As I’ve been reading my social media this Veterans Day, I’m seeing the expected sentiments. Sometimes they are simple, like, “Thank a vet!” and sometimes they are a bit more involved, like, “This charity does great work for veterans, please consider giving.” This is all well and good. But, I’m a bit surprised that everyone is so positive. When I see and hear politicians wax poetic about their patriotism and how they support our troops, it makes me angry. It makes me angry because if you look at their actions rather than listen to their words, it seems obvious that many of them, especially the Republicans, hate our veterans.
If you need evidence of this hatred, look here to read about them blocking a bill that would have added $21 billion in education, medical and job training benefits for veterans. Look here to read about attempts to cut disability for veterans. Or look here to read about the VA scandal. And it’s not like this is recent. When the US invaded Iraq, we were putting soldiers in harms way for no reason. Then, they weren’t given the proper protective equipment. And we can go back to the first Gulf War. The soldiers were exposed to toxins, and when they got sick, they were told they weren’t really sick. It took until 2008 for the government to actually admit this was real, let alone do anything to help the victims. You can go all the way back to World War I and the Bonus March.
The way we treat our veterans reminds me of the way the 9/11 first responders were mistreated by the government. It took Jon Stewart’s public shaming of Congress to get these guys some help. If we want anything to change for our veterans, we need to step up. Stop applauding politicians who claim to care about our veterans. Instead, find the politicians who refuse help for the veterans and call them out. Find the politicians who make veterans’ lives more difficult and shame them. By all means, thank a veteran and give to a charity, but always remember that nothing will really change unless we demand change from our government.