Marco  Martinez

If a soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine in Iraq were to receive an anonymous care package or letter of support, who likely would have been its sender: a liberal or a conservative?

Chances are you said the latter. But why? Why are conservatives and Republicans seemingly more supportive of our troops than liberals?

It’s a good question.

I’m no political expert. In fact, I don’t even consider myself terribly “political.” But I do have five thoughts on why conservatives seem to lend far stronger and more vocal support to our military than liberals:

1. The military sees a clear line between good and evil.

The minute you start thinking that there’s no such thing as good and evil, right and wrong, it’s virtually impossible to support an organization like the military. The military applies lethal force in the service of what our nation deems “good” and “right.” If you believe that nothing is black and white, and that everything is morally gray, it’s hard to choose sides.

Some liberals sort of remind me of that lyric from that old song that goes: “There ain’t no good guys, there ain’t no bad guys. There’s only you and me and we just disagree.”

Marines don’t “disagree” with the enemy. We shoot to kill.

2. Veterans view themselves as servants, not victims.

I’ll go to my grave feeling nothing but gratitude in my heart for my beloved Corps and the U.S. military. My father earned his citizenship in our great country by serving for over 20 years as an Army Ranger. America has given me and my family more than we ever dreamed of.

I think the overwhelming majority of soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines feel the same way: we consider defending our nation to be an honor, not a burden.

Except, of course, for Anthony Swofford, the guy who wrote that lame, whiny book Jarhead that got turned into a lame, whiny movie. Like all Marines, I can’t stand that book. (So much so, in fact, that I wrote my book as a counterbalance for those of us who truly love the Corps.)

3. The military stresses hard work, self-discipline, and personal responsibility.

Growing up, I was a member of one of the most violent street gangs in America. Back then I thought I knew what it was to “hustle” and to be “tough” and “hard.”

And then my beloved Corps got a hold of me.


Marco Martinez

Marco Martinez, a recipient of the Navy Cross, is author of the new book Hard Corps: From Gangster to Marine Hero (Crown Forum).