Commentary: Reagan Reed
At a recent debate between the top three candidates for the 8th Texas Congressional District, candidate Morgan Luttrell came under fire for his friendship with Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-Il). One of Luttrell’s opponents accused Luttrell of being “buddy-buddy” with Kinzinger and branded the Illinois congressman as, “A traitor to the country.”
Kinzinger, who voted with Donald Trump’s position on legislation 90.2% of the time during his presidency, has nevertheless angered Trump loyalists for criticizing the former president’s actions after the 2020 election, particularly on January 6.
Luttrell said that while he does not agree with Kinzinger’s politics, he defended his personal friendship with the congressman, asserting he is not a traitor.
“As for Adam Kinzinger, we are friends,” said Luttrell. “We served together. In war. What he did in the Air Force directly correlated to what I was doing on the ground as a Navy SEAL. He saved my guys’ lives with the information he sent down from what he was doing above, to me. Yeah, he’s my friend, absolutely. And I don’t hate Adam Kinzinger.”
Luttrell continued, “And I don’t agree with anything Adam says politically anymore. But that man is not a traitor to his country. He fought in a war for his country.”
Luttrell is right. Adam Kinzinger is not a traitor to the country. Kinzinger is a hero who served this country honorably in the Air Force and was willing to put his life on the line to defend it. Regardless of what you think of his politics, you have to respect the man’s military service.
Kinzinger resigned his county board member position (Illinois’ equivalent of a county commissioner) in 2003 to join the Air Force. He started out as a KC-135 Stratotanker pilot and flew missions in South America, Guam, Iraq and Afghanistan. He later switched to flying the RC-26 surveillance aircraft and was twice stationed in Iraq. Kinzinger attained the rank of Lt. Colonel. While lots of politicians talk about securing the border, Kinzinger was actually deployed to the U.S./Mexico border in 2019 to help secure it.
I’ve had my policy disagreements with Kinzinger over the years, for example, he is less fiscally conservative than I would like. I’d probably disagree with him on some foreign policy issues too. However, the populists who hate him so much do not hate him because of his voting record (He voted with Trump 90.2% on legislation). They hate him because he dares to even criticize Trump. But just because you believe Kinzinger betrayed Trump doesn’t make him a traitor to the country.
Luttrell is right about another thing: He said he doesn’t “hate” Kinzinger, citing his own Christian faith. People in this country have to stop hating people with whom they disagree politically. In fact, people who have serious political disagreements can and should be friends. Hating people with different views will only put us on the path to civil war, and goes against the command to, “Love our enemies.”
How do you tell if someone has integrity? When they know doing the right thing will cost them everything politically, but they choose to do it anyways. Kinzinger knew that when he voted to impeach Trump he was likely signing his own political death warrant. But he believed it was the right thing to do, and so he did it, regardless of the cost. That’s real integrity. You can disagree with him, but you have to respect his willingness to stand for what he believes.
Grifters like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar talk a big game about how they are fighting for you. But what have they really done? Owning the libs on TV when you represent a deep red district is easy. It doesn’t take any courage at all- it’s just the path of least resistance.
Greene rakes in millions of dollars in campaign contributions from gullible supporters, and her performances have made her a celebrity. Kinzinger lost everything politically for doing what he thought was right. Which one has shown more integrity?
In any sane world, being endorsed by loathsome bottom-dwellers and conspiracy theorists like Gosar and Greene would be a liability, and receiving a donation from someone who served this country honorably would be something to be touted. Unfortunately, we’re not living in a sane world.
Luttrell is fortunate to have such an honorable man as his friend. His only mistake was returning Kinzinger’s check (although I understand why he did it). Attacking a man for his friendship with someone with whom he served is unfair. Let’s focus on the real policy issues that matter to the people of CD-08.
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