Thursday I watched Tom Tarantino the Chief Policy Officer for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America speak about the cuts to veterans benefits passed by Congress last year. These cuts were engineered in secret by Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Patty Murray (D-WA).
This disrespectful action, will save only a pittance in tax dollars, and will cost us dearly in the long run. Could it be that these politicians decided to leverage the military-civilian disconnect to strengthen their political careers? I think so.
Why are veterans due enormous respect?
Our veterans, without ever personally knowing you or me, pledge to risk serious impairment or death, to protect all Americans and our right to get up every morning and live free. They spend their careers being prepared to die for us at any time.
If a veteran never goes to war to defend us, their lives and families still incur more stress and hardships than other American families. They train constantly and their training is realistic so that when they do engage in combat they will be superior. That realism is seriously hard on bodies, not at all like working out in a gym or mowing the lawn.
Frequent moves are also incumbent to life in the military. Children often change schools and friends every few years causing disruptions to life that civilians usually do not incur. Veterans and their families pay a high price for our protection in many ways, thus we owe them a huge debt.
The veteran does not impose upon me how I should live my life. He or she only pledges to give everything they have so that I live unfettered by thugs, terrorists and those who would end my freedom.
The enormity of my statement is lost on a large percentage of our society, and I fear that won’t change any time soon without a catastrophic event, something cataclysmic with immediate effect on a majority of Americans.
Now then, why are Americans so disconnected to the importance of our military, and why will it take a vicious wake-up call to change that? Well, the disconnect between American civilians and the military has always been there. It seems more apparent now because never before in human history, thanks to the internet and cellular phones, have so many people been globally connected by a system that allows anyone to have high visibility. This gives ideological extremists a larger grasp on public opinion.
Part of the problem is that in the last sixty years, primarily through advertising and media support of ideological extremists, we have encouraged people to react and not respond. Response requires one to think before they act, and that is the enemy of those who want to easily control people. In today’s world, control over people’s minds is as easy as a well crafted emotional tweet.
Over the last half century we have supplanted true education with experimentation measured by false metrics, entrusted the teaching of morality to staged reality shows, and replaced traditional dinners, where families sat down together and bonded over nourishing meals prepared from real food by our mothers, wives and sometimes dads and brothers, with easy, nutritionally poor, fast food eaten in noisy restaurants or in front of the television. We’ve allowed our culture to be eroded and the underlying message is that our children are not important enough to invest our time and effort on. Is it any wonder they spend most of their their time with their heads in their phones and tablets?
Of course not all Americas are this way, and some only practice a few of the things that damage our culture. But the net effect is a society where the percentage of people raised without positive traditions and culture has increased to a level where they have significant power and the ability to not only influence American public awareness and opinion, but to make it in accordance with their current whim.
So if a member of the military commits a crime it get’s blown out of proportion. For example, the incidence of rape in the military is lower than that of society at large, yet Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) went ballistic on a four star general last March during a congressional hearing on military funding. She hijacked the hearing and with highly irrational ranting and made it seem as if rape was endemic to the military.
Senator McCaskill was on camera and her outrage was being broadcast for all the world to see. Methinks she was trying to persuade her female constituents that she was being a good steward of their interests by beating up any military man she could find. It was her TV show and she was going to get good ratings no matter who she harmed in doing so. The hysteria in the media over a perceived military rape fest continues today, even though the numbers show a woman is less likely to be raped if she’s in the military.
How do we insulate ourselves from this sort of behavior? Short of a national catastrophe, the only way to return our nation to a society of rational people, and diminish the gulf between American civilians and our military is through education.
Over the last six decades we have failed in educating our children. We must return to true teaching that includes helping children become self-reliant, our traditions have to be more than a fast food meal, and rather than simply paying lip service to the many cultures that make up America, we have to respectfully include them.
The starting point is making our public schools a safe place where discipline and study rule the day. But our public schools are a joke. We must change that and we should take a heed of Dr. Condoleezza Rice’s grandfather’s dedication in furthering the education of poor black children. He sought funds from any source he could, he insisted on new, up-to-date materials for his students, he went door-to-door in poor neighborhoods and spoke with parents about the importance of sending their children to colleges, and he went to the colleges and secured places for his students.1 We must find the kind of zeal and love he had for black children, and apply it to all the children of America.
Without the kind of hands-on dedication that Dr. Rice’s grandfather had, we will, as a nation, become more and more irrational, governed by only our emotions, be prey for every tyrant and bully who wants to control us and make us slaves, and we will continue to fail to appreciate those who give us our freedom because we’re not thinking about anything but the incident of the moment. It would be sad if we only come to our senses after we are viciously bloodied by some despot bent on destroying freedom.
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1 Condoleezza Rice, Extraordinary, Ordinary People, (Delacorte Press 2010), Kindle e- book, locations 238-255.
Jan 25, 2014 – Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center, Bridgeport, Calif. – – Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center, Bridgeport, Calif. – A Marine with 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, waits to ascend the first of many hills during a grueling hike, with 90 pound packs, at the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport, Calif. To gain an expeditionary mindset the Marines and Sailors of 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines and Ragnarok Co., 2nd Marine Logistics Company, conducted a 10-day field exercise, which consisted of long range day and night foot movement through extremely rugged terrain with drastic elevation changes and tested the Marines’ endurance. – Photo By: Staff Sgt. Steve Cushman