By William Smolinski
There are a lot of opinions out in the world each day. People share their opinions about politics, review movies, or talk about their favorite cooking recipes.
But, as a veteran, I'd like you to keep in mind that my opinion counts more than yours.
I know this may seem unfair. The Constitution guarantees us both the right to freedom of speech, and the free sharing of ideas amongst people of different backgrounds, experiences, and occupations is one of the things that makes this country great.
But I laid my life on the line as a member of the United States Army, where I learned things like selfless service, treating everyone around me with dignity and respect, and being technically and tactically proficient, which means I also earned the right to always know more than you about the topic you are currently passionate about.
Now I know that it makes sense to have knowledge of a subject before debating it, which is why when I make my views known to my fellow Americans, I use facts found after a quick Google search, offer analysis with no basis in reality, and mention my time in the military at least once per paragraph.
This all makes sense to the vast majority of veterans. Most recruiters can tell you that just enlisting in the military makes you an expert on everything from military strategy to film production to complicated scientific theories. But this fact may not be so well known among civilians.
It's okay. You never served our country, so it's doubtful you'll ever understand.
But still, let's take for instance, a recent op-ed by The New York Times editorial board, in which they argue against arming teachers in response to school shootings. I'm sorry, but, as a veteran, I disagree. I know what the business end of an AK-47 looks like, and The New York Times editorial board doesn't, so this argument is over.
Or take a recent article in The Washington Post by columnist Max Boot. He argues that President Barack Obama was weak on Russia, but President Donald Trump is even weaker. That's a really interesting take, Mr. Boot, but did you even serve in the military under either of them as commander-in-chief?
There will always be common ground between everyday Americans and those who have protected their freedom. But freedom has a special flavor the protected will never know, and, since I protected you, I'd appreciate your thanks and deference at all times.
As a veteran, I know I earned it.
William Smolinski is a U.S. Army infantry veteran who deployed near Baghdad, Iraq in 2004 and 2007, which means he is an expert on all areas of Iraq, counterinsurgency theory, the opinion of all 1.6 billion Muslims, strategy in Afghanistan, Naval surface warfare, and what the president should be doing at all times, among many other topics.