I’ve been a military spouse for fifteen years and despite all the PCSs, changes in leadership, and ups and downs, one thing has remained fairly constant among military spouses I’ve met. A lot of us are reluctant to get “too political” for fear of hurting our service member’s career.
I can certainly understand the hesitancy and concern. After all, aren’t there rules in the military about not doing that sort of thing?
Military Spouses and Politics
The short answer is: there really aren’t as many rules as you think that dictate what we, as spouses, can do. While your service member has to abide by the Hatch Act — the law dictating political activities in the military — if you are a civilian spouse, you do not. You are your own person, free to be as outspoken as you choose. (Hallelujah!)
For many of us, though, it’s about more than just speaking out for the sake of being loud. We want to use our military spouse voices effectively to be a catalyst for change. Luckily, there are tools for advocacy far more effective than arguing with strangers on the internet. And that’s where Secure Families Initiative (SFI) comes in: we are a nonpartisan program with the mission is to elevate military spouses as advocates and organizers.
Military Spouse Voices Need to Be Heard
At SFI, we have this radical belief that military spouses deserve a voice in our country’s decisions over war and peace, because those decisions directly impact our lives. That’s why we started this group to take action together – led by mil spouses for mil spouses.
Our basic change-making playbook is this: vote, advocate, take action, and share the stories of military families. We provide relatable and reliable resources to help with each rung of this activism ladder. And while SFI focuses on foreign policy, the blueprint for advocacy is applicable for any issue – from domestic policies to issues specific to military families and everything in between. There’s a place for everyone, no matter your experience.
If you want to learn more about your rights when it comes to speaking out, join our group today and make your voice count.
Secure Families Initiative First-Hand Experience in Politics
While voting, advocating, and direct action are fairly standard organizing tools, we know military spouses have a unique power. We believe that one of the most impactful ways to affect change is for military spouses to tell our stories. Civilians and politicians may be familiar with the black and white statistics of deploying troops. But our experiences as spouses paint a full-color, 4K picture of what it’s really like to live with a spouse deploying or training during a high operations tempo.
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Published in October, “A letter to Kurdish soldiers from a military wife” is a great example of a military spouse using their voice to provide invaluable insight, nuance, and perspective. After the sudden withdrawal of U.S. forces from northern Syria last fall, there was no lack of television debate or news stories quoting military generals. But this anonymous spouse provided personal and powerful testimony of what it meant to have Kurdish forces fight alongside U.S. troops.
“The Kurdish people are not nameless, faceless people across the world. You hold a place of honor and respect in our home. It’s important to me that all of you know that. I owe you so much. My husband is home safe today after years of fighting and I know you helped make that happen.”Anonymous Special Operations Soldier Spouse
Advocating for Ourselves as Military Spouses
Using your voice and telling your story as a military spouse is an incredibly powerful tool. You have a right to use your voice to advocate for the change you wish to see, and your story is yours alone to share. It won’t always be easy, and it may require stepping outside your comfort zone, but we’ve got your back. Let’s make a difference – together.
Kate Marsh Lord is an Air Force spouse of fifteen years and mom of 3 kids born at three different duty stations. She is the Content Manager for Secure Families Initiative.
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