Guest Opinion: Brian Mast must carry on the fight for Florida

MaryLynn MagarHow people react in the face of adversity is the true and ultimate test of one’s character.

Most political campaigns don’t offer a stark contrast in character between the candidates, but the race for the 18th Congressional District of Florida is the exception.

Republican Congressman Brian Mast was serving in the U.S. Army during the 9/11 attacks on our country, and spent several years on active duty until he lost both legs to an IED explosion in Afghanistan.

At the same time Brian Mast was putting his life on the line in service to our country, Democrat candidate Lauren Baer demeaned America in the wake of the terror attacks, writing a shamefully anti-American opinion article in the Harvard University newspaper.

It was just one month after terrorists flew hijacked planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon that Baer used the tragedy to brag about her ultra-liberal perspective on America and virtue-signal to her elitist classmates.

Baer criticized our nation’s response as “a moment of hypocrisy,” writing that America has a “shameful history” of “meager” reactions to atrocities elsewhere in the world.

According to Baer, “at the same time that America calls on the world to ardently preserve our sacred values, it must live up to a shameful history of having so rarely stood up for those values itself.”

In Baer’s opinion, Americans should have been equally outraged by “genocide in Rwanda,” “civil strife in the Congo,” and “ethnic cleansing in Bosnia” as they were by the deaths of more than 3,000 of their fellow citizens, because “These events were just as much an affront to justice as were the events of Sept. 11.”

Instead of showing pride in her country or empathy for the victims, Baer demanded that America become “humbler” as our country dealt with the painful aftermath of 9/11.

This didn’t set well with John Napolitano, a constituent in Florida’s 18th District and a former officer in the New York Police Department. His son, who was also an NYPD officer, didn’t make it out of the World Trade Center that tragic day. While Mr. Napolitano was at ground zero sifting through the rubble in search of his son, Baer was at Harvard ruminating about what she perceived as America’s “hypocrisy” and “shameful history.”

Congressman Mast had a very different post-9/11 experience.

Mast was serving in the Army Reserve at the time of the 9/11 attacks, and later volunteered for active duty. He was deployed to Afghanistan, where he was clearing a path for the Army Rangers in 2010 and lost both of his legs and a finger as a result of an IED explosion.

As if this sacrifice by Congressman Mast wasn’t enough, years later he would go on to donate one of his prosthetics to a constituent in his district.

“Before Brian Mast literally gave me one of his legs, for over 30 years, I was in constant pain,” said local amputee Robert Brown. “I think about Brian everyday. His generosity has changed my life.”

Congressman Mast’s selflessness is a true reflection of his character, and a stark contrast between him and his Democrat opponent in the race for 18th Congressional District of Florida.

Understanding Brian Mast’s selfless dedication to our nation takes on new meaning when you learn his whole story, and puts the current challenges in Washington into proper perspective.

If adversity provides the greatest test of one’s character, then it’s clear we can trust Brian Mast. He will stand up for his constituents in Washington, fighting for tax cuts, better care for veterans, job training, and so much more to improve their lives each day.

Congressman Mast makes the contrast in this congressional race perfectly clear. Possessing the kind of character we need more of in Washington, voters should send him back there to carry on the fight.