This May Become a Regular Thing

So, it came and went. That special day when we’re all supposed to get together and remember those who selflessly gave so much for our benefit. And now with Veterans Day safely behind us for another year we can go back to worrying about the President quoting scripture. Or better yet we can just natter about how morally corrupt we’ve become because we cannot feel comfortable in our own skin when someone wishes us “Happy Holidays.”

Still a Thing

Nothing ever changes, does it? For one brief moment in time every year we pay lip service to vets and then happily and somewhat idiotically proceed through life as if none of that really matters. A thank you, a hand shake and a wreath somehow make up for the debt we owe.

We’d like to imagine that there are “programs” in place to help. However, the Veteran’s Administration isn’t really set up to help, it’s an organization so full of loopholes, catch-22’s and caveats it makes the Army’s “hurry-up, and wait” bullshit appear almost efficient. This despite the best intentions of the people working and continuing to serve therein.

Right now Republicans are overly worried about too many brown people getting into their country; they remain predictably and ignominiously indifferent to the 22 vets per day that end their own suffering. Democrats? Yeah, like anyone cares. Had they a coherent platform which demanded a minimum bar of social justice they wouldn’t have been so sorely trounced in this last election cycle. Yet, with winter coming down in suffocating waves of cold there will predictably be at least 50,000 veterans sleeping under bridges and tucked away behind brambles. Those mules cannot even bring our plight to the table for debate, let alone do anything about it. The American political system done let us down.

Not that I believe such an indictment could ever metamorphose into prognosis, but this systemic malfunction of our society, I believe, prognosticates our demise. Here in America there seems to be a fundamental lack of concern. We don’t repair our bridges, we don’t take care of our veterans. And we’re predictably surprised when the former collapses from below us, and the latter turns and bites.

I-35W St. Anthony Bridge collapse in Minnesota, 2008

So yeah, I’m going to bring this up over and over again. Often, I feel like the operations guy at the software company who has to perpetually harp on the idea that system maintenance is critical and necessary component of expected up-time. If you don’t do what is necessary to maintain what you’ve already got, don’t be surprised when it fails making anything impossible. American’s love the idea that they are somehow exceptional. But we cannot rise above everyone else if our base is crumbling. Veterans, yeah these people are our foundation. But they’re just people; not heroes, not fantastical Übermensch on the march. People with failings, who lack vision, and most often, people who’ve lost their tribe.


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