****My progressive friends over at Momocrats recently posted a piece about caring for our veterans. I started to comment, but the comment would up being so long, I figured I would make a post out if it, myself. When you finish this, please go give them a read.****
Historically, our country hasn't given a rat's ass about it's veterans.
Here is a little story about how much our government cares.
I left the Marine Corps in 1989, after eight years of service. Just before the date of my Honorable Discharge from the service, the 2nd Marine Division herded (yes, herded) all of us who were out-processing, into a large auditorium... our pre-discharge paperwork was all neatly arranged and mostly filled out. We were instructed to fill out specific things like forwarding addresses for mail... and in case Uncle Sam required our services again (whether we liked it or not).
We were almost done when one of the Warrant Officers in charge of the briefing said "How many of you have service-related injuries?" A loud laugh went up and so did our hands. This briefing was for Marines who were all coming out of the combat regiments in the Division... all of us had hurt either our shoulders, backs, knees, ankles, feet, hearing loss (artillery and Machine-guns will do that for you!), and other injuries that a modern Infantryman, Artilleryman, or Tank crewman often suffer.
Seeing this, the officer told us to fill out THE YELLOW FORM (I think it was yellow) so we could all be placed on medical hold... for 6 months to two years. All the hands went down.
Do you know why?
Because no one had bothered to tell us about this.
I think they got the precise reaction that they wanted... they wanted us to just go home without treatment. It was easier... and cheaper. These men had jobs waiting... and wives & children waiting... they had their lives waiting for them. Lives they (we) had put on hold to serve our country. So what did we do? We left. We took our discharges and got on with our lives. Little did we realize that we wouldn't be young forever. We didn't realize that some day we'd be forty... and fifty. We didn't know that those irritating pains we suffered in our youth would be debilitating before we were old.
They don't call it the Infantry for nothing, you know. We were all teenagers when we
drank the Kool-Aid enlisted. We had our youth, we were invincible... who knew that our country wouldn't, despite the "support-the-troops" bullshit rhetoric, give a damn about our health in the future?
As much as I honor my service, and as much pride as I have at having been part of the biggest, baddest fraternity ever created in this country, I am somewhat embittered about the treatment we received. I am reminded daily when I get out of bed and my ankles pop, then my knees, and then my back, and then when my shoulder can only do certain things.
The truth is that governments only give a shit about soldiers when there is a war on... and they only care then, if you are healthy enough to get back into the fight if you were wounded... If not, it's F*** You, and the armored vehicle you rode in on... unless, of course, you were in the Infantry, like me, in which case you arrived on foot, carrying over a hundred pounds worth of weapons, gear, and ammunition.
As I mentioned earlier, my mother is very ill. This illness will likely kill her, and sooner rather than later.
My mother and I have not had a great relationship over the past several years. No. That's not right. We've never had a great relationship in my entire adult life (sorry, this isn't a time for soft-soaping). I don't call her very much, because for the past several years, the conversations could get downright ugly. All of this is a story for another time, but is relevant to what I want to talk about today.
Today, I want to talk about dignity for the dying.
Dignity. It means a lot to people, doesn't it? Well, it does to me, anyway.
My own contribution to my mother's dignity through her illness has been to talk to her. Not to mourn her before she is gone... not to show my duty in the concern in my voice. Just to talk to her.
When my mother had exploratory surgery nearly two weeks ago, the surgeon removed her tonsils, as they were cancerous, too. I waited a few days before calling, because I know that she needed to rest her voice. Since then, I have been calling every night or so, just to talk about small things... but mostly, we talk about movies and television. The last time I talked to mom, we shared a long laugh about a television weatherman who we used to love to watch. His name was Lloyd Lindsey-Young, and he was the on-camera weatherman for WOR channel 9.
