Watching and following politics in this country at the national level is a very difficult proposition these days. If you label yourself an Independent voter it is even more difficult. Media outlets aren’t content to report the news now, those days are going, going gone. We live in the hot take era. Media members now ARE the news, the more controversial the hot take, the more that commentator gets their name out there as an “expert” at whatever they happen to be reporting.  

The major networks have become mouthpieces for whatever side of the debate they happen to be on. Fair? Balanced? Unbiased? Anyone? Bueller?

Depending on what channel a viewer watched or what outlet you read on Wednesday morning after President Trump’s State of the Union Address on Tuesday night, you’d get very conflicting reports. CNN reported that the initial reaction from the people taking a poll after the President spoke said his numbers were the worst in the past 20 years. The panel of political experts said that the people taking the poll were much more Republican than Democrat since “people who watch speeches are usually fans of the person making it.” Really? I always believed that people watch speeches of their leaders, whether they were “fans” or not to see where they stand.

CNN’s numbers showed, according to AOL that 70 percent of the people approved his message. And in the same AOL reported that 75 percent of Americans approved of Trump’s message, the same numbers cited by CBS News.

There were the normal gloom and doom and racist accusatory rants as well as the “MAGA” people who believe the President can do no wrong. The over-the-top reporting was difficult to take. One media outlet hired body language experts who watched the First Lady, to watch her reactions to all of President Trump’s comments. I’m glad they didn’t watch me during the address after eating Thai food last night. One veteran was so put out by this and the political climate here that he says he plans to renounce his citizenship and move out of the country to Canada. Don’t let the door hit you on your fourth point of contact.

One area of President Trump’s address should and did appeal to everyone in the audience. Seated behind First Lady Melania Trump was SSG Justin Peck of the 5th Special Forces Group, The Legion, yes the REAL one. Along with him was Captain Matthew Bradford and 11-year old Preston Sharp. Bradford became the first blind double amputee to re-enlist in the Marine Corps while Sharp has a plan to plant a flag on every veteran’s grave in the country.

But Peck’s story is one that got an ovation from everyone in attendance, not just one side or the other of the political spectrum. And it deserves to be retold as the President did last night.

Peck was in Syria during the recent fighting in Raqqa which was a horrible, brutal battle that went street to street, house to house in routing the Islamic State terrorists from their “caliphate” in Syria. Our U.S. Special Operations troops were there supporting Syrian Kurdish fighters who have been attempting to take back their homeland.

Peck, an eight-year veteran and a member of the 5th SFG from Ft. Campbell,KY was in Raqqa during November 2017 and was on an operation where he and a Navy NCO, Chief Petty Officer Kenton Stacey were part of a coalition team that for several days were clearing IEDs from buildings and areas that had been controlled by ISIS. They had already found and deactivated seven IEDs and were beginning to clear the second story of a hospital building.

During the clearing of the secondary story, an IED exploded, whether it was tripped or was command detonated isn’t known but Stacey was severely injured and in danger of dying without immediate medical attention.

Peck didn’t hesitate. From his outside position with the security element, he rushed to Stacey’s side, fully aware that he too could be entering a kill zone where another IED could be waiting for the rescue element to come to Stacey’s aid.

Peck responded quickly and expertly. He placed a tourniquet on Stacy’s wounds, and then emplaced an endotracheal tube, and gave him artificial respirations and administered CPR saving Stacy’s life.

Trump’s praise for Peck brought the crowd together for a brief moment and Peck was given a standing ovation. “Kenton Stacy would have died if not for Justin’s selfless love for a fellow warrior,” Trump said. “Tonight, Kenton is recovering in Texas. Raqqa is liberated. And Justin is wearing his new Bronze Star, with a ‘V’ for ‘Valor,’ Trump added to Peck. “All of America salutes you.”

Peck’s actions were among the first that has been brought to light involving our troops that have been sent to Syria.

Congress should take note. Most of them have forgotten why they were sent there in the first place and that is to represent the American people instead of trying to build empires and become filthy rich. Sadly, as soon as the ovation was over, Congress members on both sides probably forgot who both Peck and Stacey were, consumed by the never-ending power struggle between the right and left. American people deserve better and should demand more from their elected representatives… for the sake of men and women who serve and sacrifice for them every day. And not just the Pecks and Staceys of the USA but the ordinary citizens who have to scratch out a living every day.

Photo: AP