Few issues on the American landscape are more sacred, more immune to partisan feuding than supporting our returning soldiers.
Most people, pro-war or against, wouldn’t dare deny soldiers accessible, affordable quality healthcare, nor should we willing to let even one soldier suffer or die waiting months to see a doctor.
Who isn’t stopped in her tracks by the sight of a soldier at a gas station, grocery store or on the street? We’re stirred by what the uniform means to us as Americans and what the uniform means to our soldiers, their physical and psychological lives often permanently re-arranged, their minds chronically on alert and out of sync with the non-combative world.
And so we thank our soldiers for their service, a quick respectful acknowledgement for work too profound and unfamiliar, yet directly responsible for our freedoms.
Yesterday our nation actualized gratitude to our soldiers when the President signed a $16.3 billion plan to help ease health care delays at Veterans Affairs facilities.
Soldiers we can all agree, are entitled.
And yet when we think of non-military citizens and entitlements, they are The Lazy, The System Parasites. And indeed, parasitic people exist. Families who grow up in a cycle of poverty and payout or for the first time get a taste of free money and despite small avenues and alternatives that (might) peek through the cracks, they forever remain on the dole.
Or, perhaps someone is the first in his/her family to get food stamps, disability, Medicaid or WICA due to a series of events that unraveled their once economic stability. Suddenly the taste of something for nothing addicts them to the payer system like Pavlov’s dog, forever enjoying jobless checks and alas, the disincentive to self-motivate and break free perpetuates.
Be poor, get more.
But the facts are, the number of working poor, working homeless, of homeless who want to work and get off the dole, staggers the number of people who can, but won’t.
While veteran entitlements are earned sacred cows, yet we also have men and women who while they don’t fight to protect our nation, they fight to protect their families. Touched by catastrophic illness, job loss, mental health issues, children with special needs, a series of unforeseen unfortunate events leaves thousands of our hardworking willing at the mercy of a hand up.
And so I I argue that if our hard-working and willing veterans deserve a hand up so do our hard-working willing non-veterans who want nothing more than to cut ties to government support and feed back into the payer system that helped them recover and stand proud.
National Alliance to End Homelessness