Lloyd Lindsey-Young was a frenetic and funny guy. He told jokes, He had funny stories, and being the jovial guy that he was, he had a following. His followers were usually older women, and he would regularly shout birthday greetings somewhere in his forecast. While he was giving the weather in his own... special way, he would stop, and
say shout: "Helloooooooooooooooooooooooo NEW JERSEY!" and wish a happy birthday to a particular viewer. The other night, my mother and I laughed so hard, while we talked about this guy, that I thought I might faint.
It was a nice conversation... mostly.
That, my friends, is my point (sorry I took so long to get to it): My mother is ill, and will likely die. I know it, and she sure as hell knows it, so why make anything worse ? If having some normal conversation will allow my mother to keep some measure of dignity while everyone else around her looks concerned and wrings their hands, that's what I'll do.
It makes her feel better.
* I was going to end with something deep and philosophical this morning... but truthfully, the words won't come.
Hi... my name is Gunfighter, what's yours?
I have been pating attention to the traffic here at A Modern Warrior's Life, and I notice you. You visit, sometimes frquently, yet I never hear from you. Why is that? Apparaently you find my content interesting... or at least so horrible, that it is like watching a different train-wreck every day.
I have to tell you that your silence most offends me (c'mon, without Googling, somebody tell me where that line comes from!). If you are reading this and you have never commented before... jump in, I promise not to bite you... at least not too hard.
So. Come out, come out, wherever you are! You lot in Adelaide, Melbourne, and Sydney Australia... let's talk Rugby or Footy. Whoever is reading this, looking for information about Kilts in Belgrade, Serbia, let me answer your questions... and tell me what you are doing in Belgrade? Let me guess, you are a bored embassy worker on the night shift. No worries, I won't tell.
Closer to home, Helloooooooooooooooooo New Jersey! (again, without Googling, tell me the reference), I see you up there in Morristown... home of Fairleigh Dickinson (or Fairly Ridiculous, as we said when I was a kid).
I want all of you to come out of hiding so I can say hello right back.
C'mon, you know you want to.
I wrote this on Sunday evening.
It's a beautiful early Sunday evening. I am sitting on our lower deck, waiting for the coals to turn from charcoal black, to that fine, nearly white ashen color that will tell me that they are ready to cook the tenderloin that I will sere to my family this evening.
The sounds of the holiday weekend are all around: the light traffic on the street that runs behind my house is there... so is the drip from the hose that I keep running whenever the grill is operating. The hum of the central air conditioning unit is ever-present, but not bothersome, and the temperature is just right.
In the deck above me, Soccer Girl is having a snack and reading one of her books. She is tired, having just returned from the swimming pool with Mrs GF. We worked in the yard for a few hours today, and made great strides in getting the back garden ready for spring.
The air is fragrant with the smoke a fine Maduro cigar, and there is a pint of Stone India Pale Ale at my side. I can sleep in, tomorrow. All is should be right with my world.
Unfortunately, that isn't the case.
I intentionally did not post any wild flings at Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday, after hearing her rambling, semi-coherent discussion of staying in the Democratic nomination race until June, because that's when her husband seized the nomination... and when Robert Kennedy was assassinated.
I wanted to wait to post until most of the furor died down, and take this rationally.
No, I'm not leading into an Olberman-like rant. I don't have to do that... because my man Keith did a fine job Friday night. No. Instead I am going to tell you why I believe that Senator Clinton isn't worthy of the highest office in the land.
If you have been paying any attention to the storm of controversy about these remarks, you surely know, by now, that the junior Senator from New York didn't make these remarks off-the-cuff. Apparently, the good Senator has been saying words to this effect since March.
Why would she, being as smart as I believe she is, say anything about her husband clinching the nomination in California... in June? The California primary isn't IN June anymore. Any bump she might have gotten from a big state like California has already happened. So since the California primary isn't going to put her over the top, and we have to presume that she knows this, what's the big selling point? Could it really be that she is staying in the race in case someone murders the presumptive nominee? Is she waiting in the wings, like some horrible ghoul?
No. I don't think so, either.
