To be honest, I’m a little skeptical of Politicians touting their concern for Veterans. Well, to be completely honest, I’m a little skeptical of politicians for that matter, but that is no surprise if you have followed this blog for anytime. However, as a Veteran myself, I sometimes can’t help but feel like Veterans have become the flag pin lapel of Politicians these days. You know what I’m talking about. If a politician wears a flag pin lapel on his jacket it means he loves America and if he doesn’t he hates America apparently. So just like the flag pin lapel, when politicians get on stage or make a commercial its time to drag out a Veteran whether they really have a heart to do anything for us or not. Its pretty skeptical of me I know, but hey, its not like politicians haven’t given us good cause.
I guess my first concern with Politicians is that I am not sure too many actually understand us. Would it surprise you to know that only about 20% of the Members of Congress have ever served in the Military? To say nothing of those who have actually experienced combat, but that is a pretty nominal amount. Consequently, 80% of Congress simply doesn’t have a practical grasp of the Military experience. So what do you do when you need a little military street cred? You drag out a Veteran to stand on stage with you because sometimes just having a waving American flag in the background of your commercial is just not enough.
On the bright side, there are a decent number of Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan running for Congress. Granted, it seem like a large number of them are officers, which makes sense I guess. However, I’m still waiting for the first Terminal Lance Corporal to get elected to Congress. If anyone knows the real Terminal Lance, maybe you can drop him a hint to give it a go. Surely the halls of Congress would provide good fodder for a new cartoon strip. But the Veteran experience is a very informative one and I encourage you to read my article, Veteran Eyes are Not Here To Be Mocked, for a more in depth explanation of that.
Whereas the modern Veterans running for Congress are sure to a have a more insightful understanding of Veterans issues, I am not too sure about the rest of the candidates. You see for most of America, the past decade of War has been mostly a spectator sport. I know this because I had the opportunity to do both actually. I served in Iraq with the Marine Corps in 2003 and upon leaving, I naively felt like the wars were winding down, we won, its over lets move on. However, I watched as 2003 gave way to 2004, then 2005, and so on as War continued to rage.
So despite having a first hand account of War, I sat out the next decade and you know what? Apart from the feelings and longings from my personal experience, my life here at home was not affected one bit. Think about that. America was fighting wars simultaneously in two countries for a decade and life here in America moved on without missing a beat because this enormous burden was shouldered by so few. Just one more reason life here at home for a returning Veteran seems so incongruent.
But now it is election time, and everyone needs a Veteran. Because I think to many politicians, Veterans are like Children. I mean everyone has to say they are running for the children’s sake and they are going to be a champion of children’s needs. Never mind the fact that most these politicians drive by 10 failing schools on the way to drop their kids off at private school. But you have to do it for the children right?
So let me pose this idea to you politicians what with it being election day and all. If you haven’t done anything for a Veteran over the past 10 years, then don’t act like you care now. I posted this picture sometime ago that I think highlights what has been going on. That’s right Mr. potential Congressman. Even if you get elected, if you and your peers committed suicide at the same rate as Veterans, none of you would be left by the end of the month. So next time your on CSPAN actually giving a speech to no one in the Congressional Chamber, imagine no one is there for this reason as opposed to the fund raisers they are most likely attending.
I am not saying Veterans have all the answers. Believe me, I know plenty of Veterans whom you would not want to take national fiscal advice from unless you want to finance a new Abram’s tank at 33% interest or something. But what I am asking you, is whether or not you really value us. Did you sit out the last decade of War only to call upon us when you needed an on stage prop? Well, today is election day, and my rant might be a little too late to influence this year. However, I encourage all Veterans to pay attention. If you were one of the ones dragged on stage or asked to speak, pay close attention. Were you really valued or where you turned into flag lapel pin to help this millionaire get elected. Now just so you know I am not one to complain without offering solutions, I would like to leave with this article if you haven’t read it yet. My solution: The Top 5 Reasons General Mattis Should Be President.
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