Do you recall a couple or more years back during the Trump time in office that there were seven United States senators who went to visit Moscow over the Fourth of July? It was quite inexplicable to me at the time why during the celebration of our nation’s independence seven senators would be hobnobbing with Russians who wanted no more than to destroy our way of life which they came quite close to doing on January 6, 2021.
These senators, the Moscow Seven, had somethings in common. They were all Republicans. They were all white men. They ranged in age from their late fifties up to their early eighties with most being in their sixties. They were: Sens. Richard C. Shelby (Ala.), Steve Daines (Mont.), John Hoeven (N.D.), John Neely Kennedy (La.), Jerry Moran (Kan.), John Thune (S.D.) and Ron Johnson (Wis).
As you know before the violent uprising by Trump supporters about fourteen U.S. senators said they would join in the effort to overthrow our Constitution by refusing to recognize the vote of the people. They attempted to install Trump – known for his closeness to Putin and Russian oligarchs – as the first president of the United States since Washington who was not elected by the people. In other words, they wanted their and Putin’s will and not that of the voters to be done. Eventually 147 Republicans in Congress would vote against counting the certified vote of the people showing their disdain for democracy even after the riot in a tacit endorsement of the rioters goals of forcibly installing Trump president.
Not surprising to me was that three of them, Daines, Kennedy, and Johnson, who promised to vote against the people’s choice were part of the Moscow Seven. However, when it came time to show their colors only one, Kennedy kept his promise and with six other senators endorsed the mob’s actions. I believe, Daines and Johnson, seeing where playing footsie with Russia led to the demise of America, they came to their senses.
My curiosity of the motives of the Moscow Seven had been piqued. It had to be more than their color, age, and party affiliation that would have had them in Moscow on our nation’s birthday. Was there was another thing they had in common that would impel them to do such a thing. Thinking I wondered if they lacked something I experienced that I always believed made me understand America better.
I had served in the armed forces. I had as friends from deep in Mississippi who seemed to speak a different language and who laughed at my accent to soem from the corn fields of Iowa to others who lived in hilly San Francisco. One of my closest friends was from Natick, MA, who had studied to be a minister; another was a real Southerner a graduate of Georgia Tech with a engineering degree who would address women as: “Miss Kathleen.” I was on a fire team of five men with the other four being Southern Baptists. We liked each other, talked frankly of our beliefs, and accepted our differences. We were an amalgamation of America, wore our country’s uniform with pride, and respected each other.
I thought perhaps that is it. No one I figured who had served in the military would be in Moscow on the Fourth. Sure enough, none of the Moscow Seven did wear our country’s uniform. None of them felt an obligation to serve in the nation’s military. They depended on others to protect them while they went on about their education while involving themselves in politics or business.
It was obvious they would not feel a deep obligation to the country. I figured out they were probably more at home with Putin and his oligarchs as with the American voters, who they most likely consider the America’s rabble, as defined in the Oxford dictionary’s second definition of the word, “Ordinary people, especially when regarded as socially inferior or uncouth?”
The obligation to serve in the military was a great leveler – you climbed out of your bubble and became familiar with others in America totally different than oneself and learned to be at peace with them. The military made me appreciate and understand: the role of the enlisted privates and corporals, the gears of the system; the actions of the sergeants who kept the system’s machinery running smoothly; their relationship with the lower ranked officers who they came in contact with on a daily basis. One understood that it could only work by people acting together seeking a common goal. That goal was protecting the Constitution – in my times from foreign enemies – so that those then living and those who would follow after us would enjoy it blessings.
Deprived of this experience and not having had to interact with the Americans who thought enough of our country to wear its military uniform these senators have an inadequate grasp of what it is like to be an American in the same manner they have no idea what it is like to be an expectant mother and give birth to a child.