However... it isn't all that much of a stretch to believe that this is indeed the case considering the rather disgusting race-baiting that her campaign has involved with almost from the start. No, you can practically hear the coded message that says: "Don't vote for Obama. He's black, and sure to be murdered by a hardworkingwhiteAmerican racist. Vote for me instead. A lot of people dislike me... but look, I'm white"
Do I think that was the message? Possibly, but to tell you the truth, I can't know her mind. That said, I'll just have to take her statements, and follow-on statements as truth. She wasn't saying that she'll stay in the race because Obama might be assassinated. She'll stay in because it ain't over until it's over. Fine. Whatever. Frankly, I think she SHOULD finish it up. Great. Maybe after Obama is inaugurated, she can do something in his cabinet. Like be Secretary of The Interior... or EPA or something like that. Maybe she could be Secretary of Defense, what, with all of her combat experience in Bosnia, but I digress. My apologies.
So, I said earlier that I would discuss my reasoning for why Senator Clinton shouldn't be President. I guess I'd better get started.
Senator Clinton has truth issues. As I mentioned in jest earlier. She just made up that whole thing about being under fire in Bosnia. It wasn't a misstatement. You remember getting shot at. She wasn't shot at in Bosnia. She wasn't thinking about some other time or place where she had been under fire. She has never been under fire. Not in Bosnia, nor anywhere else. It was a complete fabrication. What they call that, Senator, is A LIE. I won't even get into the whole "experience" red-herring that her people have been throwing around. Let's just say much of her "experience" is as fabricated as that bullshit about Bosnia, and leave it at that.
Senator Clinton is a divisive race-baiter. Yes, I realize that some of her most staunch apologists don't care about this, but I'm going to call bullshit on them right here, right f***ing now. Clinton's defenders were quiet when Ed Rendell, Governor of Pennsylvania, said that he knows that a lot of conservative white Pennsylvanians won't vote for Obama because of the color of his skin. Sure, it wasn't Clinton talking, but you should note that her campaign never rebuked Rendell for saying it. I suppose he was just bucking for a job in her administration.
Her defenders were also quiet when Clinton's primary wins in Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia, and Kentucky (turns out she didn't really win in Texas) led her to claim that "hard-working white people" that are on board with her. Way to go, Senator. Divide the party by race and class. Nice. Hey, I thought that we weren't supposed to BE LIKE THAT IN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY! I guess that only counts when you aren't getting your ass kicked.
Senator Clinton has judgement issues: As you all know, I have said from the outset that I wouldn't support any candidate that said "yes" to giving George W. Bush permission to invade Iraq. I said it. I meant it, and I stand by that (hey, what good are you if you won't take a moral stand somewhere?). If Senator Clinton is to be believed... she made her vote based on the intelligence that was presented by the administration. Fine... I didn't buy it, and you probably didn't either. That's because you have an IQ somethin slightly higher than a turnip. I didn't believe it, and I don't think she did, either. Having said that... what if that were the real truth? What if she really bought that crap? If she is telling us the truth, that is confirmation that Senator Clinton is about as smart as a box of rocks. I mean, really, you bought that bullshit? You believed that crap about the "Yellowcake Uranium"? You really believed that "Mobile chemical lab" horseshit that the disgraceful Colin Powell took to the UN? You believed that? Dude! What kind of an idiot are you? Someone who is that dumb will believe anything, and if you'll believe anything, you have no business being in the Oval Office.
Please note that Senator Clinton's only child hasn't seen fit, much like the Bush twins AND Jenna's new husband, to join our armed forces, nor have they been encouraged to do so by their parents. I guess Senator Clinton, much like the majority of the entitled class in this country, doesn't believe that they should serve in any capacity at risk to their own asses. I guess they'll leave that up to the working class.
Lastly, I have to say that even if all of the above weren't true. You have to ask yourself if someone who is as careless with her speech as Senator Clinton clearly is, has the capacity to focus hard enough to be President? Clearly, in Senator Clinton's case, the answer is a resounding no.
PS: It's time for some youth in the White House. It's time for some focus. It's time for some principle. Senator Clinton is past it. Her generation has had it's chance.