I want to express my concern for the well-being of every member of Congress who experienced a harrowing 10-15 minutes under weapons fire. I recognize that this event was difficult and tragic for many reasons.
As I watched the news today, the impact of this trauma was showed clearly on the faces of those present. Congressmen are in shock. The experience shows in their eyes and their speech is affected. Some men will tell their story to everyone who will listen. Others will clam up and slowly show signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Many will experience the impact of this tragedy for the rest of their lives. A few changed congressmen will leave political life. Still others will find themselves so unable to concentrate they may never be able to work again.
With this in mind, I wish to mention the proposed budget plans that cut the unemployability benefits to older veterans. What happened today was an outrage as well as an excellent way to explain the problems of Korean War and Vietnam Veterans. These men and women experienced repeated and extended durations of days, weeks, months and years under weapons fire. Not 10-15 minutes.
Many veterans returned home unable to work due to an exaggerated startle effect, experiences of increased anger, and out-of-control reliving experiences known as flashbacks. Most have severe sleep disturbance and a driving need to avoid crowds of people.
The outrageous error in logic behind this proposed cut has to do with the assumption that someone who is unemployable earned enough social security credits to live on Social Security. Think about this for a moment. Several lawmakers known for public speaking appeared on television today unable to gather their thoughts or engage in their normal activities. It was obvious as I watched.
Today’s tragedy was the impact of 10 minutes. Imagine living under that kind of pressure for years in a war zone. And then picture someone returning home trying to work on their normal job or any employment at all.
Vietnam Veterans returned home to people spitting on them. There were no parades, no honor, just jeering crowds berating their service. This action against those brave men and women who served their country is seems like another act of spitting on them years later.
I hope our lawmakers remember this backdrop as they vote on this budget. It is a true betrayal of our elderly veterans. Younger veterans should take note. If the government can betray a small selection of veterans, they can betray anyone. Any veteran at all.
The Veterans Administration plans to use the money they take from older veterans to pay for the new “Choice Program.” This is a program that does not work due to the inability of the VA to pay medical contractors in a timely manner if at all (private conversation with a service provider).
Should this egregious plan go through, it’s a safe bet that within 3 months people will lose their homes and then their lives. Can our lawmakers live with that?
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©2017 by Laura Coleman, Ph.D. All rights reserved.
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