Shutdown or no shutdown

By Mike D'Alexander

"Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action."
George Washington, remarks at the first Continental Congress, May 14, 1787

November 2013 - What does it say about a nation whose very own government denies its war veterans and families, arguably the only real heroes in this country, the privilege to visit the monuments erected in their honor?

What does it say about a country whose own government barricades these sacred memorials, one of which was the World War II Memorial, from a vanishing number of America’s Greatest Generation with steel fences, riot police and armed Park Service personnel? Meanwhile just a few short blocks away, the National Mall, another national park paid for by the people, was thrown open to illegal immigrants and activists in a pro-amnesty rally.

It’s a sad state of affairs in America when benefits that were promised to 29 families of service members killed between Oct. 1 and Oct. 10 were reneged during the federal government shutdown. All that was required was to issue an Executive Order to the Pentagon to immediately reinstate payment of promised benefits on the first day of the shutdown. TEN days later, under pressure, the order was finally issued.

There are estimates of as many as 2.7 million American servicemen and servicewomen dead, wounded or missing in wars and major deployments going back to the birth of our republic. That’s approximately the population of the city of Chicago. I have met and spoken to war veterans from WWII to present-day Iraq and Afghanistan. I know individuals who have served in harm’s way, and I wonder what they and other war veterans must be thinking of these disgraceful actions by the United States federal government. After all, they only risked their lives defending the very freedom their own government now denies them. And what’s most sad, what would the dead say? They sacrificed not just their lives, but a lifetime of memories as well. It’s the reason we celebrate Veterans Day this month.

Both political parties need to reprioritize putting America and its people first rather than themselves. The role of government is to serve, not be served. Unfortunately, too many politicians have either forgotten the oath they took or they just don’t give a damn. Either way, in the end it is up to “We, the people,” to hold those in leadership positions accountable. Make your voices heard! If we do not, then we fail America’s living and dead heroes who have never once failed us! MM

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