Thursday, October 23, 2014

Veterans Day 2014 ~ Let's Do Something

I'm posting this a little early this year. My niece asked me yesterday to help her with an essay about why we appreciate our veterans.  I started out by renaming it "Why We Should Appreciate our Veterans." And I explained to her that not everyone does appreciate them. I wasn’t going to write about Veteran’s Day this year at all, because I feel like I’m beating a dead horse and most of the people that read my blog agree with me anyway.  But then I happened across an article in the Washington Times that made me realize I can’t speak up enough when it comes to our veterans.

The article I’m referring to was about Marin County’s radical, conservative talk show personality Michael Savage.  Savage was quoted as saying:

“I am so sick and tired of everyone with their complaints about PTSD, depression. Everyone wants their hand held, and a check -- a government check. What are you, the only generation that had PTSD? The only generation that's depressed? I'm sick of it. I can't take the celebration of weakness and depression.

See, I was raised a little differently. I was raised to fight weakness. I was raised to fight pain. I was raised to fight depression. Not to give into it. Not to cave into it and cry like a little baby in bed. "Boo-hoo-hoo. Boo-hoo-hoo." Everyone has depression in their life. Everyone has sickness and sadness and disease. And loss of relatives. And loss of career. Everyone has depression in their life. But if the whole nation is told, "boo-hoo-hoo, come and get a medication, come and get treatment, talk about mental illness." You know what you wind up with? You wind up with Obama in the White House and liars in every phase of the government. That's what you wind up with. It's a weak, sick, nation. A weak, sick, broken nation. And you need men like me to save the country. You need men to stand up and say stop crying like a baby over everything. Stand up already. Stop telling me how sick you are and sad you are. Talk about the good things in your life.

When have you last heard that? Oh, everyone's holding their hand. "Oh, welcome to Good Morning America, sir. You almost committed suicide, how interesting. Please tell us your story." Maybe a young child who's on the edge can commit suicide. What a country. No wonder we're being laughed at around the world. No wonder ISIS can defeat our military. Take a look at that. Take a look at that, why people aren't even getting married anymore to have children. They don't even have the guts to raise a child. The men are so weak, and so narcissistic, all they want to do is have fun. Bunch of losers. Just go have a brewski and look at the 49ers, you idiot, you. They won't even get married, won't have a child, it takes too much of a man to do that. What a country. You're not a man, you're a dog. A dog raises babies better than most American men do.”

I was so disgusted by his remarks I had to walk away from my computer for the evening. Granted—he is mentally ill. Granted—he is a hate monger, a bigot and an all-around creep, who has never served a day of his life in the military. Who has never seen combat and who has lived a very cushy life with his two Marin County homes, one San Francisco home, private security and oh yeah, lots of money. He’s such a despicable human being that I am embarrassed he lives in Marin or even the Bay Area—but he does.
Savage often makes ridiculous claims, such as:  “99% of autism cases, it’s a brat who hasn’t been told to cut the act out.”  
In 2009 Savage was banned from the UK on May 5, 2009, then-Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announced that Savage was on a list of individuals banned from entering the United Kingdom as he is "considered to be engaging in unacceptable behavior by seeking to provoke others to serious criminal acts and fostering hatred which might lead to inter-community violence.”
I just want to tell him one thing. All those veterans, from all those wars, paved the way for your rotten mouth to spew your homophobic, xenophobic, bigoted, ignorant, vile and utterly ridiculous thoughts on our airways.  And to the people who listen to Savage—shame on you. 
Originally named Soldiers Heart (Civil War 1861-1865) and also known as Shell Shock, Combat Fatigue, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)  and finally PTS (Post Traumatic Stress), dropping the “disorder” to help end the stigma. PTS is nothing new, and nothing to scoff about. It can be mild or severe and as debilitating as loss of limb. Getting out of bed can be a struggle, remembering to take your meds, or go to the VA Hospital next to impossible. Families are torn apart from lack of support or understanding. This is not a pull yourself up by your bootstraps kind of thing. No one wants to live in this hell and that is why so many with PTS have committed suicide.
Twenty-two veterans a day, one every 80 minutes, commits suicide. Studies (National Center for PTSD Vol.20) indicate that “10-18% of combat troops serving in OEF/OIF have PTSD following deployment, and the prevalence does not diminish over time.”
If you care about our veterans you’ll stop the blame game and do something to help a veteran.  Politicians may have made this mess, but the American people have the ability to fix it.  Be the solution. Show your appreciation to those who have sacrificed not only years of their lives, but for some their limbs, their sight, and for so many their own peace of mind. Don’t just thank them for their service, show them you care.  
Here are some ways you can help in Marin and the greater Bay Area, by donating, volunteering or guiding a veteran to any of the following:

The Pathway Home  (OEF, OIF Veterans with PTS and TBI)

*If you are outside of the Bay Area a simple Google search of “veteran’s resources” in your area will bring up several website.s Check them first to make sure they are legit- if you are not sure- feel free to send me the link and I’ll research it for you.