The first time I ran into Robert Tracey, the noted veterans’ advocate of Morristown, I was at a Bill Bradley book signing in Mendham, passing out flyers for my congressional campaign. Mr. Tracey kindly waved me off with a smile saying that he strongly supported our incumbent Rodney Frelinghuysen, indicating that he’s “always there” for veterans. In politics, conventional wisdom says that you need to spend your time engaging the “persuadable” voters, and I sensed that Mr. Tracey was probably not going to be very receptive if I tried to engage him in a lengthy discussion about his congressman’s voting record. It’s painful for me to resist these opportunities – as I’ve always prided myself in educating the electorate. I believe in what Jefferson said when he stated “an informed democracy will behave responsibly”, but this probably wasn’t the time or place to talk about how our incumbent is currently rated the worst representative in NJ according to Disabled American Veterans, an advocacy group for disabled veterans with a history dating back to WWI. Yet our same representative is quick to steal photo ops with vets any chance he gets, and touts votes for veterans benefits that are non-controversial and passed by overwhelming majorities.
Unlike our congressman, I’m not a veteran myself, and no deed that I can lay claim to even comes close to the sacrifice that these people have made for our country…..