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Politicians Spit on Veterans

By Bruce Macdonald 

We have all heard stories of troops returning from Vietnam being spat upon. Whether fact or urban legend, the message was that, having participated in an unpopular war, the public did not honor or respect their service. When my brother returned from Vietnam, he told of immediately changing into civilian clothes upon landing in Seattle, undoubtedly to avoid the wrath of the anti-war public that he had heard about.

I never experienced disrespect from the public during my Navy service from 1969 to 1972.

But sadly, 46 years later, I know the feelings of disrespect and dishonor my brother faced – but for very different reasons. Congress is poised to pass the “VA MISSION Act of 2018” (H.R. 5674).  Although it was just filed on May 3, because President Trump wants to sign the bill by Memorial Day, it is being fast-tracked with no public hearings and no input from the 9 million veterans who receive health care from the VA. The bill dramatically accelerates the privatization of the VA and sets the stage for closure of VA hospitals. Several “sweeteners” were inserted in the bill to gain the endorsement of the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Disabled American Veterans, the largest Veterans Service Organizations (VSO) in the country. Most of the other VSO’s have fallen in line, ignoring the inconvenient reality that 80% of VA patients express satisfaction with their care, and want the VA fixed and fully funded, not privatized.  Siphoning money from the VA budget to fund more expensive care in the private sector will place the VA in a death spiral, which is exactly what the Koch brothers and the health care lobby want.

Politicians are quick to say how much they love and respect veterans, even calling them heroes.  One politician made a promise to veterans 153 years ago.  President Abraham Lincoln promised in his second inaugural “to care for him who hath borne the battle  and for his widow, and his orphan.” That is the motto of the Department of Veterans Affairs. By rushing this bill to passage without hearing from healthcare experts, from VA line staff and from veterans who actually receive VA healthcare only to give President Trump a photo op on Memorial Day is shameful.  I now know what my fellow veterans who served in Vietnam felt on their return.  As someone whose life literally depends on VA healthcare, I now know what it feels like to have my service to my country dishonored and disrespected.  I now know what it feels like to be spit on, not by an anti-war public, but by hypocritical politicians.

Please send question or comments to info@sheville.org

Bruce Macdonald

U.S. Navy, 1969 – 1972

Hendersonville, NC

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We are a one-of-a-kind magazine that provides local, regional, national and international information about women’s lives and education, performing and visual arts and writing, the environment, green living and sustainability and regional Western North Carolina business, people and events. “Villages preserve culture: dress, food and dance are a few examples. As villages grow in population and turn into towns, local cafes make way for large American chains. Handmade leather sandals are discarded for a pair of Western sneakers. Due to its small size, a village fosters a tight-knit sense of community. Justpeace.org explains the meaning of the African proverb, “It takes a village,” by stating that a sense of community is critical to maintaining a healthy society. Village members hold a wealth of information regarding their heritage: they know about the ancient traditions, methods of production and the resources of the land. When villages become dispersed or exterminated in times of war, this anthropological knowledge disappears. Large cities are not as conducive to growing and producing foods such as fruits and vegetables. Villages, on the other hand, usually have ample amounts of land and other resources necessary for growing conditions.” The Importance of Villages by Catherine Capozzi Our Mission SheVille.org provides readers with information important to women’s lives and well-being. We focus primarily on the areas of education & health, business & finance, the arts & the environment. We are particularly interested in local & regional resources, organizations & events.
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