This is the weekend to remember the sacrifices of the men and women of the United States military who have given their all in the defense of the country.
I have two suggestions for marking it.
First, please consider a contribution to the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund or another organization serving the warriors wounded in the war that began on 9/11. Americans were very generous in the early years of the war but have become less so as the front has shifted to remote regions in Afghanistan and as the economy has worn down so many family budgets at home.
The fighting is still intense and costly, however, and the number of seriously injured continues to grow with each week. The Semper Fi Fund and many other groups do great work to help wounded veterans return to civilian life and sometimes to active duty. Support of these men and women is the best way to salute the sacrifice of the fallen in this and other wars.
Politics is another way to honor those who died in the uniform, though that may seem counterintuitive at first. But each soldier, sailor, airman and marine who died in wartime did so defending a republic that depends upon its citizens being informed and active in the election of its leaders. Carelessness in the voting booth not only ruins the domestic life of the United States, the weakness in defense policy that carelessness brings about increases the dangers to the country and to the men and women who defend it.
Americans concerned over the increasingly grim situation of the country's economy and its place in the world know that the November elections are a key to restoring fiscal sanity, military preparedness and national security seriousness to America. This is a great weekend to begin to seriously study the November elections and to pick those races in which you will be involved.
My friend Geraghty the Indispensable has charted 99 House races in which Republicans are competitive in the fall. Getting the gavel out of Nancy Pelosi's hands is a priority and it is doable.
With a 59-41 Democratic majority in the Senate, it is tempting to write off the chance for Republicans to gain control of the upper chamber. But it is possible. The GOP must retain the seats of all its incumbents, hold on to six "open" seats in New Hampshire, Florida, Kentucky, Ohio, Missouri and Utah, and must win 10 seats currently held by a Democrat. With most of the primaries concluded or with a front-runner in place, here are the tough races that Republicans must win on the road to 51.
I assume that the GOP will easily hold on to the seats it holds in Arizona and Utah. The former is assured if John McCain is nominated, and the latter appears to be a lock no matter who is nominated to replace Senator Bennett. Senators Burr in North Carolina and Vitter in Louisiana seem to be on a path to re-election.
The five "must holds" which will feature serious Democratic efforts to turn a red seat blue:
The 11 target seats from which 10 victories must be collected:
Linda McMahon must win in Connecticut where the impact of Dick Blumentahl's deceptions about his service in Vietnam will show up in polls beginning next week.
The race between Sharon Angle, Sue Lowden and Danny Tarkanian for the GOP nomination and the right take on Harry Reid will be decided June 8, and it is very close. All three candidates are leading Reid at this point, though Reid clearly fears Lowden the most because of her personal wealth.
In any other year, this map to a majority is very difficult to imagine happening.
But fueled by the Tea Party and energized by the president's blend of ideological extremism and doleful incompetence, regaining a majority of the United States Senate is at least possible.
Each candidate's name is linked to their online contribution site. Please consider at least a $25 contribution to one of them this long weekend, and if you can swing it, to all 16. That's a $400 investment in the country's future on the weekend we salute those who gave their all, and it really isn't too much to ask.
But before you give a dollar to securing the country's political future, please give one to help the men and women who have secured its safety to date.