One nice thing about the current controversy at the VA is that some of us older folks are seeing something we thought might never occur again in this country. There are extremists and people all along the continuum between the extremes uniting, this time in their disgust. Of course, much that we hear from politicians is what they perceive must be said if they are to be reelected. As that simply reflects the mood of the nation, it is good for all of us.
We have spoken of the warrior class here upon occasion. Most of polite society wants a warrior class to protect them but otherwise does not want to hear about them. While they certainly don’t want to see the warrior class mistreated, in general society doesn’t want to hear about the details. Society makes a contract with the warriors and expects others to fulfill the contractual agreement.
A couple of things are occurring now which has the average citizen upset. It is as if the bureaucrats of the VA are rubbing the noses of society in their incompetence and corruption while simultaneously thumbing their noses at the same citizens, as if daring them to do something about it. We may be in the midst of a showdown here, one where the bureaucrats are so threatened by the citizens who pay them that they are playing some sort of game, risking their very livelihoods, in defiance of all efforts to hold them accountable. It doesn’t matter now whether the Congress critters asking the questions are from the right or the left, the bureaucrats are refusing to answer even the simplest of questions or to even account for themselves.
It almost happened during the hearings involving the IRS. There is such a universal dislike for the IRS that the citizens almost got interested in the scandal. But the media managed to quash that one, in large part due to it being a polarizing thing depending upon your political view – the bully on the playground won that round.
This is different. What many in the media, government, and even our own representatives fail to understand is that the United States military is perhaps the most egalitarian organization in history. Every segment of society is represented in it. Even though many citizens have no direct knowledge of it, almost every family in the country has at least a shoestring cousin who was or is in military service. No family wants their cousin, grandfather, uncle, or brother to be mistreated by the VA even if they never met their veteran family member. Add to that number those who have a school chum, neighbor, or other acquaintance who enlisted, and the citizens negatively impacted by the news of veterans being mistreated by the VA becomes significantly more than a majority of the country.
So, while other issues have captured the attention of some citizens, this mess at the VA has drawn the undivided attention of the overwhelming majority in this country. Demands are being made and they are coming from people whose main interest otherwise might be the next whatever star, nuclear physics, tactical something or another, and every other thing that people do for a living or for amusement.
The reasons for these demands vary among the population. Some folks want it done right simply because it is the right thing to do. These people take a contractual agreement as an obligation which must be fulfilled at all cost. Others have a well earned soft spot for veterans and think they should be cared for at least as well as illegal aliens and welfare queens. Many others just want our warrior class rewarded for being our warriors, but they don’t want to hear about it.
That is part of the problem. Many of our citizens just don’t want to hear about it but are being forced to hear what is shocking to them. Now that they are engaged, they have added quite a lot of volume to the already resonating voices objecting to the neglect of this country’s veterans. The bureaucrats may come to regret awakening that bunch of folks. They may discover that it would have been much easier for them had they just done their jobs when given the opportunity to serve the veterans of this country.
Perhaps the stories such as the one this week from Kansas City will become highly unusual instead of common place. No veteran should ever be kept from the medical attention he deserves and is eligible for, has been diagnosed as needing, has reported for, but is blocked by gatekeepers between him and the healthcare professionals willing and able to give him their attention. In his desperation, this warrior reached out to the people we all pay to take care for him. Instead of being treated, he was refused treatment and told to leave the lobby of the VA hospital responsible for his care.
We can only pray that Isaac Sims will be among the last who die as a result of the abomination that the VA has become. Rest easy now, Isaac. We will hold those who contributed to your early departure from us accountable for their failures.