Memorial Day and Country Vs. Government Attitude

Written by Chuck Gruenwald on May 25, 2014

As Memorial Day, 2014 approaches, may everyone who has sacrificed their future for the futures of many more Americans, both living and yet to be conceived – as well as the families of those most unselfish individuals – be remembered in our prayers as a continuation of the earned gratitude that is expressed on the last Monday of every May.

My country has never let me down. However, when my government grows and operates outside of the borders that were established by the Founding Fathers over two-hundred years ago, that government never fails to disappoint.

Perhaps it was necessary for stories of corruption, incompetence and negligence within the management structure of the Veterans’ Administration to receive so much publicity before Memorial Day. In addition to the forty known victims of a bureaucracy in its truest form, many more victims await recognition.

Random stories of veterans being chewed-up in the gears of a morally-bankrupt VA, such as a mold infestation at Walter Reed Hospital, have occasionally received publicity. But, it has taken news of bureaucrats placing bonuses over the lives of people who had made those bonuses – plus much more possible, to nudge at least part of the media to address the top-down dysfunction of government-controlled health care.

As of Thursday night, the US House of Representatives had passed a bill that would simplify removing incompetent leaders within the VA. As for the Senate, it was the usual course of non-action; a typical response from a once-respected house within the Legislative Branch of government that has shamelessly embraced the corruption, incompetence and negligence that an unelected American citizen would have gone to prison for emulating.

As this story takes on the proverbial “life of its own,” it may prove just how much respect – or contempt — that our elected leaders have for those whom they have the power to send to war.

In 2005, Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor Catherine Baker-Knoll crashed Marine Staff Sergeant Joseph Goodrich’s funeral for the sole purpose of shamelessly campaigning and spewing her anti-war opinions. Keep in mind that the funerals for Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone and Rosa Parks had been crashed by self-serving individuals with a political agenda, so to some, “respect for the dead” is merely a suggestion.

Speaking of respecting the dead, how many fallen American troops have had not only their names desecrated, but the convictions of what they had fought for insulted by having fraudulent votes cast in their names after their deaths?

When a civilian politician, such as Barbara “call me Senator” Boxer, insults a member of the military, such actions border on unforgivable. When a past or present member of the military – who is also a politician, uses his or her office to either exploit the Armed Forces or their members, then those politicians’ motives for holding public office need questioning.

Arizona Senator John McCain had voted in the past to cut veterans’ benefits, yet any planned cuts to his benefits as a Senator are unlikely. Illinois Senator Mark Kirk had exaggerated his accomplishments in the Navy while running for the Senate in 2010. After being caught in this lie, he responded in the traditional Illinois politician manner: he went into hiding for several weeks.

Politicians like to call themselves “public servants.” However, this description is usually uttered by those who have just been convicted of abusing the elected offices that they were supposed to hold with honor, and are heading back home to prepare for their next term – in prison. In contrast, Soldiers, Marines, Sailors and Airmen – true public servants, will not toss that phrase around flippantly. When these true defenders of our Republic act beyond what is expected, they usually respond with modesty – usually “I’m only doing my job.” Those who humble themselves…

If the politicians and bureaucrats whom we expect to run our government refuse to respect the lives of those who have earned their care, imagine the contempt and lack of respect that they have for all Americans, and their country.

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Born in Chicago and raised in northwest suburban Cook County, Chuck Gruenwald developed an unfavorable opinion of machine politics quite early in life. In addition to cars, electronics, law enforcement, and politics, Chuck enjoys writing, and is also a horse racing fan. He has recently written op-eds for