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A Case of Stolen Valor

The last thing I wanted to do this Christmas season was to write a letter to the editor like this one. But there are times when responses delayed are responses effectively never made. I’m referring to the letter written by Ms. Buchanan in defense of her husband Tom, a former E-7 in the Navy and active supporter of the recent recall. While the defense of her husband was admirable, a line was crossed that needs to be called out.

Stolen valor can take several forms. The most common is when a member of the military claims service that was never performed or wears decorations that were never awarded. While I don’t believe either of the Buchanan’s is guilty of such acts, I do believe Ms. Buchanan is attempting to, at the very least, exploit valor, whether knowingly or not, when she compares the legitimate criticism of her husband to the abuse heaped upon veterans like myself on our return from Vietnam.

Mr. Buchanan participated in the removal of two duly elected Town Council members through the exploitation of town charter language, generally conceded to be flawed. And he did so over matters of personality and power. It had nothing to do with his military service. Vietnam veterans, on the other hand, performed under direct orders whose genesis was rooted in the policies set by the president of the United States.

To compare the two actions is absurd.

Horning in on what this country owes its Vietnam veterans, in an attempt to create sympathy for a man who violated the spirit of the oath he once took, adds insult to injury. He showed total disrespect for the very election process inherent in the US Constitution which he remains sworn to protect. Oaths don’t expire.

Buchanan’s snarkiness and hit and hide tactics on social media aimed at the targets of the recall and their supporters have not exactly endeared him. He arrogantly enjoys the game he plays on-line. He needs to accept that such games are a double-edged sword and people will respond even when he has blocked them on social media preventing them from seeing his insults.

And so, the Tiverton embarrassment continues. Everywhere I go in RI, people are laughing at us and asking for years, what conservative, in their right mind, would ever consider running for office in this town. And that was before this recent recall debacle. How can this ever end when conservatives are constantly being urged to be more conciliatory to a progressive left and their incessant march toward the historically demonstrated failure of socialism? I honestly don’t know how this is going to end, locally or at the state and federal levels. And I’m very concerned. I do not see the situation getting better before it gets much worse.

It’s all well and good to ask, why can’t we all just get along? It’s not so easy when you’re dealing with vipers. I could have rolled over and not responded to Ms. Buchanan’s letter. I suspect that’s what many would want me to do. But, you see, my oath is also still active and, unlike some in town, I take that oath very, very seriously.


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