Why Obama's Ebola Comments Should Make You Angry


Some days, as a military spouse, I feel like I need to beat the public over the head with what our life is like. The misconceptions, misunderstandings, and general misrepresentation of our troops and our lives irk the living daylights* out of me.

So when our Commander-in-Chief opens his mouth and starts saying things that make me think I need to educate HIM, too? Guys. The rage.

On Tuesday, President Obama tried to explain why healthcare workers coming home Ebola-ridden West Africa shouldn't be quarantined while our military, sent to fight the same battle, should be:

"It's part of their mission that's been assigned to them by their commanders and ultimately by me, the commander in chief. So we don't expect to have similar rules for our military as we do for civilians. They are already, by definition, if they're in the military, under more circumscribed conditions," he said.

The president went on to say, "When we have volunteers who are taking time out from their families, from their loved ones and so forth to go over there because they have very particular expertise to tackle a very difficult job — we want to make sure that when they come back that we are prudent, that we are making sure that they are not at risk themselves or at risk of spreading the disease — but we don't want to do things that aren't based on science and best practices."

Um. So. Here's the thing.

Last time I checked, my husband wasn't conscripted. In fact, I'm entirely confident that I REMEMBER him volunteering to serve our country. You know, as a volunteer.

I remember when my husband volunteered to serve this country and still had to show up to work when we dealt with a devastating loss, leaving both of us feeling alone, numb, and childless.

I remember when my husband volunteered to serve this country and missed every single ultrasound for our next pregnancy, barely making it home in time to actually see the birth.**

I remember when my husband volunteered to serve this country and missed birthdays, Christmases, anniversaries, and every other important milestone of family life because he was fighting on behalf of the nation that - again - he. volunteered. to. serve.

Now call me crazy, but as military spouses, I think we might know a little something about what it means to have volunteers step up to lend their very particular expertise to a difficult job.

I am grateful to the healthcare workers who are now doing so, too. I think that's wonderful.

But Mr. President, please remember: They aren't the only volunteers. The hundreds of troops you sent over there to fight the same battle? They are, too. The only difference is our volunteers don't stop when they come home. They continue to serve day in, day out.

You're welcome.


* I shall not swear in a blog post. But... you know.

** And I know how incredibly lucky we are he made it.

*** And one quick NB: For anyone who, like me, actually doesn't hate Obama, please know - I actually like the guy. But liking the guy and standing by these comments are two very different things.

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