On Sept. 14, former United States Senator and Secretary of State John Kerry (D-MA) spoke to several Northern Nevada and Southern Nevada veterans on a Biden Harris campaign coalition call. This was the launch of the “Nevada Veterans and Military Families for Biden Coalition.”
Secretary Kerry, himself a Navy combat veteran, was joined by Nevada veterans state Senator Pat Spearman (U.S. Army) , Matthew Defalco (U.S. Army), Alex Goff (U.S. Marine Corp) and Clara Thomas (U.S. Air Force). Following the conversation, the campaign launched a Nevada Veterans and Military Families for Biden Facebook community.
They spoke for more than an hour on the issues facing veterans and their families in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and economic downturn. But the main focus, obviously, was what a potential Biden-Harris administration would look like to this Coalition and their families.
Secretary Kerry spoke for nearly 30 minutes on a range of issues, from comments the President gave in California to climate change. Secretary Kerry indicated the strong feeling of “disrespect” he perceives toward service members and the nation when he hears President Trump speak.
The event then turned back to Nevada members and became more of a roundtable discussion on life in the service and how they view the current administration’s approach to the veteran community and those who are actively serving.
Senator Spearman had strong words for the President in relation to notorious comments he allegedly made, calling fallen American soldiers “suckers” and “losers.”
“When I hear him say things like that, I say, ‘Look, Mr. Trump. You do not deserve to even put our names in your mouth,’” she said.
Kerry has long been an outspoken advocate for veterans. Forty-nine years ago this month, he spoke in Reno. In April of 1971, Kerry had testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on behalf of Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW). In the months to follow, he toured the country, hosting speaking events to raise money and organize chapters of VVAW. He spoke at the University of Nevada, Reno, on Sept. 29, 1971.
According to a story by Nancyann Leeder that was printed in the Nevada State Journal, Kerry told the crowd, “We have to somehow find the conscience of the United States… It is not just that the U.S. is in Vietnam, but that there are hundreds of Vietnams in the United States. We have somehow come to believe that we can rip at the fabric of another man’s life. If we can’t move on something as morally compelling as Vietnam, how can we on other things, such as low-cost housing?”
Don Dike-Anukam is a Reno native attending college in northern Nevada. He has been involved in activist politics for 15 years on and off, and has been involved in multiple campaigns in multiple positions in that time. He also was a college radio political, news, and talk-show host covering a range of stories from hostage standoffs, fires, interviews, and public speeches.