlers with health insurance.

    Common causes of death are heart failure, overdose, and suicide.

    How many people has Blumenthal killed?

  • The Anti-Yale

    Thou shalt not bear false witness [against they neighbor]

    You don’t COMMAND something which is already obeyed.

    You can assume it’s a COMMANDMENT because most people do NOT obey it.

  • ElizabethGrayHenry

    @pablum

    You could make a similar list and claims with the National Football League, yet no one is claiming the NFL is somehow unfair and horrible or that the team owners and League officials of the NFL are somehow dishonest scumbags without a smidgeon of integrity. What’s the difference in the NFL and McMahon’s wrestling empire?

  • pablum

    I already gave you an important difference: the McMahons lobbied hard to deregulate wrestling. Before they did so, professional wrestling was regulated as a sport.

    Athletes receive world class health-care. Wrestlers have to pay out of pocket as “independent contractors.”

  • River Tam

    > Athletes receive world class health-care.

    Some do. Others don’t. It depends on the type of sport. MMA fighters, for instance, do not.

    > Wrestlers have to pay out of pocket as “independent contractors.”

    No one’s forced into it. At a minimum, they make a good living pretending to hit one another with chairs. And many of them have VERY lucrative careers both in the ring and out of it.