Every year on Veterans Day, I get a number of press releases from lawmakers in Congress about how our veterans should be honored and their sacrifices remembered on this day. However, before lawmakers make these statements, perhaps they should think about how exactly they have honored our veterans -- or shall I just cut to the chase and say haven't honored our veterans?It is sad that "support our troops" is only used by many politicians as a political talking point when millions of veterans have been abandoned by the government they fought for. Thirteen percent of the
homeless population in this country are veterans. Roughly a quarter of veterans who seek care from VA facilities suffer from PTSD and/or TBI, but the VA does not have the means to be able to effectively treat these afflictions and can only give our veterans subpar treatment at best in many cases.
The very fact that some lawmakers were willing to jeopardize veteran benefits and use our veterans for face time and political talking points during the government shutdown for the sake of politics shows how little our troops and our veterans actually mean to lawmakers who are only concerned about re-election and being primary'd out. Partisan politics is put in front of the people our government promised not to forsake.
Our veterans were willing to put country above all else, but many lawmakers in Congress can't honor the men and women who have served -- and are currently serving -- this country by doing the same. Special interests, political consultants, and small ideological voting blocs are put ahead of working together to find the most practical and pragmatic solutions to our nation's biggest problems. Lawmakers are too busy looking ahead to their next primary election to see the issues right in front of them.
When is the last time lawmakers worked together to pass substantive legislation to help veterans struggling to make a living? What about addressing the ongoing problem of military sexual trauma, which 85,000 veterans sought treatment for in 2012? What about fixing sequestration, which would not only help economic growth, but would increase the resources available to the VA and military health agencies to treat serious afflictions like PTSD, increase the funding available to keep veterans off the streets, and would help military families nationwide?
The only legislation we get from Congress is the bare minimum of what House Republicans and Senate Democrats are willing to agree on. In many cases, so called "bipartisan" legislation doesn't actually do anything to address the problem, much less fix it. Hyper-partisan gridlock does not honor those who were and are willing to sacrifice everything for the United States.It's time for change.