The Pathologizing of Veterans
Why Hennrich's attack on Joe Kent matters to the rest of us
Typically, it's better to turn the other cheek when it comes to people denigrating veterans' status. Often, the attacks are baseless and cast the attacker as an antisocial narcissist. However, Democrat candidate for Congress in Washington's 3rd District Brent Hennrich decided to attack Republican Joe Kent on mental health issues relating to his veteran status.
Hennrich's display of low impulse control and low intelligence indicates he would be ineligible for the 18-X Army Special Forces pipeline training from a cognitive and behavioral standpoint. Low personal discipline is dangerous in any organization, especially in wartime. Politics is a singular activity, and voters will hold Hennrich to account. Here's to hoping the local Washington Democrats publicly humiliate Hennrich and cast him out as much as the veteran's community will publicly shame. These slips on Twitter, written in rage, are great for illustrating the reversal of morals in American society.
As much as Kent was the target of Hennrich's impotent rage-posting, the comment affects all veterans as a community. There is a non-insubstantial group of people in American society who disdain the military and veterans' community despite the efforts of many to fight media-created caricatures of damaged veterans.
Now, typical hate and even jealousy are more common than people think, which is why quite a bit of corporate America makes efforts for veteran involvement, dating from the widespread hatred of returning Vietnam Veterans. When animosity moves into an effort to profit from military service's denigration, the problem becomes severe.
There are two major types of people seeking to gain from attacking veterans, veteran health and military service members. The first is people like Hennrich, who use the media trope of unstable veterans for personal profit because he is not a veteran. He states that he's of a sounder mind and body and therefore better for X or Y, in this case, political office. This discrimination also happens occasionally in corporate jobs, especially when it comes to medical appointments for veterans. Corporations still pass up veterans for promotion because of their non-obvious medical needs like mental health. This passing up happens to people who didn't serve in the military as well. A couple of friends who wanted a career in high finance were more or less pushed out because of their inability to seek help during work hours or sought help and weren't glued to the desk.
The second one is the classical stolen valor guy. This person pretends to be in the military or pretends to be a veteran. Often, they shield themselves and fly under the radar using post-traumatic stress, general anxiety disorder, or traumatic brain injury. These people can operate for a long time under the radar, maybe indefinitely. A few are benign, but many of these people are con artists seeking social recognition, financial reward, or a resume bullet to profit from their lies. Some of these con artists themselves are veterans.
There are other kinds of people who target veterans for denigration and exploitation in a manner like Hennrich's. For example, there's a flavor of libertarian who hates all things military, police, or uniformed. These people usually aren't serious, and you should avoid people like that in your life.
There's a broader point about the widespread exploitation of military service by multiple groups in this country, including the media, which I will unpack further down the road. Before social media, exploitation of service for other people's gain was not so blatant and not as frequent. Nowadays, there's a lot of pressure for veterans of all kinds to monetize their military service too. Many other people are cashing in on their veteran status. At the very least, we can hold people to account when they so viciously attack the best and brightest our country has to offer.
Brent Hennrich for Congress (D) WA03 💯 Pro Choice @bhennrich@joekent16jan19 Hey Beta boi... Why don't you show your fan club the ENTIRE clip? Not just the edited down to the words you want to put entirely out of context. Oh that's right, you are running a fear campaign, not a factual campaign. #FlipWA03 https://t.co/BUJN9bbvCH
****Update*** 2:30pm-ish Central
Adam Korzeniewski 🇺🇸 @RealAdamKWhen Brent Hennrich (D) decided to attack Republican @joekent16jan19 (R) with accusations of mental illness relating to his veteran status, it brought up the broader issue of hostility toward veterans. Read more on my substack. 👇 https://t.co/nMfX2E0eAi
Brent Hennrich apologized for his comments after the outpouring of disdain by people over the Tweet. I wish it did not come to public shaming for this to occur. There are the issues of political addiction, and dopamine rushes that social media provides. Brent's outlandish comments aren't only confined to those above, though.
Some of the Tweets are sick and perverted, with violent and sexualized language. Read at your own risk.
Brent Hennrich (D) Campaign Office @BH4C_Office@RealAdamK @joekent16jan19 This is Brent's Campaign Manager- I would like to talk to you about your article-you have one side of the story. DM me and I will give you my number or we can set up a Zoom
His Campaign Manager (unknown name) reached out through the account. I will not provide my contact information to the Hennrich for Congress campaign for obvious reasons. Thank you for the professionalism, Campaign Manager.
I'm an independent guy on many hot-button issues that get people worked up on social media. I have my opinions on items and break with orthodoxy – however, there are some essential items and etiquette that all patriots should agree on most of the time. Those include not making light of mental health issues or sexual violence.
I will write about the importance of being normal and finding other hobbies than just politics in the future. Addiction to social media is just as real as substance abuse, and the simulated tribal conflict of social media is not healthy. Many video games often silo off "player versus player" areas to not ruin the game's core experience for everyone. We should strive to do that too in our communications mediums.