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Archive for November 11th, 2019

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“Homeless and at-risk veterans need more than just shelter. We must give them the tools to empower themselves and reclaim the self-worth and dignity which comes from occupying a place in the American dream. It is a dream they fought so hard to defend for the rest of us.”

–  Maria Cuomo Cole, Homelessness advocate and film producer, 2015 Editorial

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Another Veteran’s Day, a day for people to wave flags and serve up praise to the veterans of this nation. Then the day passes and the veteran fades into the haze. Oh, there is still a form of easy worship where people wear flag pins and hats and thank people in uniform for their service. It’s all symbolic and doesn’t help the veterans who have done and sacrificed so much for this country.

Veteran homelessness, depression and suicide rates are at all time highs. Flag pins and passing praise from a stranger on the street do nothing to change that. You would think in a nation where we willingly spend an obscene amount of money for our military–ten times that of Russia, for example– that more of that budget would go toward meaningful advances for the treatment of our veterans.

Instead veterans are shamelessly used as props for politicians, including a president* whose family has never served in the military of this nation. Nor, for that matter, in the country from which they came. The president*’s grandparents attempted to move back to Germany from the USA in the early 1900’s but were turned back because his grandfather had originally left Germany years before to avoid military service.

The sacrifice of veterans is a concept that is totally foreign to this family. This is a family who view the veterans as chumps and their service as a fool’s errand, something only to be exploited for their own gain. This president* openly disparages the service of military men of all ranks once they do not kowtow to his selfish aims.

[Late addition: Can’t believe I left this out but this president* admitted to fraudently using funds, $2.8M,  raised for veterans for his own campaign and legal fees. He was ordered to pay $2M to charities, none of which benefit veterans. Yeah, he loves the military.]

He has it in his power to improve the lot of our men currently in uniform and for our veterans. But while the military budget has increased, most of that money has went to huge corporate defense contractors and profiteers. His kind of people.

Like the prosperity promised from the ludicrous tax cuts, not much has trickled down to the people at the base.

So, you can celebrate Veteran’s Day with your flag pins and a few kind words to a service member and maybe that will pump up your nationalist heart.

But if you truly mean it, try to do something to help veterans. Get involved. See if there are local groups offering veterans outreach and assistance. Contact your congressmen and senators and let them know that you want more for the vets, that you want to stem the tide of the homelessness and suicide that plagues them. Tell them you want to end the income inequality that keeps the American dream for which they fought out of their reach. Tell them you want more than lip service.

Demand more and do something more.

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