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Veterans Day

No one in the valley except banks gets it off. After all, our competitors in India don't care. Global economy, blah, blah.

I never served. I won't pretend I did. But a very large number of my friends have. This post is for them.

I've watched our people and our own government pay no more than lip service in respect to their service for all of my life. We show our veterans less real, tangible respect in terms of remuneration and physical care now than we did after Vietnam! Yeah, when it comes time to court the veteran vote, they make the damned promises for pensions and funding and yadda yadda. They spout what they think that the white-bread 'Middle American" wants to hear - but forget how much of our service is not that privileged demographic of white, male protestants. (Yes, I know they try to make them all protestant, in violation of the 1st Amendment, but they can't change the rest.)

I ask you, is Veterans Day and Memorial Day the only time you think of the people who work for the citizens of this country, in high risk, demanding, and often futile occupations while directed by political hacks who never learned to tie their own shoes properly? Or do you think of the stupidity every time you hear "When Johny Comes Marching Home" and things like that? How about every time you see a homeless person?

Our military is not there for political adventurism, corporate protection rackets, and religious crusades. It's not in the damned charter (you know, that pesky Constitution that Washington, especially the GOP, loves to ignore when it suits them.) But it keeps getting used that way. Dirty, secret wars, "police actions", etc, all fucking excuses for wars without plans or ends, and justified long past the point of ludicrousness with the "sunk costs" fallacy.

We have a "volunteer" military - well, as "volunteer" as it can be in the depth of a recession when it is probably the career of last resort (serve or starve?) for a lot of young people. I guess dismantling the safety net is one way to guarantee a steady supply of recruits. Severely restricting birth control and abortion is another.

The obvious one is the whole "Stop Loss" and perpetual redeployments of service members with head trauma and PTSD. I guess it's OK if they have a pulse when they get over to the theatre, if they commit suicide they can just chalk it up to "enemy action", right? The brass must be really pissed when they get hit but don't die - then they have to spend a little money, but only for a few years, taking care of their injuries. Then they throw them back onto the streets, used up and burned out.

23% of the homeless population are veterans (link), yet only ~ 7.5% of the US population is veterans. That's right, military service means you're 3 times as likely to end up homeless! Some thanks, and some great pension, eh? Yet the first place they trim the military budget is in VA benefits, not in corporate procurement deals - can't let those fat stock portfolios drop, eh?

The ex-military guys can just get a job, right - oh, wait, they've all been outsourced to China, who really won the cold war. But the Tea party whackos don't want you to take any of their money, they stoleearned it fair and square on the blood of those who fought for them.

The social contract that fueled the rise of this country to the political and economic powerhouse has been destroyed. The selling out of our veterans into homelessness and neglect started with Reagan *spit*, and is a symptom of a broader disease - the "I got mine, fuck everyone else who made it possible" syndrome.

You want to thank veterans? IMO, work to change our society back to one that makes sure that they are properly cared for and compensated for risking their lives for us, not just given lip service a few days a year and shafted the rest of the time.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
jemyl
Nov. 14th, 2010 06:04 am (UTC)
Amen! We could start with improving the V.A. hospitals such that doctors there had to be 'on call' and have their own patients much like other docs do. I have heard military docs say that they choose to work for the gov't at a V.A. gig because that way they can work 9 to 5 or whatever shift they draw instead of having to be at the beck and call of their Patients! This tends to attract docs who are lazy and want to work for a company instead of work for their patients, not a good way to get or give great care.

Bill was a WWII vet and he would only go to the V.A. hospital once every six months, just to keep his eligibility so he could use them to get stuff like his electric wheelchair and our van tie downs for it which Medicare wouldn't even consider. V.A. care can be the best on Earth when it is done right which it isn't now.

We do owe these guys and gals a whole lot. The problem is, the average person has never been informed as to the mental problems that tend to result from the kind of warfare that is used today. It's just not like it was even in the Korean Conflict (War by any other name. LOL) Almost every vet I know has some residual mental problem, if not also some physical problem, from the years they spent deployed. So many affected just cannot be a coincidence! It is high time we recognized the problem, both politically and socially, and provided proper care for it, including housing for those affected, for our veterans.

I saw a place opened in this area to help homeless vets. It was great! The only problem was that there is a limit on how long a vet can stay there and there were only something like 30 beds available ---- a drop in the bucket for an ocean of problem and a typically woefully short term, temporary solution for a lifelong problem for an affected vet.

It is the same old saw "they should get a job" that is used to deny supposed "entitlements". People just don't get it. Most of those getting those entitlements would much rather work, and they cannot get hired for various reasons: no car ---too poor, not physically able to do the job ---disabled, not mentally able to do the job ----mentally ill, not able to be contacted by the job ---no home or no phone.

Our country has gone away from honoring our vets and our old people. We also have gone away, now, from taking care of them, wanting to and actually cutting medicare and vet benefits, little by little, every year.

As usual, my Ravan beauty, we agree wholeheartedly. Peace, love and lots of hugs to you, data pard and fuzzy. Mom
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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