Dear Editor,

In the January 4 issue of Tri-City Times, a Letter to the Editor was entitled “How can one hope for better days?”

The author tells us that our leaders, elected officials and those seeking elected office misrepresent the truth and often blatantly lie to further their own interests. I agree.

He is discouraged by declining church attendance and feels that less and less people believe in God. He feels we must put our faith in God, and in doing so we can hope for a better world. I agree.

He sees few citizens working toward problem solving and says, “It is as though the citizens have become resigned to their fate of living in a country that is in a downhill slide…” Perhaps, but has he wondered why? Could it be because our elected officials and citizen leaders continually tell us how bad things are? Republicans say Democrats have created a terrible country and are making it worse. Democrats say the same of Republicans. Citizen leaders point to the many problems of society but are seldom seen leading the charge to change things for the better. More often they are heard ringing the alarm and claiming the current situation is both dire and hopeless. I feel a direct line can be drawn from what our leaders and officials, people of experience, say; to what the average citizen thinks.

However, the place where my thoughts most assuredly diverge from the author of “How can one hope for better days?” is where he writes, “…hope is being dashed upon the rocks of open borders and equity, inclusion, and diversity in our military…” My hope is that most of us can see that diversity in the military is a good thing. I know the active duty military members of my family would agree. They include one Black male and two White females, but they don’t define themselves by race or gender. They define themselves as soldiers, devoted family members, and hardworking and successful defenders of our great country. They have some impressive credentials too. One is a Sergeant Major with nearly 30 years active duty in the United States Army, who will return from a one-year deployment later this month. One is a Sergeant Major with nearly 25 years active duty in the U.S. Army. Both Sergeants Major have served as Brigade Command Sergeants Major. Yet another one is a U.S. Army Major with over 15 years served as an active duty soldier. This Major will have embarked upon a one-year deployment by time this has been read. All three serve with dedication and great skill. They may be diverse, but that does not change their abilities for the worse, or for the better.

In summary, two points.

Leaders can paint our situation as hopeful or hopeless. Being a leader, from the President of the United States down to an influential member of one’s community, means one is in a leadership position. Citizens feel desperate and hopeless because that is the message given to them. If you wish to spread hope, change your message.

Secondly, hope is not being dashed upon the rocks of diversity in our military. Rather, all of our military members are the rocks upon which hope and freedom are borne.

— Ann Michaels