Saturday, November 13, 2010

Cutting VA funding is not an option

If you were wounded in Vietnam you had a 70% chance of surviving. Due to advances and improvements in battlefield medicine, if you are wounded in OIF/OEF you have a +90% chance of surviving. When you come back and you complete your service and you separate from the military you may have wounds, physical or mental, that still need treatment or care. Some may even get a 100% disability rating for wounds they received in combat that were never physical at all. That’s the problem with war it’s messy. The war for the warrior doesn’t end on a date set by politicians and world leaders. The war will always be with them and me. It will be with us until the day we die. You called us to duty and we answered. Some of us answered the call multiple times and are suffering compounding injuries. The VA was created to take care of these injuries. It angers me to hear, as we are bogged down in two wars supposedly fighting for the American sheeple, that they want to cut VA funding as a solution to the deficit “crisis.” As a matter of fact it’s two wars I didn’t even hear mentioned by any, not one, of the fucking candidates for office. None of them that gained national attention even had the audacity to mention it. They don’t care about the wars because 1) these candidates, like Christine O’Donnell don’t know very much about them and 2) it’s longer than an episode of Dancing with the Stars so the wars have passed the attention span of the American people. But you would think in an election that was supposedly about deficits we would discuss the occupation-nation-building operations in two foreign countries costing the American taxpayers $200 million per day. Nah, they were more worried about raising the marginal tax rate on millionaires 3%.

The hypocrisy of the flag-waving patriots who speak out of both sides of their mouths is astounding and angering. Supporting the troops is more than a yellow ribbon magnet on your SUV. Partriotism requires more than lip service. It’s more than waving the flag and screaming about some imaginary Marxist boogeyman. You might want to discuss that at your next tea party. If the VA is underfunded, raise taxes to fund it. If you don’t want to pay for us to fight these wars then don’t fucking send us to fight these wars. True patriotism is about selfless service and sacrifice. Why don’t you just ask us, the veterans?

“Don’t tread on me,” is their battle cry. Well, don’t tread on us. Don’t wipe us veterans under your boot and think we’ll stay there. We’re fighters, we got these scars fighting and we won’t stay there long. Don’t brush us under the rug in chasing some imaginary white rabbit of deficit reduction. Don’t again make us casualties of a war of ideology. I’m tired of being in the shitty end of the stick in right wing delusional thrash cycle.

The VA is important. This is not a debt that is owed to me, this is a covenant from America to be kept. How can we fight for our country with the thought in our heads that we are expendable, that we are consumed in use overseas. That when we come home our sacrifice means nothing because the billionaires that benefit most from our fighting have decided they don’t want to pay 3% more in taxes. I’m sorry their patriotism doesn’t extend past their checkbook and can only be found in hackneyed platitudes of press statements from right wing think tanks that work for them and on the misspelled, offensive posters of supposed Tea Party “Patriots.”

Fund the VA every penny it needs. Tax every American that reaps the benefits of the security gained from the sacrifice of veterans to pay for it. Tax defense contractors that have reaped a whirlwind of profits from these two wars enough to make the war unprofitable to them just like we did in WWII. Take away the loopholes and shelters for corporations like GE, largest defense contractor in the US, and BP, largest US defense oil contracts, that paid $0 in taxes last year. Tax them until it hurts and it’s paid for.

Grow a spine, man up, put on some man pants and let’s be the country we once were. One that respected and appreciated the sacrifice of the warrior enough to ensure the wounds they received in defense of their country were treated, cared for and healed. Let’s be the patriots our grandparents were and not the faux-patriots the right-wing prides itself on being as guise to dupe people into voting against their best interests.

Let’s be the country we were under FDR. I for one don’t understand the brand of patriotism exhibited by people like Sewell Avery, CEO of Montgomery Ward in the 1940s. Mr. Avery didn’t want to pay his fair share of taxes to pay for WWII. The difference is that when he didn’t pay, FDR sent the national guard down to his office to arrest him and made an example of him and his faux-patriotism that puts profits before country. He was required to pay $30,000 and to put it in perspective in the 1950s he retired with a fortune worth more than $300 million, much of that from war profiteering. Don’t you think he owed a little back to the country that gave him the security, opportunity, roads to make that fortune possible?

So don’t wave your flag and yell about supporting the troops until you’re ready to put your money where your mouth is, or to make hold your corporate overlords accountable and have them do the same.