Sunday, September 23, 2012

Senate Republicans to veterans: your future not as important as ours

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell at a legislative press conference.
Shrewd politics or business as usual?  Senate Republicans have said unequivocally that it is more important to them to deny Obama a legislative victory before an election, than it is to do the right thing for our nation’s men and women in uniform.
S.3457, the Veterans Jobs Corps Act of 2012, was a $1 billion jobs package that proposed the establishment of a veterans jobs corps that would have put up to 20,000 veterans to work in their local communities over the next five years.
The bill, which came up on the senate floor for a vote on Wednesday, September 19, called for job openings to be created in “conservation, resource management, and historic preservation projects on public lands and maintenance and improvement projects for cemeteries under the jurisdiction of the National Cemetery Administration; and as firefighters and law enforcement officers.”
Acting in true form, however, senate Republicans, many of whom had spent the better part of the Republican National Convention touting the importance of job creation and veterans’ benefits, voted rank-and-file against the bill, merely to deny President Obama a legislative victory before the general election in November.
Just what are we telling the some 800,000 unemployed veterans in this country?  What message are we sending to the next generation?  That it is okay to place politics ahead of the needs of our nation’s defenders; the men and women who sacrificed and bled bravely for our country?  Need we even be reminded of how many of these men and women never came home?  Is their memory and the honor, courage and sacrifice of those veterans who did make it home not worth the commitment of our government to do the right thing, partisan politics aside?
What about all these politicians who spend so much time saying that caring for America’s veterans is our country’s “most sacred duty”?
“The fact is, it’s a national disgrace that veterans’ unemployment is 14 percent,” said Sen. John McCain, directly to the face of veteran and citizen journalist Meg Lanker-Simons at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, “That’s a national disgrace. And we’ve got to try to find more ways and better ways to hire veterans. And that has got to be our highest priority.”
Right on, Sen. McCain!  Well said!  Few people in this country would disagree.
So why then, a few short weeks later, did you vote to kill the Veterans Jobs Corps Act, right before you voted yourself and your fellow senators on vacation for the remainder of the election?
“We already have six veterans’ job-training programs, but what the heck? Let’s, ah, let's have another one,” said McCain in a sarcastic tone on the floor of the United States Senate.  I wonder, where, then, was all this “national disgrace” impetus that characterized his remarks to that veteran at the RNC?
“Instead of meeting us halfway, we have been met with resistance. Instead of saying yes to the nearly 1 million unemployed veterans, it seems some on the other side have spent the last week and a half seeking any way to say no,” said Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington.
And there we’ve hit the proverbial nail right on the head, haven’t we?  From as far back as 2009’s rise of the Tea Party to Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s now infamous remark that “our top political priority over the next two years ought to be to deny President Obama a second term,” Republicans have held the progress of our nation hostage merely so that they can attempt to win back the White House, and get themselves re-elected.
Repeatedly they shoot down legislation intended to bolster the economy and create jobs, so that they can stand on their soap boxes and point their fingers at President Obama for his “failed economic policies”. 
Make no mistake folks, the failure is not President Obama’s.  The failure is with the party that sabotages the political process in order to accuse a President of failures that are not his own, but are instead failures of the party. The failure is with any politician who puts political ambition or the party line before the job the American people elected them to do; that which is in the best interest of the country and its citizens.
In an effort to get re-elected as well as to deny President Obama a second term, senate Republicans have said to the electorate that their political future is more important to them than our veterans.  But this should come as no surprise.  They have repeatedly said that their political future is more important to them than middle class families, civil rights, balanced budgets, healthcare, or jobs.  Why should our nation’s veterans fare any differently on their list of priorities?


  1. Y'know... I kinda have to wonder: So many of the current crop of Republicans seem to live for the power struggle, the showmanship, the drama. But what would these folks do if all of a sudden they *did* have total control of the government? Who would they point fingers at then, when things go awry? Who would they demonize and what ideas would they declare unwinnable wars against? What would motivate them to do anything at all? Where would all that vitriolic energy go? I have to ask, because the way they spin it, if only they had control of everything, things would suddenly be perfect. But these guys *need* enemies, they need their dragons to slay, or so it seems, because it's been a long long time since I've heard one of them open their mouth without denouncing some one. So what happens when all the dragons are gone, like they keep promising?

    1. Beautifully stated 6Wolves1Spirit! Thank you for your thoughts. And thank you for reading!

  2. I couldn't have stated it better myself. The thing is, though, there will always be some scapegoat, some person or group to take the fall for the ones pointing their fingers. It is only a matter of time, before there is no one left but the little people, at the core of our very civilization.