I have a feeling these 40 dead veterans are just the tip of the iceberg. Doesn’t seem right that they could have been so docile, my only theory is depression over their powerlessness.
We routinely say “thank you for your service” to people our great democracy has fucked over so many times in recent years. Redeployed over and over, deployments extended, sent into combat without combat armor against non-uniformed insurgent armies whose main weapon is the roadside bomb, criticized by the former Secretary of War (“we fight with the army we have, not necessarily the one we might like”), kept alive, due to advances in technology, with traumatic and disabling injuries that would have killed them even 15 years ago. It’s hard to imagine who among them would NOT have PTSD, something the military resists diagnosing, since so many soldiers would rightfully use it as a reason to get sent home. Let us not forget, hyper-masculine army culture prevents many soldiers from admitting they are depressed, anxious, in a panic whenever they hear noise.
Suicide has become the leading cause of death for our military lately. I’m sure they feel hopeless, are promised over and over that they’ll get the life saving services they need and– uh, maybe next month. Hang in there, buddy! Have a nice day!
To me it’s a mindless extension of the selfish notion that everything, including schools, should be “privatized”, run with both eyes on the bottom line, with the attendant diminution of the value of human life (unless, of course, that human is wealthy). The corporate mentality — hide inconvenient things, have robots answer phones so you don’t have to pay people to do it, screw the customer if they don’t like it, pay yourself first, maximize profits in every possible way, change the laws to keep more profit, and, above all, get your bonus. Why the hell would you give pay incentives to VA administrators for properly running their hospitals in the first place?
This country may never have been the place it pretended to be, but it is worse now, in terms of the partisan hatred afoot, than at any time since the Civil War (or for the 100 years after that if you were what was nonchalantly called a ‘nigger’, especially if you didn’t know how to act). I read about that June 21, 1964 lynching in Neshoba County, Mississippi the other day and shuddered to think I was alive and in 3rd grade when it happened, ten days after my 8th birthday. This is not ancient history.
Around that time local racists sent my mother’s friend Mildred Rose an anonymous letter, on whose envelope some hate-twisted coward had scrawled COMMIE. Mildred was a Commie (and my mother too, for that matter) because she supported busing to achieve racial integration TEN YEARS after Brown v. Bd. of Education. Talk about incrementalism. Schools are as segregated now, I’d wager, as they were in 1953. All deliberate speed, yes indeed.
Apparently when Senator Eastland pushed for the overtly racist William Cox (who first dismissed the indictments against most of the lynch mob who killed three young men, after burning down the black church they were using to organize a voting drive) to be appointed to the federal bench in Mississippi he told Robert Kennedy “tell your brother to appoint him and I’ll let you have the nigger”. The nigger was Thurgood Marshall, who got a seat on some appellate court without the dixiecrat’s opposition.
This country has traditionally been very bad for (apologies in advance to anyone offended) homos, niggers, spics, Jews (I still like that we get that capital letter), Asians, Native Americans, socialists, intellectuals, a lot of other people. I heard the other day that homosexuality was listed in the DSM until 1973, the year I graduated high school. No wonder Ricky S____ was so coy about staying in the closet, light in the loafers and giggly though he also was (when not tearfully depressed). Being gay was a shameful mental illness, the experts said so, don’t you know? Many teenagers still kill themselves every day because of homophobia, in spite of a more nuanced understanding of homosexuality, and great social advances in attitudes toward it.
In certain ways we’re better as a nation now, in some ways much worse. That profit drives everything and money equals speech may be the end of the game for democracy, no sense to even pretend otherwise. I give $100 to some cause, everyone I know does the same. Charles and David Koch kick in $1,000,000 and let’s just call that all Free Speech, how about it? Can you say it with me, boys? Free speech in the Free Market, Freedom on the damned march, get out of the way if you hate our freedom.
And the best part for those with the means to effectively exercise their free speech, you can buy your free speech anonymously, if your lawyers set up a 501(c)(4) nonprofit political action committee (PAC). What Commies disparagingly call Dark Money is really a robust expression of freedom, in the opinion of those efficiently influencing elections and legislation.
On the other hand, can anyone tell me why a PAC is tax exempt, just like a charitable nonprofit prohibited by law from engaging in political action of any kind on pain of losing its tax exempt status? Can anyone tell me why a 501(c)(4) is not required to disclose who funds it?
The answer, of course, is as self-evident as the proposition that all men are created equal. It is the same reason a dog licks its privates. Because it can. Since money equals speech, those with the most money get to lick, or be licked, wherever they want, since it’s a parliament of pandering prostitutes. Freedom is a beautiful thing, to those free to enjoy it.
But enough ranting, time to shave and exercise some of my other inalienable rights. Goddamned shame about the way this country treats those brave souls we send into hell and then thank for their service, as we tell them to have a very nice day and let them wait, on secret lists, to die. A small percentage of the corporate taxes unpaid by GE, Exxon, Apple and their ilk could fund a first rate health care system for veterans, but that would be so damned unfair to corporate CEOs!